From Shark Tank reject to Amazon's key to home delivery

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Ring's smart doorbell was its billion-dollar ticket to Amazon's empire, which bought the company as part of its move into consumers' homes and communities.

"If you can get acquired by Amazon, you are about as lucky as you can get," said Jamie Siminoff, CEO of Ring, which Amazon bought in a $1 billion deal in March. Siminoff shared his company's story during the TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2018 event.

Ring's acquisition by Amazon is a major milestone for the Santa Monica, Calif., company, which started out as a security hardware firm to address what Siminoff called "empty neighborhoods," or the business hours in which parents are at work and children are at school—leaving homes unattended.

The company's video doorbells and related hardware were rejected by the TV show "Shark Tank." "We really needed the money," Siminoff said.

But Ring found a partner in Amazon, which collaborated on ways in which Ring's doorbell and surveillance technology could combine with the e-commerce giant's Alexa digital assistant.

The acquisition followed, making Ring a major winner in a hardware market in which developers often have trouble attracting investment.

"There's a lot of carnage in the hardware space; you have a lot of people creating cool things without a reason to buy them," Siminoff said. "Most people don't have the disposable income to buy cool hardware. But the doorbell does something for you. It makes people feel safer."

Ring's hardware will soon be put to test at Amazon, which is in a fierce battle with Walmart to support secure in-home delivery when customers are away.

The security technology is attractive to Amazon, which wants to deliver packages to consumers without risking theft. But Ring's technology can also complement other in-home Amazon products such as its Dash in-home ordering buttons, Amazon's cloud camera to support home delivery, and Blink (another home camera provider that Amazon acquired).

Amazon's rival Walmart is also adding in home delivery. Walmart is using its own staff as couriers and is also partnering with DoorDash to support deliveries.

Siminoff didn't reveal specific delivery or payment products in the pipeline, but did mention Alexa as an integration tool with wide open possibilities. Voice assistants such as Siri and Alexa and expanding quickly and consumers have shown a interest in using voice assistants to make payments, but transactional use cases are still developing.

"A cool part of the Alexa system is it's indoors and has auto responses," Siminoff said. "It will be interesting what we can do with them over time. There will be great integrations with third parties as well as the third parties that are already on Amazon."

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