Google Nest Adding to Home Connections with Dropcam

Saturday, 21 Jun 2014 10:41 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Google's Nest Labs is buying video-monitoring and security start-up Dropcam Inc. for $555 million to develop products to further connect users to their homes.

Nest manufactures Internet-controlled thermostats and smoke detectors, and plans to use Dropcam to develop more products and services, Matt Rogers, co-founder of Nest, told The Wall Street Journal.

"There's a lot of alignment between the teams in terms of building products for the home — our product offerings are very complementary," Rogers said.

Dropcam's connected video-monitoring service streams live video to mobile apps through a series of small cameras, allowing users to remotely connect to their homes. The service is often used for home security.

The company's main device is a WiFi-enabled security camera that users can plug in, connect to WiFi service and then monitor online, reports TechCrunch. The cameras cost $149 or $199, depending on video quality. Users can monitor the cameras for free or pay Dropcam to keep an archive of recorded footage.

Google bought Nest in January for $3.2 billion, and with the acquisition of Dropcam is facing some concerns about privacy. But Rogers noted that Dropcam, once the sale is approved by regulators, will be governed under Nest's privacy policy, which will allow gathered data to be shared with Google or other companies.

Dropcam, though, offers features that allow users to show friends their video streams. Nest, meanwhile, has technology that allows its thermostats to tell if a user is at home or out and share the status with their contacts.

For its start-up, Dropcam raised $47.8 million from Institutional Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Felicis Ventures, Menlo Ventures, and Accel Partners.
Meanwhile, Nest was founded by Rogers, a former Apple designer, and Tony Fadell, a former Apple iPod designer.

Nest planned to become a "smart" platform that allowed devices in the home to be controlled online, and attracted Google, which wants to connect its Android system and expand into other connected devices, such televisions and other devices.

And Dropcam hopes to expand beyond home surveillance, adding movement sensors to help users track doors when they open or close, said venture capitalist David Cowan, a Dropcam investor.

"There will be an app for your home alarm, your thermostat, your garage door, your lights, even your music," said Cowan.

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