Business mogul Branson, others, invest in smart doorbell

Monday, August 24, 2015

SANTA MONICA, Calif.—A start-up based here that sells a smart doorbell recently received a lot of help—$28 million—from business mogul Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group; home builder J.F. Shea Co.; and home insurer American Family Insurance Group.

Ring CEO James Siminoff told the Los Angeles Times that he’ll use the investment to hire people “with video analysis and data-crunching skills to develop other uses for the videos” from the system.

“We’re definitely focused on the ring of security we can build around a community, around a home,” he told the newspaper. “We’re stopping one burglary a day, and we’ve caught multiple burglars, so we’ve already become a very important part of homes.

The $199 doorbell system allows owners to speak to visitors at their door via smartphone even if they are not at home when the doorbell rings. If a visitor—or would-be burglar—doesn’t tap on Ring, motion detectors send an alert to the homeowner, the report said.

Ring has 120 employees, the newspaper reported.