$28 Million Funding for Doorbell Cam Startup

Author: John Honovich, Published on Aug 21, 2015

Yep.

Would you spend $200 to see who it at your door on your phone?

Well, investors, including Richard Branson, just spent $28 million to get a piece of the company, Ring.

In this note, we look at the failure of the traditional surveillance industry to win here and why the funding may work out.

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Comments (16)

I find it to be a great device that fits into the residential market at the right price point. The excitement of being able to see and talk to your visitors from virtually anywhere makes it an easy purchase at $200.

The thing that irks me about the Ring though is that there is no door release option directly built into the device... The only way to integrate with a door lock (as per their website) is through one of the following: LockState, Kisi, or Lockitron. These make you buy an electronic deadbolt... hmm.. not the best option. and the kicker? You need to change apps to release the door.

Had they added a contact closure on the rear, it would have allowed hope for a future modification to add the simple ability of uh... oh yeah! letting people into your house ;/

I don't know why all of the geniuses at this $100,000,000 evaluated company would miss skip out on this.

Oh well.. still a decent device to see who rings your bell when you're not home.

IMO, adding a contact on the device itself would be highly insecure.

But they should have an option in the app to directly access a network-enabled lock.

Lots of "Major" commercial intercoms use this approach. One example is Aiphone, as well as most Voip and IP Door Boxes. So it's not like they would be going into unknown territory. Let them leave security at the discretion of the integrator or end user in this case. Another use for the CC is for a porch light etc.

Any well seasoned tech knows that a well determined crook can get past most simple door releases with the right "tools" anyways.

Correct, any sort of network enabled relay integration would make this so much more enticing.

I'll have one on my home shortly. For a personal security device and the types of home intrusions that happen these days it adds a true "prevention" function when gone and when at home. Police tell you not to open the door and don't ignore the door. I had already recommended it to a family member.

Greg, why not go with the traditional approach, adding a peephole on the door?

Live outside ghetto....check

Viking door box to phone system...check

Peep hole.....check

Camera at entrance and door....check

Hotel style door chain....check.

The front door is inherently a point of weakness along with the garage roll-up with access to the home. Anything I can do to enhance this area I will. I see advertising on the APP and such coming as a way to drive revenue.

Ahha... I did not know you have done everything possible. ;)

John, I agree with you that the company will have hard time keep up with the growth. This type of device looks like a cool idea at a glance. But I have a doubt on its practibility given the fact it is a stand alone device.

As you mentioned, this type of product would make much more sense to be part of a complete home automation solution.

I'm expecting an "open platform" (sounds familiar?? ;) gateway similar to OnHub for easy integration.

When you press the button, it rings on the app. One issue I see is that is that with a traditional doorbell, you can hear it ringing in the house. If you don't hear it, you assume it is dead, and keep on knocking. Just hearing the small chime from the unit itself on the outside of the house may tip someone off that something isn't what it seems and that you are not at home....

There is an extension chime for it, called Chime. Not that that totally solves the problem, but it is available.

There are two installation options: Hard-wired to your existing bell wire, leveraging the existing DC power available that way; not hard-wired to anything, at which point it runs 100% on battery, and every month or so, needs to be removed and plugged into a USB charger.

If you choose the hard-wired option, then your existing older doorbell chime device inside your home, continues to ring - just like it did before. The only caveat to this, is if the chime in your house is digital, and not just a DC voltage analog bell, then you need to connect an in-line resistor at the Ring unit's wiring, to be compatible with a digital device.

I installed mine by re-using the old bell wire, and my doorbell inside my house rings just like it always has.

And, Ethan is correct - they just now (1 week ago..?) started shipping the add-on device called Chime, which is a small (1x1x3) wall-wart lookinng widget, which provides a ringer in any room in the house that has an available AC outlet.

So, you can have both.

That's good to know! I wondered if that was the case or if they made you replace the transformer.

BTW, one small point: doorbell transformers are usually 16 VAC, not DC. Just wanted to make that point in case someone tries to meter their doorbell wires and gets confused.

Hey Aaron, if the Ring is powered by your existing low voltage for your door bell, your existing chime will work the same as before. Also, Wink integration is coming next month, allowing one app to handle everything (for the most part). I don't have the Ring doorbell yet, but I think it appears to be a solid product.

I hope they continue with integrations into other HA platforms, like Smartthings, because Wink is just not good. I feel like it's the weakest of the new breed of simpler consumer smart home systems.

I tried to use it for a week or so and found adding devices and basic operation very spotty, if they worked at all. I still have some Quirky devices, but they're run through Smartthings and IFTTT. It's sad when a third party platform handles your stuff better than your own.

Ethan, Wink has problems IMO. I thought I would give Wink a try given the low price point, and while it has worked 95% of the time, it has certainly had some issues. I probably wouldn't recomend Wink at this point, unless I see some improvement in reliability.

Great concept, but not up to par with higher end solutions at this point.

Walk into bestbuy and theres 10 different brands/versions of these doorbell things.

Average person's doorbell isn't rung enough to spend $200 on this thing. Anyone who would have the money to spend $200 on a doorbell, would be better off having a professional video/intercom system installed so when the doorbell is rung, it is thru out the whole house, NOT tied to one persons phone, or phones at all.

And also, you have the gated communities with the guards or call boxes to let people thru the gate. I live in a gated community, and the guard has to let people in, so the doorbell I have is maybe rung 3 times a year at most.

Even if the thing has a separate "plug in chime"...just go to home depot and buy a $20 door bell system.

Wink system- been there done that...Spent a few hundred dollars to get the startup system with bulbs, etc and the nest thermostats...From day 1 it was problematic, slow to operate, and eventually, they screwed up on some security update which rendered the brain of the system useless (they pushed this update, and it screwed up every system out there to the point that they were sending people prepaid shipping boxes to have it repaired), so I got rid of it. Nest thermostats are still in use and only work half of the time in regards to being able to access with smartphone.

These startup compaines out there remind me of the tacky Tandy & X10/Powerhouse junk Radio Shack used to sell...garbage.

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