October 24th, 2014
Nest, best known for its “learning thermostat,” has made another step into being the center of the smart home world. Today it announced it has acquired smart home hub startup Revolv.
Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. The deal closed this morning, according to Nest PR.
Colorado-based Revolv made a hardware hub with a bunch of radios packed inside to make all the various smart home devices talk to each other. Through the Revolv app, you could sync up smart home interactions.
“Nest bought a team of people knowledgable in the interoperability of a wide variety of radio technology and software protocols in order to make integration easier for partners and customers,” said Forrester analyst Frank Gillett.
The Revolv hub will not be sold anymore. Instead, Revolv will work on Nest’s open API program called “Works with Nest” to “continue to unify the connected home,” according to Revolv’s website.
“It isn’t about turning Works with Nest into a business,” Nest co-founder Matt Rogers told the Verge. “It’s about building the platform so other people can build their businesses on it. We’ll sell more Nest products into a richer ecosystem.”
This is Nest’s second acquisition since Google GOOGL -0.85% acquired the Palo Alto-based company in January for $3.2 billion in cash. In June, Nest purchased cloud-based home security camera maker Dropcam for $555 million. Nest had used Google cash to make the acquisition.
Revolv had been working on Nest’s “Work With Nest” program for a while now. Nest announced another five partners today: ivee, Life360, Pebble, Rachio and SNUPI Technologies.
These new partnerships will do things like allow Nest to better know when family members are away from home with family app Life360 or control your thermostat from your Pebble watch.
Revolv had won praise from critics for being easy to use, but the $300 price tag was likely a bit too much for consumers to swallow. And the concept of a hub wasn’t likely to resonate with mainstream consumers who are still getting used to the idea of putting internet-connected gadgets into their home. This is likely the reason why the company will cease selling the hardware component.
“Nobody right now is making money at the hub level,” Revolv cofounder Mike Soucie told me in July. “There’s a lot of betting on the long-term future and willingness to take losses. That’s where the market is–placing bets on the future.”
Revolv had only raised $4 million in venture capital to date in a Series A round last November.
Revolv’s expertise is in making smart home products talk to each other. Now that it’s a part of one of the biggest players in the connected home, it doesn’t have to worry about the pains of hardware sales. And Nest can find more ways to be the centerpiece of the smart home.
Revolv’s main competitor in smart home hub category was SmartThings, which was acquired by Samsung in August.