Density Launches New Sensor to Help Companies Anonymously Track Employees
Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior reporter, covering venture capital. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks. Follow him on Twitter.
Density, a buzzy Upfront Ventures-backed startup that big tech companies like Facebook and Google as well as the U.S. government have used to anonymously monitor how employees are using buildings, can now provide a more accurate count of the number of occupants in a room.
Previously the company's infrared sensors were only used at entryways. A new addition, called Open Area, puts a radar smaller than a palm of a hand above any open space that can track a room of up to 1325 square feet. Each sensor will cost $399 plus an additional $199 for the monitoring software every year.
Although the technology was first designed to help companies better utilize office space and get rid of money draining empty offices and conference rooms, it can also be used to help enforce social distancing rules.
At first glance, the company's tracking devices could appear as a privacy nightmare, but Density says its technology is actually much less intrusive than traditional surveillance cameras because all of the information on the platform is anonymous; Workers merely show up as dots.
Density has seen 407% revenue growth from the same period last year as warehouses, factories and universities have all signed on as clients as they try to navigate keeping workers and students safe amid the pandemic, according to co-founder and CEO Andrew Farah.
Density raised $51 million in Series C funding in July led by Kleiner Perkins, with participation from 01 Advisors, Upfront Ventures, Founders Fund, Ludlow Ventures, Launch, and DTA. The new round brought its total funding to $74 million.
Upfront managing partner Mark Suster sits on the board along with Jason Calacanis, the well-known angel investor who was an early backer of Uber.
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Minutes into filling out my absentee ballot last week, I was momentarily distracted by my dog Seamus. A moment later, I realized in horror that I was filling in the wrong bubble — accidentally voting "no" on a ballot measure that I meant to vote "yes" on.
It was only a few ink marks, but it was noticeable enough. Trying to fix my mistake, I darkly and fully filled in the correct circle and then, as if testifying to an error on a check, put my initials next to the one I wanted.
Then I worried. As a reporter who has previously covered election security for years, I went on a mini-quest trying to understand how a small mistake can have larger repercussions.
As Los Angeles County's 5.6 million registered voters all receive ballots at home for the first time, I knew my experience could not be unique. But I wondered, would my vote count? Or would my entire ballot now be discarded?
My distractingly sweet dog, Seamus.
Photo by Tami Abdollah
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