Gatineau proptech firm 1VALET hopes Rogers deal opens doors to new growth

Lobby console
Gatineau-based startup 1VALET's patented entry console uses AI facial recognition technology to unlock doors and lets couriers scan parcels to enter lobbies. Photo courtesy 1VALET

A Gatineau-based startup’s smart-building platform that lets condo and apartment dwellers open doors without keys and ride elevators without pushing buttons is gaining traction with some of Canada’s biggest property managers as well as a telecom giant.

Proptech firm 1VALET said this week it’s signed a five-year deal that will see Rogers offer its technology to internet customers in Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. The new partnership is the latest big win for 1VALET, which has inked contracts with leading Toronto condo developer Tridel and Ottawa’s Richcraft among other big-name real estate firms.

Founded in 2016, 1VALET expects its app to be used in nearly 30,000 apartment and condo units within the next couple of years, offering features such as keyless entry, remote thermostat control and automatic package delivery alerts. 

In addition, its patented entry console replaces the rows of intercom buttons in condo entrances with a large, smartphone-like device that uses AI facial recognition technology to unlock doors and lets couriers scan parcels to enter lobbies. 

“It makes the building smarter,” explains founder and CEO Jean-Pierre Poulin, who is also the president of property developer Devcore. “It’s a touchless experience, which is now so important to everyone.”

Fuelled by a $5-million seed round in early 2019, 1VALET was already making plenty of headway before the pandemic. Poulin says the COVID-19 crisis has underscored the need for hands-free technology in high-traffic areas of crowded residential highrises, further accelerating the company’s growth.

The firm is set to close a $10.25-million series-A round with a group of investors that includes Farm Boy partner Jeff York, Poulin’s close friend who also owns a piece of Devcore. The company has added more than a dozen new employees since the start of the pandemic ​– it hired four new people just this week – and expects its headcount to hit 50 before the year is out.

Poulin says 1VALET’s monthly recurring revenues are on track for a sevenfold increase over the next year. The company is poised to push into the massive U.S. market soon, and Poulin is projecting 1VALET will be cash-flow positive by the end of 2021.

“Our objective is to get to profitability as soon as we can,” he says.