Report: A West Coast firm has acquired most of Zonoff's staff - Technical.ly Philly

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Mar. 17, 2017 3:53 pm

Report: A West Coast firm has acquired most of Zonoff’s staff

After an acquisition by Honeywell fell through, Ring reportedly swooped in to snatch the Philly talent.

At Zonoff's Malvern, Pa., offices.

(Courtesy photo)

According to a report, Santa Monica, Calif.-based Ring — the makers of a smart doorbell with video capabilities — just hired the majority of the staff at Malvern, Pa.-based Zonoff, including CEO Mike Harris. We’ve been unable to get on-the-record confirmation of this, though one source familiar with the situation has confirmed it. Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Garton has confirmed the news to us: Ring will open a Philadelphia office with about 80 ex-Zonoff employees.

“It’s a great move for Ring, an exciting opportunity for our team and a testament to the strength of IoT talent in Philadelphia,” said Garton, who has joined Ring.

As IoT-focused blogger Stacey Higginbotham wrote on her blog Friday morning, the move came after a massive layoff, itself the result of an acquisition deal gone south. Honeywell was reportedly considering the acquisition of Zonoff for $40 million.

According to Higginbotham’s report, which Garton told us is accurate, Ring CEO Jamie Siminoff said: “For Ring as a company, this is an amazing opportunity. Ring, for the last four to five years has been focused on our products, and we haven’t spread our wings into other integrations and other products. Now we’re finally in a position and place where integrations are more important and can be handled.”

One source with knowledge of the situation told Technical.ly that the acqui-hire move was a last minute save for the company.

“They were at death’s doorstep and at the eleventh hour something happened,” said the source, who requested anonymity. “But people had left because they thought it was over.”

“Everyone who worked at Zonoff was offered a job on March 2 and almost all of them have accepted,” writes Higginbotham. “So while this team is still looking for office space and needs computers and all of the other essentials of a brand new Philadelphia-area office for Ring, these people do have a seamless transition from one job to another.”

We’ll be very curious to see if this does indeed result in a Philadelphia office for Ring.

Before this news broke, we had been noticing a slow trickle of mid-to-high level talent at the company, which spun out of East Falls, Pa.-based Bulogics in 2011.

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  • Former VP of Business Development Michael Marks left the company last summer after four years with Zonoff to join Nucleus.
  • Software engineer Sanat Tripathi left in February to join Comcast.
  • Former Director of Product Vikram Desai also parted ways with Zonoff in November.
  • Darryl Scott Jones, former Director of Product Management (later Sr. Director of Strategic Marketing and Analytics) left in February for a senior role at SpringEQ.

The firm, best known for its “connected home” software offering, raised an impressive $31 million Series B round in 2014 from Valhalla Partners and Grotech Ventures.

In the last few months, Zonoff was still out and about: Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Garton was at CES 2017 in January. The company had a two-story, 35,000-square-foot office in Malvern, which it opened in 2015, to accommodate its 70 employees. In 2015, it had plans to grow to 100 and in 2016, the company was still hiring.

In the same report from Higginbotham, some insight into Zonoff’s latest financials was offered.

“However, sources close to and at Zonoff told me Zonoff had been struggling with one of its largest strategic investors, ADT, after it went private in 2016,” wrote Higginbotham. “ADT’s buyer, Apollo Global Management, was more focused on the security side of the business rather than the smart home. Many of the likely acquirers would end up competing with ADT.ADT and Honeywell did not respond to requests for comment.”

CEO Harris didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Roberto Torres

Roberto Torres became Technical.ly Lead Philly Reporter in May 2016. Prior, he was a freelance contributor to Technical.ly and Al Dia News. The native Venezuelan moved to Philadelphia in 2015 after reporting on research at his alma mater, the University of Zulia. Whenever he's not fencing deadlines, he can be found standing in line at Overbrook Pizza in West Philly, running Netflix/Hulu marathons with his wife or reading news from Venezuela.

  • Mike Krupit

    First Round is an investor in Ring. So is Qualcomm Ventures (QC purchased KMel Robotics a couple of years ago and they remain at Pennovation). It’s good to see the West Coast coming to Philly and staying, facilitated by existing Philly connections to the West Coast.

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