Ring CEO won’t quit until ‘we’ve curbed crime’ in a significant way

SANTA MONICA – To say that Ring CEO Jamie Siminoff is driven is an understatement.

The scrappy entrepreneur, who hustled his video bell product for several years on home shopping networks and TV ads and struck up a working relationship with Amazon that resulted in a $1-billion 2018 purchase, was in a brief coma 48 hours before USA TODAY came to visit Monday.

He was skiing in Montana, made a bad move and got hit. He says he initially couldn’t remember what he had for breakfast and didn’t recognize his son. Luckily, nothing was broken, his senses quickly returned and a beat up and bruised Siminoff, 42, was back on a plane the next day, looking sharp and rested when meeting with USA TODAY Monday morning.

“It’s just another part of living a lucky life,” says Siminoff. “I’ve just been very lucky.”.

Like getting Amazon to offer $1 billion for a company rejected by ABC’s Shark Tank a few years earlier. Or seeing his Los Angeles-based startup become the poster child for success (along with Snapchat) for the Southern California tech scene.

And of course, being able to sell “millions and millions” of products, from video doorbells to security and lighting devices.

Siminoff had told Amazon several times “usually joking” that his plan was to either take the company public or sell to Amazon.

“I didn’t think any other company would allow us to be mission first unless we were public, and I would control that,” he says, referring to Ring’s goals of reducing crime via a doorbell that can be answered remotely.

Explore more:  super liquid soccer

In early 2018, at a lunch, Amazon suggested “working closer” together, which he clarified as acquisition code. On April 12th, 2018, the purchase closed.

Since then, Ring slashed its retail prices and released 19 new products, including motion sensor lights and the Ring “Door View Cam,” which enabled people to look through an apartment peephole remotely to see who was at the door.

Guess who’s back:Rejected by ‘Shark Tank,’ Ring doorbell returns as guest shark.

Remote view:Answer the door from anywhere with Ring Video Doorbell.

“Jamie has brought his missionary focus, which has been a tremendous value add,” says Dave Limp, who oversees Amazon’s devices division, “When whole teams can drive toward something as simple and noble as “reducing crime in neighborhoods,” it allows us to make decisions and innovate on behalf of customers even faster.”.

Unlike other startups that have felt squashed in joining a new corporate culture, Siminoff says Amazon has left him alone to run Ring as he sees fit, with little interference.

The Ring doorbell, the company’s best-seller, saw its retail price drop from $200 to $100 overnight, along with others, which Siminoff says was made possible by having the Amazon backing and better cash flow.

“I’m like a kid who just got their parents’ credit card for the first time,” he says.

He says he wanted to be with Amazon because of its record of leaving founders alone. IMDB, Zappos, GoodReads and Audible are still run by their founders, post Amazon ownership, he notes.

He has been asked several times when he’s planning on leaving Amazon, now that he has the exit and the cash to do so.

“I still haven’t accomplished what I set out to do, which is massive crime reduction,” he says. “So until we’ve curbed crime in a significant way, no.”.

Explore more:  high school soccer field dimensions

Which begs the question: Does he really believe that a video doorbell can make that big a dent in crime?

“Not only do I believe, but I have proof,” he says. “There are so many different situations and scenarios where we’ve caught people. Have we made an impact? One hundred percent.”.

Siminoff says the recorded video from the doorbell and the ability for a homeowner to answer the door from anywhere on your smartphone send the would-be robber away.

“We focus on home burglaries, but we’ve caught car vandalism, rapists, major things. There’s a benefit to having a network of cameras in a neighborhood. Someones at the front door and you say `Hey, can I help you?’ They don’t break in, because of the contact, and now the other houses in the neighborhood are safer,” because the crook moves on to somewhere else.”.

Sgt. Craig Herrmann of the Shawnee, Kansas, police department agrees that Ring gets neighbors more attuned to what’s happening.

“Any time we have more eyes on the street, the better,” he says. “We benefit when we can connect with citizens about what’s going on.”.

Sgt. Vince Lewis of the Phoenix PD goes even further. He says crime can be curbed with more video doorbells on the streets.

“It can make a significant reduction in crime,” he says, because with more people connected, “that one tip from the community can give us the lead we need.”.

The Early Years

Siminoff grew up in New Jersey, the son of a father who sold real estate and a homemaker mom and started in business with an internet calling service for overseas calls.

He visited a friend in Los Angeles who took him on a double date, where he met his future wife, Erin, and they stayed.

Erin is credited on every box of Ring products for shaping the idea behind the company.

Explore more:  2022 donruss football

He was in the garage, trying to dream up new product ideas, and frustrated that he couldn’t hear the doorbell ring when he was in there. So he cobbled together a Wi-Fi doorbell.

He showed it to Erin, and she told him “this makes me feel safer at home, like we have gates,” and that took it from a convenience feature to an invention, he says. On the product box, he quotes her as saying, “This is like Caller ID for the door.”.

The initial concept, called Doorbot, became Ring in 2014, and a number of breaks helped spread the word – an appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank helped spread the word about the product, and a booth at the Consumer Electronics Show helped get him to buyers from Walmart and Target.

And now he has a company with over 1,000 employees and offices in Santa Monica, Philadelphia and Phoenix. Later this year, the company will move into new headquarters in Hawthorne, California, near Elon Musk’s SpaceX facilities.

Finally, $1 billion is a lot of money, but many team members and investors had equity, “everyone did very well,” he says.

How did he celebrate? What amazing purchase did Siminoff make, now that he could afford virtually anything?

“I bought a mountain bike,” he says, specifically a Specialized Epic S, which sells in the $4,000 range. “It’s a beautiful, really nice bike,” he says.

Meanwhile, there will be no anniversary celebrations at Ring HQ this week to commemorate the one-year mark of being an Amazon company.

“We don’t celebrate,” says Siminoff, adding that he believes it’s a waste of money. Turning serious, he says, “We’ll celebrate when we really see we’ve curbed crime across the globe in a signifiant way.”.

Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Rits Blog by Crimson Themes.