Ring's Mr Beams acquisition may be the first of many

Smart home security company's CEO on takeovers, competition and more

Ring's Mr Beams acquisition first of many
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Ring’s new Stick Up Cam duo may have got the most tech coverage for the home security specialist over in Vegas at CES earlier this month, but the bigger story could well be Ring’s first major acquisition.

No financials have been released on the deal that sees Mr Beams – an LED lighting company – become part of Ring, but Ring founder Jamie Siminoff told The Ambient the deal was a long time in the works.

“It’s not a revenue thing and it’s not a technology thing – it has to be an area that we see as fitting the mission and it has to be a culture that we think we can work with,” he said, referring to potential takeovers. “The stars have to align. With Mr Beams, it was a long time getting to know them.

“When we find a company like Mr Beams, with founders like David and Mike, who are just so culturally on the same plane as us – when you have that and you can get them at a price that’s not a crazy Silicon Valley price, it’s a rational price, and you can say, 'We’re going to do something great, you’re going to do something great, let’s do this together,' that’s when it works."

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The Mr Beams tech is already part of Ring’s 2018 line-up - it announced Ring Beams at CES (pictured above) – smart LED lighting for pathway lights, step lights and spotlights. Compared to Ring’s existing range, the new Beams products are a little less technical and we asked Siminoff if his company could not just have built its own versions.

“It’s very easy for a company like us, with the engineering we have, to build almost anything ourselves – engineering wise, contract manufacturers, the back-end; we have a very deep bench,” he admitted.

“But it’s the nuances of these things that get you. We could have said, 'This is pretty simple, we’ll build it ourselves and compete with these guys.' But there’s something about learning through 10 years of each little part.

“Instead of launching in spring with a new line of products that’s great for everyone, we would have launched in October with something with some rough edges.”

What's next for Ring

Is the Mr Beams acquisition the first of many then? Can we expect to see Ring taking more home security brands under its wing? Siminoff told us it’s an avenue they are considering.

“If you look at some other companies that have faltered in our space, I think they have tried to do everything in house too much,” he said. “But, I think there’s a balance. If you just buy companies and stick them together you’ll never have any cohesion.

“Soul is the thing. As we grow as a company things will change and evolve, but soul would be the most upsetting thing for me for us to lose.”

When we spoke to the Ring boss at the end of 2017, he outlined some grievances with the likes of Nest launching products that go head to head with Ring’s main revenue stream – it’s video doorbell range.

Anyone who took a walk around the Sands Smart Home expo over in CES 2018 couldn’t have helped but noticed an ubiquity of smart video doorbells on show, from a array of both well-known and unknown brands. We asked Siminoff what he thought of the ever increasing competition within the market.

“We’ve got to keep our heads down and keep focused on what we do and not get distracted by it,” he said.

“If you look at the greatest companies in the world, the companies that have come through with great products – GoPro, Beats, Fitbit – had just massive amount of competition and you have to go through that phase. If you’re not going through that phase then you’re probably not on to something.”

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