We all know what it’s like to buy a new gadget for the house — say a smart thermostat or a smart doorbell — only to discover that it doesn’t work. Or to have your internet start buffering right when you’re in the middle of watching a particularly intense episode of Ozark. Either way, you probably wound up tinkering with whatever wasn’t working before becoming so irritated that you finally relented and called customer support.
Fast forward an hour, and you’ll have spent time troubleshooting all kinds of random issues with a customer support agent. You may have even needed to have a technician come to your house. And after all that effort, you’ve discovered that the solution was something as simple as moving the device or buying a mesh WiFi extender to get a better signal.
While situations like these are incredibly frustrating, they’re an important reminder that our connected devices, and the services they provide, are at the mercy of our home wifi networks and several things outside our control like other networks and devices we don’t even own. Given how painful contacting customer support can be and just how difficult it is for most people to troubleshoot issues with an agent, there’s clearly a problem here that’s ripe for disruption.
Where’s the Disconnect?
What all of this means is that there is tension between customers and customer service agents, given that neither of them has the right tools to resolve issues. The problem is that customer service agents don’t have any data or context when they take your call, meaning that they’re effectively starting cold. That leaves them no choice but to either work their way through a laundry list of potential issues or, if all else fails, to dispatch a technician. Neither is ideal, and both are costly for the service provider.
Unfortunately, left unaddressed, the scale of this problem will only get worse. After all, the home connectivity market is growing as internet service providers (ISPs) expand and more and more new connected products come to market. In fact, the smart home market is expected to reach 574 million households by 2026.
Today, we’re thrilled to announce our lead investment in RouteThis’ Series A round, alongside Intel Capital, Round 13, Garage Capital, and Ken Miller Capital. RouteThis, the leading provider of in-home WiFi connectivity support solutions for ISPs and smart home brands, is solving this problem by changing the connectivity support experience for all parties.
Their platform does so by turning customers’ mobile devices into probes that regularly scan their home networks and identify real time connectivity issues. The customer can use the RouteThis app on their phone to resolve the issue themselves by following the instructions it provides. Alternatively, if they call customer service, the agent will have access to all the same data as the customer and will know exactly how to fix their problem. No more hassle. No more technician visits. No more time wasted.
We see RouteThis as a game-changer for ISPs and smart home original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), not to mention their customers. For the companies, it means needing fewer customer support staff members, dramatically reducing the time agents need to resolve issues, and dispatching fewer technicians, all of which create mass efficiencies. Meanwhile, end users get to enjoy a much better customer experience whenever technical issues arise by resolving them quickly without all of the usual frustration.
Solving the Challenges of In-Home Connectivity
RouteThis has a fantastic team, led by Jason Moore, that has been working to solve the problem of in-home connectivity for years now from a variety of different perspectives.
We’ve known Jason and his team for a long time, having previously made a small investment in the business very early on. Plus, our Operating Partner and CTO, Steve Woods, has served on the company’s board since 2016 and has been a huge supporter of the company from the beginning.
Over the years, we’ve consistently been impressed with the team’s tenacity at building up considerable expertise around the core challenges associated with in-home connectivity. We’re excited to support them as they continue to share that expertise with ISPs and smart home providers around the world.
In our view, RouteThis connects the dots for customer service teams at ISPs and smart home OEMs, empowering them to work more efficiently and to create value. Their global vision will allow the product to bring real benefits for hundreds of millions of end users. We believe the company is a true innovator and category setter, and that it’s well positioned to achieve its mission of revolutionizing the world of connectivity.
Want to learn more? Get in touch.