Earlier this year, Google ushered in consolidation of the home automation and monitoring space with its $3.2 billion acquisition of Tony Fadell’s Nest. Today, iControl Networks followed that trend with its purchase of Blacksumac, which makes the Piper home automation device.
iControl historically has sold its products through various channels, including home security companies and cable service providers. Founded about a decade ago, iControl has spent the last several years signing up customers like ADT, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Rogers, and others with white-labeled home-monitoring products.
The company has raised about $130 million since being founded, from institutional investors such as Charles River Ventures and Kleiner Perkins, as well as strategic investors that include Intel Capital, Comcast Ventures, Cisco, and others.
Blacksumac, meanwhile, is an early upstart in the home monitoring market. The company first came to light with an Indiegogo campaign for its Piper home monitoring device last summer. And, earlier this year it started shipping product.
Piper is a Wi-Fi-enabled device that combines a 180-degree fisheye video camera with temperature, humidity, and motion sensors. It can also work as an all-in-one base station with Bluetooth and Z-Wave capabilities for connecting to and controlling other nearby lights and other devices.
The acquisition will expand iControl’s addressable market beyond its current channel partner strategy to go direct to consumers. That will add to its existing product line, which includes its iControl Connect product for home security providers, iControl Converge platform for broadband service providers, and iControl Touchstone self-install gateway solution.
According to iControl CEO Bob Hagerty, the company plans to sell the Piper device through its own online store, as well as through a wide variety of online and brick-and-mortar distributors in the future. The Piper product could also help iControl expand into other markets, such as Europe and Asia, where its sales presence hasn’t been as strong.
That said, it’s a little surprising that a product which showed so much promise in a market as hot as home automation would allow itself to be acquired so quickly. After all, with recent financings like Greylock and Highland’s $12.5 million investment in SmartThings or the $10 million Canary picked up from Khosla Ventures, Blacksumac could have gone a similar route.
Ultimately, the team decided it made more sense for Blacksumac to be acquired and work within a company like iControl than to move forward as an independent entity in an increasingly competitive environment. While it will get a good deal of support behind its product, the Piper team will continue to be based in Ottawa, Ontario, and continue to operate as its own division within iControl.
Not surprisingly, terms of the deal were not disclosed.