Nest Buys “Smart Home” Startup Revolv, Discontinues Automation Hub

Revolv’s idea for a smart hub that could control lights, speakers, locks, and more won’t come to fruition. Nest, a division of Google that makes smart thermostats and home automation technology, has acquired Revolv, a startup based in Boulder, CO. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Nest was after the Revolv team, which will remain in Boulder. As a result, Revolv’s home automation hub will no longer be for sale and development stopped. The company will continue its service for and offer support to existing customers and promises to honor their warranties and keep customer data private.

Revolv started selling the hub last fall for $299, and when the product was launched co-founder Mike Soucie said the company planned to be on the shelves of major retailers by this holiday season.

Revolv’s big selling point was that it would connect devices from multiple manufacturers including Nest, Sonos, Phillips, Belkin, Honeywell, Trane, Kwikset, and Yale. The devices could be controlled from Revolv’s app.

The idea was that customers should be able to choose the best devices in each category and not be locked into a single manufacturer’s walled garden, Soucie said. The company’s goal was to be able to work with 95 percent of all home automation products, and that flexibility along with value would allow the startup to find a place in the market.

That won’t be happening. Nest instead will assign Revolv’s team to work on its “Works With Nest” developers program and give them the task of expanding “the ecosystem” of products that work with Nest. Revolv was one of the first companies to be part of the program.

The team also will be developing new products for Nest, Revolv’s website said.

Nest declined my request to interview Nest or Revolv’s management, but Nest co-founder and vice president of engineering Matt Rogers told Recode the company wasn’t impressed by the idea of “yet another hub that people should have to worry about.” What Nest wanted was Revolv’s employees, which Rogers praised as the best in home wireless communications.

Recode noted that smart home automation hubs don’t appear to be selling well, but the companies behind them have been attractive acquisition targets. Samsung bought SmartThings, one of Revolv’s competitors, for a reported $200 million in August. Google paid $3.2 billion to acquire Nest earlier this year.

Revolv has a short history, but it has deep roots in Boulder. The company, then known as Mobiplug Networks, was a member of the 2012 Techstars program, and its founders are local serial entrepreneurs. CEO Tim Enwall co-founded Tendril, a Boulder-based software company that makes energy management software.

The startup had raised $6.7 million, including a $4 million Series A round last year. Boulder-based Foundry Group was Revolv’s lead investor. Other investors included Liberty Global, SK Ventures, Bullet Time Ventures, Drummond Road Capital, and American Family Insurance.

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9 responses to “Nest Buys “Smart Home” Startup Revolv, Discontinues Automation Hub”

  1. matt says:

    Revolv was a great product before Nest bought it and destroyed it. A hub similar to, but well ahead of Wink. It will prove to be a big mistake for Google and Nest to stop development of the Revolv hub. Having a thermostat be the central control in a home is ridiculous. Integrated into the smart home system, yes, but center of it, no. Z Wave is arguably better than Zigbee and both are superior to WiFi and BLE when it comes to remote controls and battery operated devices, like door and window sensors, and wall mounted remote control light switches that look and function just like hard-wired switches. Hopefully Google will either reel the management at Nest in or drop them like a bad habit.

  2. OkieTechGuy says:

    Come on Nest the world of home automation is moving forward and I didn’t pay $500 for two thermostats not to work with a hub of some kind! Get with the program or I’ll ditch your product and go with a vendor that is more hub friendly. Love the thermostat but…

  3. JSParker says:

    I don’t think this is about dropping the technology altogether rather this is about the consolidation and unification of technology and taking it to the next level. I’m looking for one app and product to control my home the way I want to control it; be intuitive and rock solid. With IFTTT, custom solutions and functionality is a huge win for me. With all this said, I see and expect great things to come in the near future. Lastly, I have read numerous comments about home automation products on the market. ‘It’s just a glorified remote control.’ ‘It’s not home “automation”.’ The foundation of Nest is truly bringing home “automation” to the home. Using the Nest protect as a way to detect motion in the home along with drop cam, you can do away with those passive infrared sensors. Right now I have the ISY programmed to turn my bedroom light on at 50% at 4:50 am. I have hearing impairment so alarm clocks don’t do well waking me up unless I want to wake the entire house. I can add the infrared sensor to detect my movement downstairs and turn the lights on for me with a bit of IFTTT logic included. It boils down to a simple point, we are creatures of habit. Nest’s technology can learn and with the changes they are making with their program Works with Nest, it can only get better!

  4. WhatWouldYodaDo says:

    They just need to connect the damn dots.

    Far-field microphone + Google Now / IFTTT + Home Automation Hub + Lights + Locks + Shades + Temperature + Pool + Sprinklers + Home Theater + Sonos = affordable home automation that is superior to Crestron or Control4.