Startups

Samsung acquires Georgetown’s SmartThings, moves it to Palo Alto

The company sells kits for homeowners to build their own home automation network, where monitors push temperature, moisture and other data o your smartphone. The attention is important but does the loss of talent change its value?

The three-year project, “I-Corps Sites as an Ecosystem Catalyst,” will be led by Dan Freeman, director of UD’s Horn Program in Entrepreneurship, and Dan Flynn, associate dean for research in the College of Health Sciences.

The University of Delaware has won a $300,000 award from the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps Sites Program (I-Corps Sites), according to a university press release.

The three-year project, “I-Corps Sites as an Ecosystem Catalyst,” will be led by Dan Freeman, director of UD’s Horn Program in Entrepreneurship, and Dan Flynn, associate dean for research in the College of Health Sciences. The purpose of an I-Corps Site is to nurture and support multiple local teams to transition their ideas, devices, processes or other intellectual activities into the marketplace. The funding is provided only to academic institutions that already have innovation or entrepreneurial units.
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Samsung announced today it had acquired SmartThings, the Georgetown-based home automation company. The deal was first rumored to be worth around $200 million last month.
Founded in 2012, the SmartThings team, with fewer than 50 employees, will relocate to Palo Alto, CEO Alex Hawkinson told the Washington Post. The company was only in “tens of thousands” of homes earlier this year, according to Forbes, but growing by 20 percent monthly since then.
The opportunity for technology developed in the District to be used globally is clearly worth cheering. The attention for a D.C. company and the wealth creation and experience afforded to talent with ties here are also pluses.
But when a young, strong company is scooped up and taken elsewhere, there’s an inevitable sense that its opportunity to have a lasting economic or cultural impact has been lost.
Still, how can one not be captivated by its distinctly D.C. pathway? The company launched with a $1.2 million oversubscribed Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign and grew out of the Canvas coworking space. The founding team, with established ties here, was behind SMB Live, which sold to ReachLocal.

Companies: Samsung
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