APPLE VALLEY, Minn. — Uponor Corp. announced the formation of Phyn, a new partnership with Belkin Intl.

Phyn represents the next wave of the smart home and will create an intelligent water solution that protects family homes and businesses from leak damage, enables mindful conservation, and enhances household water usage with automated and anticipatory controls.

“Plumbing has essentially provided the same function for centuries,” said Bill Gray, president of Uponor North America. “And while it will continue to provide that essential function, we believe real change is finally coming. We must find a better way to use our water more intelligently and with purpose.”

“Water is a precious and vital natural resource, but there has been a fundamental lack of technology dedicated to protecting and preserving it — especially for home users,” said Chet Pipkin, founder and CEO of Belkin. “With the creation of Phyn, we’re bringing water up to speed with the rest of the smart home, helping to not only protect consumers’ homes and wallets, but also to do our part to solve the very real challenges facing our global water supply.”

The technology offered by Phyn will create an intelligent water system that will benefit an even broader audience beyond the homeowner. Builders can provide higher value as part of their smart-home offering and insurers can reduce their No. 1 claim frequency and the No. 2 paid-claims dollar amount, which is estimated at more than $1 billion annually in the U.S. alone. Utility companies can avoid costly investments into infrastructure by eliminating water loss and waste. Engineers can gain water-use statistics across a broad customer base as units become installed in hundreds of thousands of locations. And plumbing professionals can increase services offered and monitor and mitigate leak concerns of their customers.

Uponor and Belkin have agreed to establish two joint venture companies. The first will operate in the U.S. and the second one in Europe, at a later stage. Uponor will initially invest $15 million in exchange for a 37.5 percent shareholding in the companies. The parties have also agreed on a time frame within which Uponor has an option to invest an additional $10 million and increase its shareholding in Phyn to 50 percent.

Belkin Intl. will initially own 62.5 percent of the partnership and intends to transfer its related technology, intellectual property, staff, and other non-monetary assets to Phyn. The U.S. joint venture company will be headquartered in the Los Angeles area with a research and development lab in Seattle. A number of Belkin engineers will transition to the new Phyn team. No timetable has been set for the first product launch.

Publication date: 6/6/2016 

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