Last week, Samsung announced its purchase of the Kickstarter-launched SmartThings for a reported $200 million. The Washington, D.C.–based startup, which raised $1.2 million from its crowdfunding campaign in September 2012, initially focused on developing an app-based smart-home control system. It has since expanded to helping developers connect devices such as locks, light switches, and power outlets to the Web. The newly acquired business will operate as an independent company within Samsung’s Open Innovation Center in Palo Alto, Calif.
In a blog post on Aug. 14, SmartThings’ founder and CEO, Alex Hawkinson, wrote that the move is a part of the company’s plans to scale. In turn, SmartThings offers Samsung a growing, open-source platform that has raised more than $15 million from private investors since its 2012 launch, Re/code reports.
The news follows a spate of activity in the home-automation sector that sees tech giants pairing with startups and other third-party developers. In January, Google acquired Nest Labs for $3.2 billion, which in turn bought home-surveillance systems developer Dropcam and launched a third-party developer network six months later. In June, Apple announced its HomeKit developer tools for connecting home devices to the Web via its forthcoming iOS 8 platform. And, in July, representatives at companies including Google, Nest, and Samsung announced the development of Thread, an IP-based networking protocol designed to help devices from different manufacturers work together.
Products and systems that can share data across platforms en masse is one goal.
“We believe that there is an enormous opportunity to leverage Samsung’s global scale to help us realize our long-term vision,” Hawkinson wrote in his post. “While we will remain operationally independent, joining forces with Samsung will enable us to support all of the leading smartphone vendors, devices, and applications; expand our base of developers and enhance the tools and programs that they rely on; and help many more people around the world easily control and monitor their homes using SmartThings.”