California-based home security technology startup Deep Sentinel has set up its first international office in Taipei, following a US$7.4 million Series A investment from Shasta Ventures, Bezos Expeditions, Lux Capital and UP2398. Headquartered in Pleasanton, CA, the startup is reportedly working on computer vision and deep learning algorithms to predict property-based crimes—such as a break-in or vehicle theft from a driveway—before they occur.
Deep Sentinel was founded just last year by serial entrepreneur and Amazon veteran David Selinger. "Current home security is ineffective, failing millions of homeowners and wasting the valuable resources of our law enforcement agencies across the U.S.," the co-founder and CEO of Deep Sentinel said.
The perception that crime rates are increasing in the United States and across the globe is driving the demand for advanced home security systems such as CCTV cameras and electronic alarm sensors.
Deep Sentinel Co-founder and Head of R&D Winston Chen, a former senior engineer at machine learning startups Fliptop (LinkedIn), Banjo, and Quid said that the Taiwan team, currently comprised of hardware, mobile and back-end engineers, will double in size by the end of the year. According to a company statement, the new office in Taipei would accommodate the additional headcount.
The move shows that recruiting top engineering talents is critical to scaling both its size and ambition in a competitive industry. With a strong business network of professional partners in Taiwan and the US, Chen has been providing the startup with resources, connections, and guidance.
"Deep Sentinel had early success working with overseas talent for our first proof of concept for our mobile app," he said. "It was logical to build our back-end and mobile app engineering in Taiwan, particularly because of my connections."
Chen is the author of a popular blog, and a related best-selling book published in March 2015, which tells vivid stories of entrepreneurial success as a Taiwanese software engineer living and working in Silicon Valley.
Chen said that hiring local engineering talent in Taiwan can be a green field opportunity. "Not all Taiwanese engineers want to work in China. And this talent isn't yet beholden to large companies, or being courted the way Silicon Valley engineers are. The ability to tap into this green field now--before it grows competitive in a few years--is a key business advantage.”
Chiu-Hsiang Hsu, a young software engineer based in the new Taipei office, said the company culture is focused around inclusion and allowing everyone to have an impact on projects. "Our leaders keep an open mind. We are free to express our opinions and promote our own ideas," said Hsu.
"Taiwan has a great talent pool," added Selinger. "We're consistently impressed by our candidates' practical and academic skills, and how engaged they are with the latest technology. In addition, Deep Sentinel is building our product with Taiwanese contract manufacturers, so having our team work with them in real time has been a huge time-saver.”