Ring founder and Chief Inventor Jamie Siminoff at Babson San Francisco
On Tuesday May 2, a large group of students, alumni, and friends of Babson College convened at our San Francisco location for a very special event: Babson Connect. This year’s special guest at connect was 1999 undergraduate alumnus Jamie Siminoff, founder and Chief Inventor of Ring. Jamie spoke with Babson’s Carol Hacker—who has known him since his time on campus—and then took questions from the audience.
Ring was the world’s first battery operated smart doorbell. Jamie invented Ring while he was working on other projects. He was working each day in his garage, and could not hear his doorbell. Realizing that he could keep track of the front door if only he had a way for the doorbell to connect to his phone, he created the first prototype for Ring. It wasn’t the project he was focused on at the time, but when his wife saw it, she told Jamie that it was one of the best ideas he’d ever had.
Eventually, his work resulted in a solid product, but he struggled to turn it into a working business. The breakthrough moment came on Sharktank, where Jamie presented his idea on national TV. None of the sharks invested, but the national exposure caused a surge in sales and further interest from other investors—most notably Richard Branson. From there, Ring took off. The company has grown this year from fewer than 100 team members to more than 1,000. New products are being added to the line, and Ring is finding new partners and new investors. At the root of the business is an important social goal: to reduce crime in neighborhoods.
For me, one of the most important takeaways from Jamie’s remarks was how important his commitment to the business has been across its lifecycle. By his own account, he should have quit pursuing this idea at many different points along his journey—yet he persisted. Now that Ring is enjoying meteoric success, Jamie stresses that he has to maintain an even greater level of commitment to the firm. He views Ring’s future possibilities as being bi-modal—either they commit to an all-out effort to win—or someone else will win and Ring will drift into obscurity. Based on how far (and how fast) Ring has reached its current heights, I would never bet against this company—or this entrepreneur/inventor.