La historia de Minut

Minut started in 2014 when four Swedish engineers: Fredrik, Marcus, Martin and Nils, flew out to China to build an Airbnb monitor. Seven years and countless iterations later, Minut sensors now help over 25,000 hosts protect their homes in 100+ countries.
Noticias de Minut
November 11, 2021
 La historia de Minut

Minut started in 2014 when four Swedish engineers: Fredrik, Marcus, Martin and Nils, flew out to China to build an Airbnb monitor. Seven years and countless iterations later, Minut sensors now help over 25,000 hosts protect their homes in 100+ countries. And despite all the transformations that Minut underwent throughout the years, the mission still remains the same: making short-term rental work for everyone - hosts, guests and neighbors alike.

Minut founders: Marcus, Nils, Martin and Fredrik
Minut founders, from left to right: Marcus, Nils, Martin and Fredrik

Here are the key moments that made Minut what it is today:


"When I was working at Apple, I saw a general opportunity in the space of IoT and edge computing. At the time, I had a lot of friends involved in startups, and I was pretty intrigued by that, especially by an acquaintance who was the first employee at Airbnb." - Nils Mattisson, Minut CEO and co-founder

In 2009 Nils Mattisson was living and working in San Francisco. Part of the exploratory design group at Apple, he was in the midst of the thriving startup scene that makes Silicon Valley so special. One day, he was having a beer with an acquaintance - who just happened to be Airbnb’s first employee - when the question struck: Is it possible to monitor a home without monitoring the people within it?

At the time, Airbnb was just getting off the ground, but the challenges of the sharing economy were already becoming apparent. Worried about guests abusing their trust, some hosts were turning to cameras to monitor their homes. Invasive and vulnerable to hackers, cameras hardly belong in private homes, let alone in shared homes. That’s how the idea for a privacy-safe monitor came to be.


"I left Apple in 2013, and started working on my own, just doing the feasibility side of it, and doing my research. I built the first prototype at that point… and it didn’t look very good." - Nils Mattisson, Minut CEO and co-founder

The 2009 meeting planted the seed in Nils’s mind, but the idea was still pretty far from fully formed. It took a lot of turns and iterations over the years, until in 2013 Nils decided to work on making it reality. That’s when he left Apple and dove right in. After 5 months of intensive research, he had a very first working prototype, but he also realized it was time to get some help from others.


Nils pitching Minut at HAX demo day
Nils pitching Minut (back then known as ‘Form’) at HAX Demo Day in San Francisco

Minut made its first public appearance in 2014 at the BETAPITCH competition in Berlin. The pitch resulted in second place, and a crucial investor introduction:

"In the audience was Zach Supalla, and he noticed that I built some of the prototypes with Particle, one of his products. He came up to me afterwards, and said: ‘this is great, how can I help?’ He introduced us to one of his investors, which was SOSV, and in a few months they ended up investing and inviting us into this accelerator program, HAX, in Shenzhen." - Nils Mattisson, Minut CEO and co-founder
HAX Accelerator program flag
Minut won a place on the HAX Accelerator program

Now that Minut was to be part of the HAX Accelerator program in Shenzhen, Nils needed to build a team. He was already working with Kristian Dupont, a friend who played a vital role in shaping the product in the first few months (before he moved on to other ventures), but it was clear they needed more hands on deck.

Nils reached out to the Computer Science Department at Lund University, where he used to work as a teaching assistant. That’s how he met Martin and Fredrik, who, without a moment of hesitation, flew to Shenzhen to join him. Marcus was introduced to the team by entrepreneur legend Hampus Jakobsson who just happened to be a mutual acquaintance. Marcus arrived in Shenzhen soon after and the four of them got to work immediately.

"Looking back, we got a really good start by going to Shenzhen. It allowed us to be really immersed in this project. We were in a new city, which is the de facto consumer electronics capital of the world, and somewhat isolated from the distractions of our lives back home. The atmosphere was electric, it was such a high-energy environment and we worked day and night, in total focus. Though of course you can only sustain this level of intensity for so long." - Fredrik Ahlberg, Minut’s Head of Research and co-founder
An early prototype of the sensor
An early prototype of the sensor

Later that year, the team was ready to launch their first Kickstarter campaign. When they raised $238k, several times their original goal, they knew they were building a product that struck a chord with a wide audience. In fact, the idea of Minut resonated so widely that it sparked the interest of not only Airbnb hosts, but also private consumers seeking a privacy-safe monitoring solution for their home. Even TechCrunch and CNN picked up the story - a remarkable feat given how reluctant media outlets usually are when it comes to reporting on Kickstarter products.


