Minim: AI-driven Smart Home Management and Security

Jeremy Hitchcock, Founder & CEO, MinimJeremy Hitchcock, Founder & CEO
The smart home market is exploding. One-third of U.S. homes now own a smart speaker, an exponential growth trajectory from 2016, according to a recent Consumer Technology Association (CTA) study. While smart home devices promise convenience, they also, with little or no built-in security, open homes to a multitude of security threats.

Many will recall the cautionary IoT security tale of Mirai, but it’s a very personal story to Jeremy Hitchcock, Co-founder and former CEO of Dyn, the targeted internet infrastructure company in the massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. In October 2016, the MiraiDDoS attack exploited thousands of web cameras to take down Dyn and huge swaths of the internet, including Twitter, Netflix, and Reddit, with it.

“Mirai was a wakeup call for me - that the edge of the internet in everyone’s home is an easy cybersecurity target. The event inspired me to develop a security-first Wi-Fi management platform for the home which we call Minim,” says Jeremy Hitchcock, founder and CEO of Minim. In today’s era of billions of connected devices, exponential cybersecurity threats, and evolving wireless protocols, Minim’s AI-driven cloud platform enables ISPs and consumers to secure and manage the smart home. The company has incorporated many network traffic management techniques from the enterprise security space into its platform, as well as machine learning techniques to identify, profile, and invisibly monitor devices for suspicious behavior.

With the rising number of devices and increasing over-the-top media streaming, Minim is on a mission to strengthen the connectivity, usability, and security of home WiFi

“In our founding principles, we knew Minim needed to be comprehensive. There are plenty of companies focused on securing single devices— a.k.a. endpoint security,’” said Hitchcock.” But, the Dyn attack showed a significant percentage of devices involved couldn’t receive firmware updates; many had reached the end of life. With loads of insecure devices in the wild and plenty of device makers who won’t be regulated, consumers need holistic, network-level security, starting at the home gateway.”

ISPs manage the majority of home gateways in the U.S., and the Minim team quickly uncovered a related pain point— service providers have bloating support strain from increasing smart home network complexity. In response, the company has built usable apps for both the ISP and the consumer.

For the ISP, Minim offers a Care Portal, Security Center, and Operations Center that collectively shorten support call times, reduce on-site visits (“truck rolls”), and improve customer satisfaction. With these applications, ISP care reps have unprecedented visibility and tools to assist the subscriber remotely. “Minim understands the unique challenges service providers face supporting our customers’ increasingly complex home networks,” said Stephen Barraclough, GM of Burlington Telecom, a Minim customer. “Their tools are improving our interactions with customers and reducing truck rolls.”

For the subscriber, Minim offers a self-care app with guided workflows for access point setup, SSID credentials management, device speed tests, network activity history, parental controls, and security alerts. Furthermore, ISPs are finding that they can capture more value from the enhanced services. “This cuts down the number of customer support calls dramatically while also boosting my revenue,” reports Forbes Mercy, CEO of Washington Broadband, a Minim customer.

Being able to accurately blueprint the home network in real-time is the key to bridging the gap between the subscriber and ISP. To that end, Minim is driving forward on its proprietary device profiling capabilities. “With the rising number of devices and increasing over-the-top media streaming, Minim is on a mission to strengthen the connectivity, usability, and security of home Wi-Fi,” concludes Hitchcock.

Minim News

Minim Raises $2.5M Seed Round to Secure the Internet of Things

BOSTON-- Minim, an IoT platform whose technology protects connected devices and assures fast WiFi in homes, today announced a $2.5M seed round of funding, led by Flybridge Capital Partners and Founder Collective. Minim was established last year by Jeremy Hitchcock, former co-founder and CEO of Dyn (ACQ: Oracle), in response to the massive Mirai DDoS attack that took down Dyn, and several major internet services with it, in October 2016. The company will use the funding to develop its WiFi management and IoT security platform.

“As billions of IoT devices enter homes, consumers are sold on the expectations that their smart TVs can stream 4K video and their webcam isn’t spying on them,” said Hitchcock. “Unfortunately, reality can be very different. Meanwhile, as ISPs compete on WiFi quality, support, and service, they are wasting an estimated $1.2 billion on sending trucks and care reps to homes because they lack proper remote network visibility. Network care providers need more sophisticated applications to manage complex home networks and offer security solutions. This is what we are developing at Minim."

With this funding announcement, Minim is officially launching its connected home management and security solutions, which now include: a mobile app for consumers (available in the iTunes Store and Google Play Store), the Minim Care Portal for ISPs, and the Minim router agent. Minim’s core technology automatically fingerprints connected devices on home networks and dynamically develops a behavioral model of communications, enabling real-time performance optimization and security threat detection. The company is piloting solutions with ISPs and channel partners.

“We have been working with Minim for the past year and are excited about their approach to helping us better manage and secure home networks,” said Stephen Barraclough, General Manager of Burlington Telecom, a leading local Internet Service Provider in Vermont. “Minim understands the unique challenges service providers face supporting our customers' increasingly complex home networks. Their tools are improving our interactions with customers and reducing truck rolls.”

Headquartered in Manchester, New Hampshire, the team is made up of: founder/CEO Jeremy Hitchcock (formerly founder/CEO of Dyn); founder/COO Brian Kline (formerly VP of product at Time Warner Cable); founder/CMO Nicole Hayward (formerly CMO of Antidote and OnSIP); and VP Engineering Alec Rooney (formerly VP Engineering at Adored and Elbrys Networks (ACQ:Cisco)).

“While the consumer IoT market is exploding, issues and frustration with device and WiFi performance are mounting,” said David Aronoff, general partner, Flybridge Capital Partners. “You could not ask for a better team to address the challenges of this massive market. With proven track records in building scalable network and security platforms and delivering user-friendly applications in the internet sector, the Minim founding team is a rock star group. We believe in Minim's vision of what to build, who to partner with, and how to tackle the complex IoT security and performance challenges ahead."

Minim’s launch coincides with several new developments in the IoT security space. Gartner has recently estimated that IoT security spending will reach $1.5B worldwide in 2018 and IoT connected devices will exceed 20 billion by 2020, doubling every two years. Just last month, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) cited that approximately 90% of consumers surveyed have deep concerns about the security and privacy of their information in their report, What the Internet of Things Means for Consumer Privacy.

"As everything from our televisions to toasters connects to the web, we believe that next-generation home security solutions like Minim are a must," says David Frankel, Managing Partner at Founder Collective, an early stage venture capital firm with investments in Uber, SeatGeek, and BuzzFeed. "At Founder Collective, we partner with teams who are building something important and collaborative. We have found both qualities in the team at Minim, and we're thrilled to have them join our collective community of founders."