Shark Tank Featured Startup: Doorbot

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Mar 05, 2014

This company is worth $7 million already and was featured on US TV show Shark Tank [link no longer available].

Doorbot [link no longer available] has developed a video enabled doorbell [link no longer available] and claims no other product even comes close to its $200 pricetag. Essentially a doorbell replacement that lets you see who is ringing the front door on your cellphone, Doorbot indeed has the 'cool factor' and over 10,000 units sold.

But the question: is it worth the price? Were the Sharks smart for passing, or did they see problems? In this note we examine Doorbot.

Solid Idea

Doorbot's concept is a winner on paper: hang a doorbell that becomes a video intercom when the button is pushed, notifying the owner's smartphone or tablet and opening a real-time video session over WiFi. For homeowners, this is an appealing concept, especially those who might be thousand of miles away from the front door.

Even better, Doorbot claims to be integrated with a red hot door lock: Lockitron. When integrated together, the combo claims to let you remotely communicate with someone standing outside your door and then unlock it if you choose. While claiming powerful features, does it deliver?

Product Details

The unit replaces your existing doorbell, and ties into the previously installed chime. From there, the unit serves live video and push notifications every time the button is pressed. The promo video below provides a good overview:

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Several points standout after reviewing the video and the product's FAQ page [link no longer available]:

Notable Features

  • Nighttime SD Camera: The unit is built with a 640X480 color camera with Day/Night mode and built-in IR LEDs.
  • Hardwired or Battery Powered: The unit works with existing low-voltage doorbell power supplies or via four AA batteries. Even on battery power,the company claims it will last over a year of normal use.
  • Video Only During Calls: The unit's camera is only active after the button is pushed, meaning users can only see video streamed from it when externally triggered. The company claims to be working on this and will add this feature later, but for now the camera is not a surveillance camera, just a video intercom.
  • No Storage: Neither the unit nor cloud stores any video from the device. The company claims this will be added eventually.
  • WiFi Needed: The unit relies on an existing wireless network to connect with mobile devices and send notifications.
  • Price: The Doorbot is widely available online or retail channels for $199 USD. There is no ongoing cost of service once purchased, and the companion app is a free download.

Big Problem: Getting It To Work

Despite the interesting concept and high-profile exposure, Doorbot's execution has been dismal. The company's social media pages are full of dissatisfied customers reporting basic functionality issues and complaining about slow response. One customer has even gone as far to upload a video demonstrating his problems to YouTube:

His complaints mirror many others: even when optimally connected to a wireless network, the latency between rings to notifications can exceed 15 seconds, leaving users with a video glimpse of nothing more than a visitor walking away.

Even worse, the video is unreliable and frequently freezes, drops frames, and blocks out details. The company claims it is working on these issues and will resolve them in firmware updates, but this leaves many feeling cheated out of $200 and looking for a refund.

Bright Future?

Even with the disastrous execution, the future may be bright for Doorbot. Indeed, the Sharktank feature did not result in a backing offer, but the exposure has resulted in "a huge spike in interest" from both VC and customers alike according to the company.

Provided they successfully address the shortcomings in engineering, Doorbot could still be a winner. Direct competition is slim, with alternatives having similar problems or not yet shipping and still in fundraising stage.

3 reports cite this report:

The $28 Million Video Doorbell Ring Tested on Sep 08, 2015
In 2015, video doorbells are big business. Ring landed $28 million in funding...
$28 Million Funding for Doorbell Cam Startup on Aug 21, 2015
Yep. Would you spend $200 to see who it at your door on your phone? Well,...
The New Generation of Crowdfunded Security Startups on Sep 02, 2014
New entrants to the security market are few and far between. However, there...
Comments (15) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Sunell Panda Cam Body Temperature Measurement Camera Tested on May 14, 2020
Sunell is far less well known than its gargantuan domestic competitors Dahua...
Uniview Deep Learning Camera Tested on Jul 14, 2020
Uniview's intrusion analytics have performed poorly in our shootouts. Now,...
TVT / InVid Facial Recognition Tested on Mar 25, 2020
Facial recognition is frequently sold for thousands of dollars per channel...
K7 Wall Mounted IR Temp Gun Tested on Jun 26, 2020
The original K3 model was missing a number of important features but the...
Dahua, Hikvision, ZKTeco Face Mask Detection Shootout on Jun 19, 2020
Temperature tablets with face mask detection are one of the hottest trends in...
Anixter Runs Fake Coronavirus Marketing Using Shutterstock Watermarked Images on Jul 24, 2020
Coronavirus faked marketing is regrettably commonplace right now but Anixter...
TVT / InVid White Light Camera Tested Vs Hikvision ColorVu on Mar 18, 2020
With mega China manufacturers Dahua and Hikvision facing both bans and human...
K3 Wall Mounted IR Temperature Gun Tested on Jun 12, 2020
Is this the solution to not spending thousands of dollars on fever...
Motorola / Avigilon Drops ISC West on Feb 26, 2020
Motorola Solutions has pulled out of ISC West 2020 effective immediately,...
Hikvision Global News Reports Directory on Jun 18, 2020
Hikvision has received the most global news reporting of any video...
The Booming Multi-Billion Coronavirus Fever Camera Market on Apr 21, 2020
The market for elevated body temperature detection cameras, aka 'coronavirus...
Hikvision Global Revenue Falls, Hit By Coronavirus on Apr 27, 2020
Hikvision's global revenue fell in the first quarter of 2020 due to the...
Worst Camera Manufacturers 2020 on May 06, 2020
Which camera manufacturer have integrators had the worst experience with in...
PSIM CNL Acquired By Everbridge on Mar 09, 2020
The end has finally come for CNL. Despite for years saying they would...
ProCam Low-Cost Open Thermal Temperature Project on May 12, 2020
An engineering professor in Switzerland is building what he hopes will be the...

Recent Reports

Taiwan Lilin NDAA Compliant Cameras Tested on Aug 13, 2020
Taiwan-based manufacturer Lilin is taking direct aim at Dahua and Hikvision...
White House Expands Dahua Hikvision Blacklist To Federal Funding on Aug 13, 2020
The White House is expanding the NDAA to blacklist anyone who "uses" banned...
Actual Coronavirus Testing Options Examined on Aug 13, 2020
Fever cameras have emerged as an indirect and flawed way to test for...
Video Analytics Online Show September 2020 Opened - Axis, Avigilon, Bosch, BriefCam, Genetec, Milestone + 30 More on Aug 12, 2020
IPVM's sixth online show will feature 35+ Video Analytics companies...
The German Company Powering Many China Temperature Tablets (Heimann) on Aug 12, 2020
Many fever tablet suppliers market German-made Heimann thermal sensors while...
Salesforce Drops Dahua and Hikvision on Aug 12, 2020
Salesforce has dropped Dahua and Hikvision as customers, forcing the two mega...
Access Control Course Fall 2020 - Register Now on Aug 12, 2020
IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in the industry....
Genetec CEO Declares "We Don't Negotiate Payment With Patent Trolls" on Aug 11, 2020
Are patent trolls like terrorists? Genetec's CEO is coming out strongly...
Hanwha AI Analytics Camera Tested on Aug 11, 2020
Hanwha has released their Wisenet P AI camera, adding person and vehicle...
Alabama Schools Million Dollar Hikvision Fever Camera Deal on Aug 11, 2020
The Baldwin County, Alabama public schools purchased a $1 million, 144-camera...
Dahua Taunts Australian Government, Continues To Sell Illegal Fever Cameras on Aug 10, 2020
Dahua is effectively taunting the Australian government by continuing to sell...
HID Releases VertX Replacement Aero on Aug 10, 2020
HID is replacing two established and broadly supported types of access...
NDAA Compliant Video Surveillance Whitelist on Aug 10, 2020
This report aggregates video surveillance products that manufacturers have...
Telpo China Temperature Tablets Tested on Aug 10, 2020
The provider for overseas companies ranging from Canon Singapore to US'...
Dangerous Hikvision Fever Camera Showcased by Chilean City on Aug 07, 2020
Deploying a fever camera outdoors, in the rain, with no black body, is...