Fredrik assembling the Minut sensor
Fredrik assembling the Minut sensor

In 2015, the team spent all their time building the device, testing, re-building, testing again… Shenzhen proved to be a prime location for this process:

"I think a lot of people have an outdated view of what manufacturing in China is, it's often seen as a place you go to get things poorly and cheaply made. While that used to be true, during past decades manufacturing in Shenzhen has gotten to the point where the ecosystem and know-how has gotten so large that it has its own gravitational pull. Prototyping is not only affordable, but it's also so incredibly accessible and quick that it outperforms anything I have experienced in the West. Circuit boards that used to take weeks to prototype now take days. Components can be delivered within an hour, and plastic prints that take a week in Sweden can be delivered overnight. The buzz and hustle of the city is neverending. For a startup that is trying to iterate on its product and business model, that environment of weekly instead of monthly iterations is crucial." - Martin Lööf, Minut’s Head of Manufacturing and co-founder

Beta units were shipped in June, and after a few more months of intense iterations and debugging, the first fully finished units started to reach Kickstarter backers.

Around the same time, Minut partially relocated from Shenzhen to Malmö in Sweden, with the founders splitting their time between the two cities. The team also started growing, and with that came new challenges:

"We now had to think about building a company, in addition to building the product. The sole focus used to be on development, bug fixes, shipping. Now it has extended to onboarding new colleagues, adding some structure and process, shaping the company." - Fredrik Ahlberg, Minut’s Head of Research and co-founder

2015 is also the year Minut became “Minut.” Formerly, the company was called “Form devices."

Kickstarter units ready for shipping
Kickstarter units ready for shipping


Martin working on Minut circuit boards in 2016
Martin working on Minut circuit boards in 2016
"Our first customers were really the true heroes. It's thanks to their generous feedback that we managed to get to where we are today." - Marcus Ljungblad, Minut’s Head of Operations and co-founder

By the spring of 2016, all Kickstarter units were shipped. As the sensors were being installed in homes all over the world, they exposed some weaknesses in the firmware. The team worked hard on fixing the bugs until Minut worked perfectly in every home.


Fredrik visiting the Shenzhen factory where Minut sensors are produced
Fredrik visiting the Shenzhen factory where Minut sensors are produced

2017 brought continued product improvements, including the development of sound recognition, which could detect glass break and the siren of other alarms, and notify the homeowner - making traditional smoke and CO detectors smart.

After a successful first Kickstarter campaign, it was also time to launch another one for the second generation of the sensor.

"The first generation was really the MVP (minimum viable product) so that we could test and develop the concept. It allowed us to move fast and get early feedback from a wide audience. We always intended to make a new version quite early. The 2nd generation is a significant improvement to the first generation." - Marcus Ljungblad, Minut’s Head of Operations and co-founder

The new Kickstarter campaign went live in November, and raised $312k.

2nd generation of Minut in development
2nd generation of Minut in development


Sensors packaged up and ready for shipping
Sensors packaged up and ready for shipping

By May 2018, the first batch of second-generation sensors was already in production. The team now had more experience, and was ready to build a sensor that would have the power to adapt to customers’ needs as time went on:

"We learned a lot from the work on the first generation. We discovered that the first time around, we were too focused on low unit cost. The goal for the second gen was to create a sensor that’s more powerful and flexible, and that’s what’s given it the longevity it has. Four years on, we are still releasing new features and adapting it to new market needs." - Fredrik Ahlberg, Minut’s Head of Research and co-founder

2018 also saw the release of improved versions of glass break and alarm recognition features, now employing a more advanced technology called machine learning. No other sensor on the market was this smart, while still being 100% privacy-safe.

The Minut team was growing fast too, and the company’s first London office opened that summer. In June, Minut reached the milestone of 10k units sold and was named one of Top 10 B2C Start-ups in Google and McKinsey’s The Digital Top 50 Awards. The founders also got to meet the Swedish king, and even made it onto the royal family’s instagram account.

Minut’s growing team in the Malmö office in Sweden
Minut’s growing team in the Malmö office in Sweden


Minut’s London team in the office
Minut’s London team in the office

2019 fue un año decisivo para Minut, ya que aportó 8 millones de dólares en financiación de la Serie A y una colaboración con Airbnb. Cuando el gigante de las OTAs promocionó Minut entre sus anfitriones, se vendieron más unidades en un día que en los meses anteriores. Eso significaba que ahora había espacio para que el equipo creciera:

«Hasta 2019, éramos casi exclusivamente ingenieros que trabajaban en Minut. Fue en este momento cuando realmente empezamos a desarrollar los equipos de ventas y marketing. Las nuevas contrataciones trajeron consigo nuevas experiencias y perspectivas, lo que nos convirtió en un equipo mucho más completo y mejoró la calidad de nuestro trabajo». - Marcus Ljungblad, director de operaciones y cofundador de Minut

También fue en 2019 cuando la marca Minut adquirió un aspecto renovado y ahora se podía comprar en las principales tiendas en línea de los países nórdicos. Junto con la marca, se renovó el enfoque en las necesidades de los anfitriones de alquileres vacacionales y de corta duración. El producto en sí también siguió mejorando con la adición de gráficos en movimiento a la aplicación y llegó a nuevas audiencias cuando se introdujo la compatibilidad con los idiomas francés y holandés.


