Atlanta Falcons’ Dontari Poe invests in startup challenge winner Sutro

Friday July 7th, 2017

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At the end of March, swimming pool monitoring company Sutro won the San Francisco Poe Man’s Challenge, which connects youth to entrepreneurs with the prize of a $15,000 investment for the top startup.

Now, Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Dontari Poe is making good on that deal and investing in Sutro, which makes smart sensors that monitor the chemical levels in swimming pools.

“Sutro did a great pitch at the SF Poe Man’s Challenge. Their clean water technology can be used for a lot of things,” Poe said in a statement. “Water quality is so important not just in the US but globally. Sutro is going to make water safe to drink and play in.”

Poe is adding Sutro to his portfolio of startup investments, according to the statement. His prior investments are DailyPay, an app that grants employees instant access to their paychecks, and Lab Sensor Solutions, which tracks the temperature and location of lab samples through mobile sensors. The Pro Bowl defensive lineman works with Omar Sillah from Spectra Management Advisors to choose where to invest, according to the statement.

Sutro’s sensors measure a pool’s levels of pH, chlorine, and alkalinity. A connected app provides users with analysis of these chemicals — including chemical history and trends — and dosage suggestions, as well as automatically delivering necessary chemicals to the user’s home (with a weekly subscription). The app is integrated with Amazon Alexa and Amazon Prime. If the pool needs service, users can request a technician right from the app or website.

“We’re delighted to have Dontari become a part of the Sutro team,” Sutro CEO Ravi Kurani said in the statement. “Winning the San Francisco Poe Man’s Challenge was such a thrill. I believe Dontari will be a significant addition to the Sutro team, considering the fact that he is an awe-inspiring celebrity and has great influence within the NFL.”

Sutro was one of many startups to present at Poe Man’s Challenge, a facet of Poe’s larger foundation that aims to connect underserved students with resources and opportunities for success. The Poe Man’s Challenge inspired Poe to invest in tech himself, the statement said. The company’s leaders had to impress a panel of startup investors and executives, as well as Poe, Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills, and Dallas Cowboys guard La’el Collins.

With Poe’s investment in its back pocket, Sutro is expanding beyond home pools and looking to solve water issues across an array of industries and uses. “We have truly interesting things in store, not just for swimming pools, but also for much broader applications within the water industry, such as ecosystems, aquasystems, and agriculture,” Kurani added. “Dontari and Sutro have a shared vision of helping solve the larger problem of dirty drinking water around the globe.”

The Sutro smart monitor costs $399 and is available for pre-order through the website.

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