Boot Stories: Everything Monitors Smart Devices and Protects Their Data

Company: Everything Together, Inc. uses advanced artificial intelligence on real-time, outsourced data to keep people and their electronic devices safe.

Founder: David Knudsen ’91

When did you get the idea for this startup?

When my wife, Sarah, and I started renovating our home several years ago, we considered incorporating smart devices such as water usage monitors, smart thermostats, app-controlled lighting and smart locks. But Sarah was worried and asked several questions about the devices: How would we know what they were actually doing? What if they were hacked? What if we were spied on?

About ten years ago, I started working with machine learning algorithms, doing pattern recognition on time series data. I started using more crowdsourced data and very large datasets, which made the algorithms much more efficient. I thought, why not apply this to the problem of smart devices? Why not observe their behaviors and communication patterns at scale (all those bits and bytes flowing up to the cloud) to recognize and fix each device’s issues as they arise.

With that “A ha” moment, I set about building a business, raising funds, and bringing in people I had worked with before. Four years later, our team has built a technically sophisticated product that is both simple and easy to use.

What is the problem you are trying to solve or the gap you are trying to fill?

Smart devices provide home conveniences, but are often susceptible to hacking and other security and privacy risks that people are unaware of. Users don’t have an easy way to protect themselves and often don’t even know they’ve been hacked, which means they could be spied on and their data and personal information could be compromised. Business risks are also a concern for those with staff working from home. In our beta, we found electric cars, entertainment devices and mini-computers infected with malware, as well as many more dangerous behaviors than expected, all invisible to users.

What has been the most important resource that Yale SOM has brought to your startup?

Our class of 1991 is a group of entrepreneurs, and the most important resource has been the help and investment of alumni. They participated in our beta, provided feedback on our service, made intros for us, and cheered us on. Two married classmates from Yale had a set-top box that was one of the first hacked devices we discovered in real time. Left alone, it could have infected other devices in their home, handed over their personal data and information to bad actors, or been vetted for a botnet attack. As we expected, we alerted them and then guided them to a fix before there was a problem. Thus, Yale SOM and Everything Set have a two-way relationship: former students have helped us, and we have helped them!

What is the biggest milestone your startup has taken since graduating?

After more than two years of development, including a year and a half beta with over 150 homes across the United States, we are now bringing our product to the public through our Early Access program.

About Ethel Nester

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