Security startup Bot Home Automation has raised $4.5 million to fund its Wi-Fi-enabled DoorBot video doorbell, which streams live video of visitors to a homeowner’s mobile device.
The Santa Monica company declined to disclose its investors in the round, though Century City’s Upfront Ventures, which was part of an earlier seed round, confirmed its participation.
Chief Executive Jamie Siminoff, who also serves as chief inventor, came up with the concept for DoorBot when he would repeatedly miss hearing his doorbell ring when he worked in his garage. Seeing the solution in his smartphone, Siminoff worked to create a doorbell that would fit the life of today’s mobile user, forming the business in August.
He took the idea to ABC’s “Shark Tank,” a reality TV show for entrepreneurs hoping to wrangle in investors, but failed to raise money through the show. It was not an unproductive experience, however.
After the episode aired in November, Bot Home announced that it had raised $1 million in seed funding from several investors, including Upfront and First Round Capital in Philadelphia.
“We are big fans of Jamie Siminoff,” said Greg Bettinelli, Upfront partner. “I think he is one of Los Angeles’ strongest innovators; we really get excited backing local entrepreneurs of that caliber. Secondarily, we’re very interested in the home security and hardware space. I think the DoorBot solution will be uniquely positioned for the next generation to connect at home.”
DoorBot lets users see and chat with their visitors through a camera that feeds live video to their mobile device. Bot Home said it has sold more than 20,000 of the $199 DoorBot units since November. It’s sold through the company’s website, Staples stores, and Amazon.com and other online retailers.
Siminoff said that while Bot Home prioritizes engineering – 28 of the company’s 40 employees are engineers – customer experience is what sells the product.
Reviews of the product on Amazon have been positive, and Siminoff considers that a benchmark for gauging customer satisfaction.
“The way these products sell is by word of mouth,” he said. “You can get into as many stores as you want, but to really be the next Dropcam, next Apple, next great consumer product company, you really need to deliver a phenomenal customer experience.”
Bot Home is the latest in a series of businesses Siminoff has launched over the past decade. He also founded Unsubscribe Inc., which helps consumers unsubscribe from unwanted email, and voicemail-to-text company PhoneTag. Just 37, Siminoff insisted he had no plans of slowing down.
“I think I have an illness of wanting to hurt myself,” he said, laughing. “This is definitely the company where I’ve had the most overall enjoyment because I really like creating. My brain is on fire.”
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