You often hear of fun entrepreneurial stories about how someone started a business in their basement or something of that nature. I also wrote about the disruption in the mattress vertical over the last 18 months, and what an exciting business that seems to be in an industry that has been around for hundreds of years. I have to say though, I really like the story of the guys who have put together Ring.com, which is a wi-fi enabled doorbell.
What makes their story so interesting is that the founder, Jamie Siminoff, was filmed on an episode of ABC’s Shark Tank in September of 2013, under their previous name of DoorBot. The premise of the product is that it mounts outside of your front door and has a 180 degree motion sensor camera. When someone approaches the door it sends a message to your phone where you then can see and speak to whomever is at your door, whether you are on the couch or in Costa Rica.
While the team had high hopes for Shark Tank, all of the ‘sharks’ dropped out minus one who wanted to extend a loan for future holdings in the company, Siminoff politely declined, and walked away a bit rejected. I’m assuming that felt a bit like the end of the road for Siminoff and their team, but they decided to go back to the drawing board and work on the product. Sales were growing, as they stated they brought in over $250K in sales the month of the taping. Two months later they received the call as to when the show was going to air. The episode did finally air later that year in November and gave the company the exposure they so desperately needed. Orders were coming in like crazy, and while there were no true interested investors on the show, Siminoff received a call that changed his life forever.
Virgin Airlines founder, Richard Branson was vacationing in the Caribbean and a person next to him was using the Doorbot software to speak to a delivery person. Branson was astonished with the product and reached out right away in effort to become an investor. At this same time, they decided to invest in the domain of Ring.com, and rebrand a bit to look more professional. The name change and the spot on television provided increased credibility and they were now being sold in both Lowes and Home Depot. Branson joined a group of investors and the company was now valued at $60M. All of this took place in a matter of months after the show airing! Now the product is appearing on many of the holiday gadget gift lists, and the company is set for even more growth.
Its almost hard to believe how quickly the company took off after the Shark Tank episode aired, but also a sign for all entrepreneurs out there, that you just need that one break, you never know where it is going to come from, but when it happens, you need to take advantage of it. I’ll be keeping a close eye on the team at Ring.com for years to come, and congrats on your successes.