Four years ago, I wrote in the FT about a young entrepreneur – he was 19 – with a prototype product he had built while doing his GCSEs. Now Yasser Khattak’s Den plugs and sockets have made it to market, well priced and well presented. It’s been quite a journey from the idea Khattak had in bed aged 14 to a company with 28 people and £5m of investment, including a slice from Andy Murray.
Den is designed to turn your house into a smart home without heavyweight building work. The Den smart socket slots straight into the space where there’s currently a regular socket – and looks just the same; ditto the light switch. The other components are free from the complex touchpads and non-intuitive buttons that have been the rule with smart-home products to date. Den switches turn on and off with a proper click and you can operate them manually or remotely by phone app, Amazon Alexa or Google Home. Den also monitors power usage: if you leave a high-power appliance like an iron on by mistake, for instance, it will ask you why, so there are safety benefits too. Exemplary tech, but requiring some effort to adopt it.