After pilot, Zonoff-powered connected-home offer now in 500 Staples stores

Zonoff Chief Marketing Officer Bob Cooper explains how his company landed a major partner like Staples.

Kaitlyn Borysiewicz and Doris Quintanilla are cofounders of The Melanin Collective.

(Courtesy Photo)

After a six-month pilot, Staples is doubling down on its smart-home offerings — and Malvern tech company Zonoff is playing a major role in that effort.

Last November, Staples launched Staples Connect, a product suite (which includes a hub that controls all connected-home devices, an app, cloud software and 30 different devices) in 32 stores and online. Zonoff built the app, the cloud software and the technology that powers the hub.

Late last month, Staples announced it would make Staples Connect available in 500 stores across the country. The office supply retailer has about 1,500 stores worldwide and is also No. 3 in ecommerce sales, behind Apple and Amazon. The company is targeting the small business market, as well as the residential market, said Zonoff Chief Marketing Officer Bob Cooper. You can read more on GigaOM.

Staples is certainly the splashiest partner of Zonoff’s, though the company has others, like French manufacturer Somfy. Zonoff will be announcing new partners soon, Cooper told Philly.

Zonoff makes money in three ways, Cooper said:

  • software licensing, or every time there’s a sale or activation of a hub
  • cloud management service fees
  • sales revenue sharing with its partners

And how does a tech company go about landing a big partner like Staples?

This isn’t the first enterprise business that Zonoff leadership has had to sell. CEO Mike Harris’s first company was Ravisent, a dot-com era company that built and sold DVD technology to consumer electronics companies.


“We’re not a bunch of kids out here,” Cooper said. “We’re serial entrepreneurs.”

He added that part of it is relationships, and knowing where the entry points are in a large company. But it’s also important, he said, to realize that large companies are looking for this type of technology.

“They don’t do everything in-house,” he said. “A lot of those expenditures have been reduced.”

Zonoff now has 50 employees. When asked if the company was profitable, Cooper declined to comment.

Companies: Zonoff
People: Mike Harris
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