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Eero Delays Its Smart Router Yet Again, Nabs New VC Funding Nonetheless

The device, originally promised for the summer, now won't arrive until early next year. Meanwhile, VCs continue to pour money into the startup.

Eero

Eero, whose idea for a smarter Wi-Fi router quickly racked up more than $1 million in preorders, is announcing its third delay of the product, saying it now doesn’t expect to ship devices until early next year.

At the same time, the company is announcing it has nabbed new funding from three prominent investors: Shasta Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and Andy Rubin’s Playground. With the new cash, Eero has now raised more than $40 million despite having yet to ship its first product.

 Eero CEO Nick Weaver
Eero CEO Nick Weaver
Eero

For those who placed orders back in February — and have already been charged for their devices — the news represents another frustrating delay for a product that promised to take the frustration out of home networking. The system is designed to help those who have struggled to get Wi-Fi coverage throughout their homes, especially older homes and those with a large footprint. The company announced its plan in February, offering early backers a three-unit system for $299 or a single router for $125, promising a summer delivery. Prices for those who waited would rise to $499 for a three-unit system or $199 for a single router, Eero said. (Full disclosure: I am among those who preordered. I’m still waiting for my Eero, though my inbox suggests many others are growing equally impatient.)

In May the company said it was delaying the device slightly, to late summer, and then in July it said shipments would start in the fall.

In a note to backers on Wednesday, CEO Nick Weaver apologized for the latest delay and promised all preorders would ship by February. Really this time.

“If we had less stringent standards, we’d be able to get the product out the door and into your homes this month,” Weaver said in the note, adding that the company has received FCC approval for the product. “But we don’t want to deliver a beta product. We want to deliver the future of home Wi-Fi.”

Eero is offering a full refund to any backer who wants one and promised that the device will be worth the wait to those who keep hanging on.

“I understand it’s frustrating,” Weaver said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “We are going to make sure they get units as quickly as possible.”

Several hundred units are in homes being tested, Weaver said. But, he added, the company has faced challenges both in getting enough units that meet its quality control standards and in preparing the team to support thousands of customers, each of whom has a unique setup.

The new funding has allowed the company to grow from its original 15-person team to more than 50 workers, Weaver added. There are 10 people solely devoted to manufacturing that are constantly going back and forth to China, while another group is focused on ensuring customer support.

“Every home is slightly different,” Weaver said. “Somebody might have a really odd home geography that requires a little more handholding.”

Redpoint Ventures’ Satish Dharmaraj said what interests him is the role a product like Eero can play as homes have more and more specialized devices connected to the Internet, some of which don’t even have screens.

“We see that devices being able to connect back to the Internet is becoming more and more critical as we have speakers and locks and thermostats and what-have-you connected back to the Internet,” Dharmaraj said.

Dharmaraj said Redpoint brought in Andy Rubin to make sure that the company’s approach was sound and that Weaver and his colleagues were ready for the admittedly big challenge.

“We got really convinced this is the right team and this is a market we should go after,” he said.

As for the delays, Dharmaraj said, “while we are extremely bummed,” Redpoint isn’t too concerned about the company’s operations.

“Honestly, we’ve seen it in every hardware company we’ve invested in,” he said, recalling past Redpoint-backed consumer hardware companies, including Tivo, Sonos and Rubin’s Danger, which made the T-Mobile Sidekick. “This is the nature of the business.”

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.