Startup of the Month: Rhombus Systems

Virtually-managed cameras help secure physical buildings

Back Article Aug 1, 2018 By Russell Nichols

With his previous company, Mojave Networks (which he founded in 2011), Garrett Larsson specialized in mobile security, using a cloud-based approach to detect threats and protect company data. In 2014, Mojave was acquired by Sophos, a United Kingdom-based cybersecurity company. All the years Larsson spent selling to enterprises gave him new insight.

“We saw a lot of enterprise IT moving all of their systems to the cloud,” he says. “First with applications like email and productivity software with solutions like Office 365 and Salesforce, then with their firewalls and Wi-Fi systems. But we found there were still old hardware systems built by legacy companies that were cumbersome to use.”

One system overdue for an upgrade was video security, he realized. In 2016, he launched Rhombus Systems, a Sacramento-based cloud-managed video security startup, because he believes security cameras should be easy to use, inexpensive and — most of all – smart.

With Rhombus Systems cameras, customers can view and share livestreams, manage unlimited locations from one console and set up other features, like alerts. The technology uses facial recognition to identify intruders, and analytics to track the number of people in different rooms or buildings.

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To date, the company has raised over $3 million from Lemnos Labs and Promus Ventures, along with a number of prominent Silicon Valley and Sacramento angel investors, Larsson says. Customers come from a variety of industries, including technology, construction, manufacturing and schools. Many industries need systems for compliance or legal reasons, which has also allowed Rhombus Systems to reach a range of companies and organizations that want enhanced security without bulky servers or network video recorders to store information.

“Usually they’re calling us, pitching us on why they want something like our product,” Larsson says. “Generally, their current solutions are painful to manage or expensive. Our system gives them a sense of comfort that they can have extra eyes on any of their spaces whether it be offices, data centers or school campuses.”

Luxer One is one such company. Based in Sacramento, Luxer One provides lockers to automate delivery and pickup of packages for retailers, apartment and office buildings, and universities. Carriers (such as FedEx and USPS) make unattended deliveries to these lockers, which could lead to mistakes when loading in packages, says Luxer One CEO Arik Levy. Without a robust security system, reviewing footage to rectify errors becomes a challenge.

“We’ve worked with other products available in the marketplace,” Levy says. “So many cameras kind of do what they need to do, but they have limitations that don’t allow them to scale very well. Without the cameras, we’re kind of blind if a customer calls and asks about a delivery.”

Luxer One has been using consumer-grade products that have a cap on the number of cameras that can link to one account. For the 3,000 or so cameras the company has across the country, Levy needed to set up and manage hundreds of different accounts. But with Rhombus Systems, he can link an unlimited number of cameras to one account, managing all virtual feeds from one console.

“They really had their solution much more focused on challenges of surveillance for businesses,” says Levy, who has deployed a few hundred Rhombus Systems cameras since becoming a customer in April.

Of course, in this digital age, more advanced security comes with greater concern for privacy. In the U.S., with so much existing video security already, there are federal and local laws that protect privacy, Larsson says, and Rhombus Systems reinforces these legal protections with customers.

“With any type of security solution, there is always a privacy concern,” Larsson says. “We really make sure our customers are aware of these potential issues and applicable laws, which often eases any potential concerns and educates them at the same time.”

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