Nest Buys “Smart Home” Startup Revolv, Discontinues Automation Hub

Revolv’s idea for a smart hub that could control lights, speakers, locks, and more won’t come to fruition. Nest, a division of Google that makes smart thermostats and home automation technology, has acquired Revolv, a startup based in Boulder, CO. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Nest was after the Revolv team, which will remain in Boulder. As a result, Revolv’s home automation hub will no longer be for sale and development stopped. The company will continue its service for and offer support to existing customers and promises to honor their warranties and keep customer data private.

Revolv started selling the hub last fall for $299, and when the product was launched co-founder Mike Soucie said the company planned to be on the shelves of major retailers by this holiday season.

Revolv’s big selling point was that it would connect devices from multiple manufacturers including Nest, Sonos, Phillips, Belkin, Honeywell, Trane, Kwikset, and Yale. The devices could be controlled from Revolv’s app.

The idea was that customers should be able to choose the best devices in each category and not be locked into a single manufacturer’s walled garden, Soucie said. The company’s goal was to be able to work with 95 percent of all home automation products, and that flexibility along with value would allow the startup to find a place in the market.

That won’t be happening. Nest instead will assign Revolv’s team to work on its “Works With Nest” developers program and give them the task of expanding “the ecosystem” of products that work with Nest. Revolv was one of the first companies to be part of the program.

The team also will be developing new products for Nest, Revolv’s website said.

Nest declined my request to interview Nest or Revolv’s management, but Nest co-founder and vice president of engineering Matt Rogers told Recode the company wasn’t impressed by the idea of “yet another hub that people should have to worry about.” What Nest wanted was Revolv’s employees, which Rogers praised as the best in home wireless communications.

Recode noted that smart home automation hubs don’t appear to be selling well, but the companies behind them have been attractive acquisition targets. Samsung bought SmartThings, one of Revolv’s competitors, for a reported $200 million in August. Google paid $3.2 billion to acquire Nest earlier this year.

Revolv has a short history, but it has deep roots in Boulder. The company, then known as Mobiplug Networks, was a member of the 2012 Techstars program, and its founders are local serial entrepreneurs. CEO Tim Enwall co-founded Tendril, a Boulder-based software company that makes energy management software.

The startup had raised $6.7 million, including a $4 million Series A round last year. Boulder-based Foundry Group was Revolv’s lead investor. Other investors included Liberty Global, SK Ventures, Bullet Time Ventures, Drummond Road Capital, and American Family Insurance.

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