Ring raises $109M to help build safer neighbourhoods, sights still set on IPO

Video doorbell and connected security device startup Ring has raised $109 million in a Series D round, following its $61.2 million raise last year, when it also launched its Ring Pro smart doorbell. This time around, the new funding follows quickly on the heels of its launch of its connected video motion floodlight, which debuted at CES and will help Ring continue to pursue its goal of reducing crime in neighbourhoods, an aim Ring founder and CEO Jamie Siminoff repeated often when I spoke to him about the new funding.

The round is led by DFJ Growth, Goldman Sachs Investment Partners and Qualcomm Ventures, with participation from Sir Richard Branson, American Family Insurance, Shea and True Ventures, as well as others; it also includes “a small amount” of debt funding from Silicon Valley bank, though Siminoff tells me the large majority is equity raise (he wouldn’t specify the exact split).

I asked Siminoff why such a sizeable raise so close to their funding last year, especially when Ring itself seems to be doing fairly well on the growth front already, according to their own metrics, which include 1,000 team members worldwide, and presence in 100 countries across 15,000 retail locations, including some with the broadest reach including Home Depot and Best Buy.

“There’s stuff coming out this year that I’ve been working on for four years, so the lag time of that, and getting all these different pieces together and then supporting them and the international expansion and all this stuff together,” Siminoff said, explaining that there were plenty of places they could apply the new funds. “The reality is we probably didn’t need the money, but I felt that the valuation was good and the partners were incredible.”

One of those partners was Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, the venture wing of Goldman Sachs. Siminoff said having them in the mix was exciting for Ring, because the goal is ultimately still to go public, with an IPO he hopes will happen by the end of this year, provided all of Ring’s plans on that front proceed as intended.

I asked Siminoff about Ring’s valuation, something which the company has kept close to the chest across all its funding. He wouldn’t specify an amount, but he did provide some hints, and suggested that it’s likely more modest than you might suspect doing your own rough math based on other startup comparisons.

“Compared to peers, based on our revenue and everything else we’re doing, I think it’s actually lower,” he said. “We’ve not ever tried to maximize valuation, we’ve always tried to maximize partners around us, like having Richard Branson come in, having Goldman Sachs Investment Partners and these types of partners. Some of the valuations actually hurt companies, and some of our peers out there that I talk to are actually in trouble, and because of these higher valuations, have not really been able to grow into them.”

So what’s on the horizon for Ring now that it has this additional money in the bank? I pressed Siminoff for details on the product and platform front, but he would only provide general clues, tied back to the company’s overall mission.

“We don’t look at it as, is it a police department focused thing,” Siminoff told me. “Is it a neighbourhood focused thing, it’s really we are building the tools and platform to either integrated into other things that are out there like Nextdoor, which we think are great, best-in-class, but really to create the technology and systems that a neighborhood needs to make itself safer.”

Devices like the Floodlight Cam unveiled at CES, which is set to ship later this year, are more or less steps along the path, Siminoff says, and should really be viewed in context of those larger goals.

“There’s not a silver bullet for us, everything we do is iterative,” Siminoff says. “The floodlight cam is actually one piece of the puzzled that I think is going to make this story very interesting, but it’s kind of all the pieces coming together over time, and slowly boiling the lobster that’s going to make all the difference.”

Still Siminoff mentioned more releases and products coming in 2017, 2018 and 2019, so the pipeline looks full. Steady releases could definitely help Ring hold its own against competitors like August, and even leapfrog some companies like Nest that once looked poised to make a strong showing in the home security space. Plus, we won’t have to wait too long to see what’s next in Ring’s iterative path.

“This year I think we’re gonna come out with stuff that’s really going to blow people’s minds – at least mine.” Siminoff told me.