Density, a startup using AI-powered sensors to help universities and meat packing factories make sure social distancing is being enforced, raises $51 million in a round led by Kleiner Perkins

  • The startup Density on Tuesday announced a $51 million Series C funding round led by Kleiner Perkins and joined by 01 Advisors.
  • The 50-person company makes over-the-door sensors that monitor the flow of people through buildings without recording people’s identities. 
  • Customers include New York University, Notre Dame, and meat-packing plants.
  • Density also helps businesses to monitor crowded and under-utilized space, which investors say could make it instrumental in the evolution of office space. 
  • Other investors include two former leaders of Twitter – former CEO Dick Costolo and former COO Adam Bain – and baseball legend Alex Rodriguez. 
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The San Francisco startup Density, which makes sensors that are helping COVID-19 hotspots monitor social distancing, announced a new funding round of $51 million on Tuesday. Investors say the company’s technology may make an even larger impact as the world rethinks office space amid recovery from the pandemic.

Two of the key sectors using Density are meat-packing plants – many required to stay open – and universities, which are struggling to nail down re-opening plans in the autumn or after. Density says the company is helping Notre Dame, New York University and other universities to take a scientific approach to how people move through common areas such as break rooms and cafeterias.

Top tech VC Kleiner Perkins led the Series C funding round, which also included 01 Advisors, which is led by former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and former Twitter COO Adam Bain. Bain says Density will help in a key area being almost invisibly recreated during quarantine. 

“We will go back to interacting with people in the workforce in a different way,” Bain says. “What it means to work in an office will be fundamentally changed. Right now physical safety is most important, but long-term, technology like Density’s will provide data-driven solutions to two of the biggest business expenses – employees and office space.” 

Density people counting gif
Density’s sensors count people without identifying them, so no private information is involved.
Density

The startup was launched by friends from Syracuse, New York, who initially just wanted a mechanism to tell them if their favorite cafe was so full they would have to wait outside in the snow. The tech they invented shows how many people are in an area – without recording those people’s identities.  Over-the-door sensors show anonymized images of people, and the company’s predictive analytics — a type of artificial intelligence that processes data from the past to suggest needs in the future — helps companies better use their office space, schedule cleaning and deliveries, and guide employees toward underused meeting rooms. 

Density Display_Lobby_Wait copy
Density’s over-the-door sensors connect to display screens telling people if there is adequate social-distancing space for safe entry.
Density

Density also makes a software product called Safe that allows customers and employees to check a monitor outside a building or room that lets them know the current capacity and if they can enter while still maintaining responsible social distancing. Safe can send notifications to business proprietors and workplace managers to let them know if an area is getting too crowded or has emptied out and now needs cleaning. It also provides detailed analytics reports showing the flow of people across a property, Density boasts. 

“The world is trying to reopen. In many places essential businesses are required to remain open. Companies are just trying to do this safely,” says Andrew Farah, Density’s CEO. “Our team is working around the clock to handle unprecedented demand from offices, manufacturers, grocery stores, industrial plants.”

Other advisors in the round announced Tuesday are Upfront Ventures, Founders Fund, Ludlow Ventures, Launch – and a well-known name as America watches a new kind of baseball season begin: three-time MVP Alex Rodriguez. 

Density previously raised $25 million including funding from from Founders Fund — the venture-capital firm led by billionaire PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel — as well as the well-known angel investor Jason Calacanis and others. 

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