Cambridge engineer taps ex-Tory Treasurer to invest in Earzz home listening device


A PhD graduate from Cambridge University has tapped the former Treasurer of the Conservative Party for investment in a new listening device aimed at simplifying sound monitoring at home.

The tool, known as the Earzz Smart Home Monitor, allows users to stay connected to the goings-on of their home by constantly monitoring for the sounds that they’d like it to detect, such as a car pulling on to the drive, the bleeping of a fridge door left open or a running water tap. It can even get as specific as detecting a baby crying versus baby coughing.

Former Tory Co-Treasurer James Lupton, who attracted controversy for being given a peerage after he was found to have donated millions of pounds to the Conservative Party, controls a 13% stake in the business, company filings show.

Earzz founder Prad Thiruvenkatanathan, who previously worked as an audio engineer for oil giant BP, designed the product after studying acoustics technology at Cambridge. He came up with the idea when he realised he had nine different monitors in his home.

“I came into BP because I invented something at Cambridge that they found a use for in monitoring oil wells,” he told the Standard.

“It taught me a lot and with that experience I stepped into something I was genuinely passionate about.”

Earzz founder Prad Thiruvenkatanathan (Earzz)
Earzz founder Prad Thiruvenkatanathan (Earzz)

The product, which is controlled via a smartphone app, is also aimed at pet lovers to help them detect when a cat or dog is leaving or entering the house, as well as for the hard of hearing to detect when a doorbell or phone rings. It is being launched as a subscription model, with customers paying £7.99 monthly to rent the device.

Earzz, which has attracted more than £1 million in investment since it was founded in 2021, plans to assemble its devices at a factory in the UK. It is aimed at the domestic market, with plans for overseas expansion on the horizon.

The patent-pending technology sends a recording to the Earzz Cloud, with notifications sent to a mobile device whene specific sounds are detected.

Thiruvenkatanathan said the audio recorded by the device would not be stored by the company for long periods of time and would instead be deleted as soon as each sound detection process was complete.