SmartThings and our investment in the Open Physical Graph

Last winter, some pipes burst in the mountains of Colorado when no one was home. A basement was flooded and no one knew about it for a month. Sounds horrible, but I am glad it happened and you should be too.

The guys who found to the mess happened to be some kick-ass entrepreneurs starting a family vacation with a massive clean-up job. After the basement was dry, they started to ask themselves what if the house could have let them know? Wouldn’t it be cool if when the power went out and the heat stopped working, someone had gotten a push notification on their phone letting them know there was a problem. And, shouldn’t that notification include an update on the weather and the latest news from the power company about when the power should be restored?

This information would have saved a family vacation and thousands of dollars in damage, but this information also opened the door to an even bigger idea — once you connect the dumb objects in your physical world to the web, you unlock the creativity of any developer who wants to write software to control those objects; you support the vision of any hardware designer who wants to create connected devices and you have the opportunity to build the platform that supports the open physical graph. You create network effects as software and hardware makers engage with the platform and end-users begin to bring their physical world online through your platform. you can change the world with an open physical graph.

In the software/IT space, we have seen platforms emerge over the past decade that have made building software on the web incredibly efficient. Cloud hosting and modern programing languages have lowered the barriers to creation and unleashed the creativity of an entire generation. Social platforms and the network effects the winners have created make distribution available to anyone who can build a product.

All of this software is shifting to mobile and we are re-thinking the experience of the web as we take it with us into the physical world rather than viewing it from behind the glass of a desktop…and it is this shift in the primary access point for the internet, the shift to having your digital life in your pocket and controlling it from wherever you are that makes the internet of things, the physical graph, such a powerful proposition.

Consumers are ready, enterprise is willing and able, the software developers are thirsty to extend their vision and impact beyond the digital world and hardware hackers are hungry to include an intelligent digital control system in their creations…but so far there has not been a single, open platform to enable and support the invention and production of connected things and the applications that connect and control them…SmartThings is out to change that.

Today I am really excited to announce our investment in SmartThings and I can’t wait to work with Alex and the rest of the team to build the open physical graph platform and nurture the incredible community of developers that have already requested development kits and submitted over 1,000 app ideas at build.smartthings.com.

We are joined in this investment by an incredible syndicate including David Tisch (who first showed me this video) SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, Crunchfund, Max Levchin, Yuri Milner / Start Fund, A-Grade Investments, Chris Dixon, Vivi Nevo, Alexis Ohanian, Loic Le Muer, Martin Varasvksy, Kal Vepuri, Ryan Sarver, Jared Hecht, Steve Martocci, Emil Michael, Aaron Levie, Zorik Gordon, and Nathan Hanks.

The physical graph is coming and I think the open platform that SmartThings is dedicated to delivering will be incredible for consumers, will support businesses built by developers and makers and will help bring this next wave of the web to the world.