Minut team working remotely
Equipo de Minut trabajando de forma remota

Envalentonada por la financiación de la Serie A, Minut tenía enormes planes de crecimiento para 2020, e incluso el estallido de una pandemia mundial no pudo detenerlos.

«Desde la perspectiva del lugar de trabajo, manejamos bien la pandemia, porque ya estábamos acostumbrados a que nos distribuyeran a nivel de empresa y de equipo. El único cambio es que mi sala de estar ahora también es un laboratorio de electrónica». - Fredrik Ahlberg, director de investigación y cofundador de Minut

Contra todo pronóstico, este fue el año en que Minut hizo la transición a un modelo de negocio recurrente y aumentó los ingresos varias veces. La compañía también se lanzó oficialmente en los EE. UU. y se expandió la fuerza laboral femenina en un 400%, al mismo tiempo que amplía considerablemente el conjunto de funciones del sensor.

Caroline and Buster representing Minut at the Shortyz awards
Caroline y Buster representan a Minut en los premios Shortyz

En marzo, Minut recibió el Premio Shortyz para la mejor solución o producto de automatización del hogar. En junio se lanzó el Guest Connect función. Ahora los anfitriones ya no necesitan estar de guardia las 24 horas del día, los 7 días de la semana, ni dormir con los ojos abiertos. Minut podría encargarse de todo el proceso de resolución del ruido por ellos, de principio a fin.

También en junio, Minut se asoció con Zapier y Guesty para lanzar integraciones que simplificaron aún más la administración de la propiedad y minimizaron el trabajo ajetreado. Poco después apareció un nuevo panel de control optimizado para los propietarios de alquileres de corta duración, junto con las alarmas automáticas y programadas, solicitadas desde hace mucho tiempo por los clientes de viviendas particulares.

El sensor también apareció en los medios de comunicación en TechCrunch y sigue El show de artilugios.


El equipo de Londres celebra los nuevos lanzamientos

2021 aún no ha terminado, pero ya ha traído nuevos lanzamientos importantes que ampliaron sustancialmente la funcionalidad de Minut.

Quizás lo más importante para nuestros clientes es que hemos extendido la duración de la batería hasta un año y lanzó el monitoreo de ocupación. Además de estar atentos al ruido o al movimiento excesivo, los anfitriones ahora también pueden controlar la ocupación de sus casas de alquiler para identificar mejor cualquier reunión grande. Minut ahora ofrecía un nivel de conocimiento sin igual en el mercado.

También hemos añadido BookingSync, Smoobu, Hostfully y Hostaway a nuestra creciente lista de integraciones, lo que ayuda a los anfitriones y administradores de propiedades de todo el mundo a crecer sin perder de vista sus operaciones. Otras versiones incluyen las notificaciones por correo electrónico, una versión aún más potente de Guest Connect y Llamada automática, lo que significaba que Minut ahora podía llamar a los huéspedes para recordarles las normas sobre ruido. El período de gracia configurable resultó ser muy popular entre los usuarios de alarmas de seguridad, ya que les permitió personalizarlo según sus necesidades.

Más recientemente, lanzamos un nuevo función de mensajería programada que permite a los anfitriones configurar flujos de comunicación automáticos de entrada y salida y un integración de cerradura inteligente con Igloohome. Minut ahora puede ayudar a recibir a los huéspedes, facilitar el proceso de registro sin contacto y garantizar que tengan una excelente estadía.

También fue este año cuando anunciamos nuestra asociación con Kasa, lanzó el Programa piloto Minut x Airbnb en Praga y volvió a ser nominado a los premios Shortyz. ¡Y está lejos de haber terminado!

A lo largo de los años, Minut ha experimentado muchos cambios, ha superado muchos desafíos y se ha convertido en lo que es hoy. Echando la vista atrás, estamos increíblemente orgullosos de nuestro viaje, pero aún no hemos terminado. Nuestros planes son tan ambiciosos hoy como lo fueron en 2014, ¡así que estamos ansiosos por ver lo que nos depara el futuro!