Shankar Chandran

Editor’s note: Shankar Chandran, Head of Samsung Catalyst, published this post on LinkedIn recently, and asked us to post it on the SSIC blog.

Even back in 2012, when Jamie Siminoff invented the Ring Video Doorbell, there was really nothing new about security cameras or Wi-Fi connections, much less a doorbell button. But Jamie didn’t just invent a video doorbell; he created a business model that promised to open a door to the digital era of neighborhood watch. And now, with Amazon’s reported $1 billion acquisition of Ring, I’m thrilled to congratulate Jamie and his entire team on behalf of everyone at the Samsung Catalyst Fund.

In our early discussions about investing in Ring, we saw the same potential we look for in all our investments: not just a return on investment, but a mutual strategic benefit. Jamie got the fundamentals right by building the most user-friendly video doorbell yet made. But what made Ring special is that Jamie built on it with a vision for the IoT future of home security, and what made Ring successful is that Jamie’s team executed against that vision to perfection.

As Jamie has pointed out in Ring’s thoroughly clever TV advertising, a full 95 percent of burglaries happen in broad daylight. A would-be burglar might ring your doorbell, and—seeing no one home—head right in. With Ring, you can “answer” the door and have a two-way conversation, in which you can give the impression that you’re home, but busy. Ring’s first product took off right away, and the team soon added a full suite of connected home security devices, from flood lights to alarm systems.

But what first drew us to Ring is that Jamie saw an opportunity to do something much bigger. Ring doesn’t just connect security devices within individual homes, it also makes connections between neighbors. In partnership with other services like NextDoor, the Ring app lets you get real-time alerts from people who live near you. It’s important, because burglars typically don’t target individuals; they target entire neighborhoods. And it works. For instance, in Los Angeles neighborhoods where more than 10 percent of homes added Ring doorbells, crime dropped by 50 percent.

Ring had the right idea, the right business model, and an amazing team. What’s more, Jamie’s vision dovetailed perfectly with ours at Samsung Catalyst Fund—and Samsung itself—where we take an ecosystem approach to IoT. Samsung believes devices should work well together, even if they’re not made by Samsung.

Ring is one of hundreds of devices compatible with Samsung’s open SmartThings ecosystem, brought together by a single app that lets people create connections and automations that work for them. It means that if someone rings your doorbell, you can answer it on your Samsung Family Hub refrigerator, or your Samsung Smart TV, or on your Galaxy smartphone—just to name a few SmartThings-compatible devices. In this way, Ring represents exactly the type of collaboration that gets us most excited at SCF. It’s more than a smart investment; it’s the beginning of a strategic relationship.

It’s a principle we apply to each of our collaborations with some of the world’s most innovative, disruptive startups, around technologies that have the potential to radically change our world. What animates our fund—and the hundreds of entrepreneurs we work with day in, day out—is not a set of balance sheets, but a set of beliefs: That we’re better able to get a foot in the door on solving the world’s biggest problems when we work together.

The ideas worth pursuing are those that will make a meaningful difference in people’s lives, whether it’s five years from now, or fifty. Ring certainly fits that bill. We’re exceedingly proud of Jamie and his team, and very much looking forward to seeing what Ring does next.