NEW MONDAY 3/20: Top management and more than 70 staff at home-automation developer Zonoff’s Malvern offices have joined Santa Monica, Calif.-based “video doorbell” maker Ring, where they are now the new “Ring Solutions” division, Jamie Siminoff, “Chief Inventor and Founder” of Ring, confirms.
Zonoff boss Mike Harris is now “President of Ring Solutions,” Siminoff told me. “He is someone who I have known for a long time and have a huge respect for. We are really lucky to now be able to work with Mike Harris, (ex-Zonoff chief tech officer) Mike Balog and some other really talented Pennsylvanians.”
Siminoff says he’s “looking actively” for a new location for the team, “in close proximity to their houses.” The bosses are family guys who live in the Chester County suburbs.
FRIDAY 3/17: The staff switch followed quickly after an earlier plan to sell the venture capital-backed home-automation platform developer to Honeywell for around $40 million “fell through,” reports Stacey Higginbotham of Austin-based StacyOnIT here.
Zonoff raised $32 million (led by Grotech, Valhalla) and counted Staples as a client back in 2013-14, and its future seemed attractive enough.
But Higginbotham, citing unnamed sources close to the company, wrote that “Zonoff had been struggling with one of its largest strategic investors, alarm giant ADT, after it went private in 2016. ADT’s buyer, Apollo Global Management, was more focused on the security side of the business rather than the smart home,” and likely Zonoff acquirers were also ADT competitors, making it tougher for the seller to close a favorable deal.
So Harris began looking for a corporate parent for his team. Siminoff flew to Philadelphia and offered Zonoff workers their jobs on March 2, shortly after Zonoff laid them off.
Siminoff and former Zonoff officers declined to comment on the company’s current status now that everyone has left.
Ring is a larger organization: DFJ Growth, Goldman Sachs, Qualcomm, Sir Richard Branson, and others committed $109 million to Ring in January. Ring employs more than 1,000 and plans more deals.
Apollo, whose investors include the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania state pension funds, is run by partners including Sixers lead owner Josh Harris.
Despite Zonoff’s implosion, Higginbotham notes other home-automation firms have found corporate acquirers — including Austin-based iControl, lately acquired in part by Comcast’s Xfinity Home service and in part by Alarm.com.
Comcast and other investors had committed more than $100 million to building up iControl. Alarm.com paid $140 million for its part of the business; Comcast’s price wasn’t immediately disclosed.