Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Dropcam Snaps Up $30M for Connected Video Cameras

A recent generation of Web-connected hardware startups — Withings, Fitbit (unofficial), and now Dropcam — have in the past few months raised $30 million each to scale their businesses. Funnily enough, it seems to be a magic number for the cohort, which has been lifted up by the broader trend of smart devices.

DropcamI’ve profiled Dropcam before — it’s a fascinating company that sells gobs of $149 Wi-Fi cameras that people use for everything from surveilling their own homes for security purposes to ensuring they have video of their kids’ first steps.

Dropcam’s new Series C round was led by Institutional Venture Partners, and included Accel Partners, Menlo Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. It brings the company to about $48 million raised.

For now, Dropcams are only sold on the company’s website and on Amazon — where they are consistently one of the two most popular photo and video products (along with GoPros).

The new funding will be used to market and sell the product in physical stores and on other channels, said Dropcam CEO Greg Duffy, who noted that the appetite from investors was strong, given that the round was put together in a matter of a few weeks.

Also in the works: Hiring. Specifically, more support for the computer vision team, which has already done a lot of hard work around motion detection, using algorithms that are built to be respectful of privacy, given that most video feeds are personal. “We’re going to get a lot better at telling you only when something really interesting is happening,” Duffy said.

Lastly, Duffy wants to work on better and more interesting mobile tools. Already, the iPhone app is “far and away” the most popular way to tune in to Dropcam, Duffy said, as compared to Web, iPad and Android.

Dropcam video is stored online, where users can pay $9.95 per month to access footage and make clips from video taken in the past seven days, or $29.95 for the past month. Live footage is free.

The San Francisco-based company has said since last year that it processes more video on a daily basis than YouTube. Today, 39 percent of Dropcam users pay for premium services beyond the cost of their device, according to Duffy. The average user checks in more than once per day, and watches 10 minutes worth of footage, he said.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald