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Samsung Buys Kickstarter-Funded Internet of Things Startup For $200MM 107

Posted by Soulskill
from the keeping-up-with-the-Googses dept.
jfruh writes: In September of 2012, SmartThings took to Kickstarter with the promise of delivering an "Internet of things" package to backers, including a hub device that would control various home gadgets via the user's smartphone. They aimed to raise $250,000. They got $1.2 million. And now they've been bought by Samsung for a reported $200 million, as the South Korean electronics market tries to get a foothold into this emerging market.
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Samsung Buys Kickstarter-Funded Internet of Things Startup For $200MM

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  • Peak Hype (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by biodata (1981610)
    This must be what Gartner meant
  • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Friday August 15, 2014 @10:45AM (#47678271)

    Practically the only thing it's missing is commentary about 3D printers.

  • $200MM (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 15, 2014 @10:46AM (#47678287)

    What's $200MM? Is that 200 million million dollars? 200 millimeter dollars?

    • I think it's a Slashdot editor trying to spin 500rpm in an office chair and publish articles at the same time.
      • by OakDragon (885217)

        I think it's a Slashdot editor trying to spin 500rpm in an office chair and publish articles at the same time.

        Or 500RPMM.

    • Re:$200MM (Score:5, Funny)

      by fisted (2295862) on Friday August 15, 2014 @10:56AM (#47678371)
      It's obviously $200 worth of M&M's
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I didn't post the original comments, but MM is fairly common in finance to indicate Million.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MM
      - Million in some financial contexts

      • Re:$200MM (Score:5, Funny)

        by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Friday August 15, 2014 @12:34PM (#47679235)

        My balls it is. The only place I've ever seen it as such is on slashdot, and here twice.

        • by jeffmeden (135043) on Friday August 15, 2014 @12:47PM (#47679357) Homepage Journal

          My balls it is. The only place I've ever seen it as such is on slashdot, and here twice.

          Want to see it in action? Look no further than the home page of the world's sixth largest bank:
          https://locator.chase.com/ [chase.com]

          Hover over "Business" and "Commercial" and you will note that their definition of those two classes relies on the MM suffix. I don't blame you for never having even imagined a context where millions of dollars was relevant, but you will find that it's a big world out there.

        • My balls it is. The only place I've ever seen it as such is on slashdot, and here twice.

          It's from the french ... you know, mille == 1,000. so mille mille == 1,000 x 1,000. (So I guess a billion would be MMM etc).

          • by Obfuscant (592200)

            It's from the french ... you know, mille

            I knew Millie. She was Irish.

            (So I guess a billion would be MMM etc).

            Except for Millie, who would call MMMM a billion (million million).

    • I'm pretty sure MM stands for Monopoly Money. IoT obviously doesn't deserve REAL money so this is what they get...
    • by landoltjp (676315)

      BEfore 1976, M in docuents and reports was used to represent thousands (1,000s). With Metric (SI) adoption, that was replaced with K for the most part. and M was for million (1M equiv. 1 Million), as we're used to today.

      But "back in the day", you'd see "MM" used to refer to Millions. It still shows up in company stock reports from time to time

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org]

      • I keep seeing that K is for 1000, but as far as I know that's simply not true. It's just people using some broken version of metric prefixes. k = kilo and K is Kelvin specifically to avoid confusion if you are using the metric system. Having m for mili and meter is bad enough.
        • I keep seeing that K is for 1000, but as far as I know that's simply not true.
          It's just people using some broken version of metric prefixes.
          k = kilo and K is Kelvin specifically to avoid confusion if you are using the metric system.
          Having m for mili and meter is bad enough.

          No no no. Metric and SI are totally logical and have no ambiguity!
          I'd explain why but it's currently 17.85 and I only have 1.2 decaminutes to get to my next meeting.

          • It may not be completely logical to have kilo as one of only 3 multiples of ten that does not use a capital letter, but there is no ambiguity in the standard for which symbol stands for kilo.
            • by Obfuscant (592200)

              but there is no ambiguity in the standard for which symbol stands for kilo.

              However, there is considerable confusion over which symbol stands for "mega". I see people talking about mHz all the time, and when I point out that they are off by 9 orders of magnitude their eyes just glaze over.

              Also networking companies who advertise 12mbps.

              • That's all very true. But that's just people using the metric prefixes incorrectly. I just wanted to point out that 1000 = k, since the OP I replied to said that the metric system replaced M with K.
            • It may not be completely logical to have kilo as one of only 3 multiples of ten that does not use a capital letter, but there is no ambiguity in the standard for which symbol stands for kilo.

              There's no ambiguity for "k", sure. But there's plenty of ambiguity when you go ahead and USE k, or m, or g, or u, or anything, in any field.
              It's absurd to say "kb" is confusing because people might think it means 1000 bits, yet to go ahead and use m for meter and milli, G for Giga and the gravitational constant, about a dozen stylings of u for half a dozen different things, k for kilo and the spring constant, etc.

              • And I completely agree with you on all of those points. Like I already said: I was just pointing out that kilo = k not K. There is no ambiguity there. If you just have a k without context, then it is pretty much impossible to know what exactly it means. Also note that according to SI a kb is 1000 b. It's just that no one seems to actually use the proposed kib notation, because kibi byte sounds stupid. On a related note, it's also very confusing that in many places people use b for byte instead of B. Or som
  • How much is 200 mm in dollars?

  • But I'm sure as hell not going to run my door locks over wireless with some consumer product that's produced as cheaply as can be for the mass market.

    On the other hand, I know that roll-it-yourself security is almost always broken.

    So, I deal with having to reach into my pocket to get my keys, and turn on lights with a switch rather than automatically.

    Somehow I survive.

    • But I'm sure as hell not going to run my door locks over wireless with some consumer product that's produced as cheaply as can be for the mass market.

      So, I know "hackers" are scary and everything... but you do realize that, rather than hack your network, they can pick up a rock from by your bushes, break the glass on the door, then reach in and manually unlock it... right? It's a lot less effort.

      For the past 6000 years or so, the best made security system ever devised has remained the same: A big dog.

      • So, I know "hackers" are scary and everything... but you do realize that, rather than hack your network, they can pick up a rock from by your bushes, break the glass on the door, then reach in and manually unlock it... right? It's a lot less effort.

        Sure, but not nearly as quite. As for me, I have double-key dead bolts on all my exterior doors (and don't keep the key in the lock - as I know some people actually do) so simply reaching in and unlocking the door would be problematic.

        Obviously, breaking a window and climbing in through that is still another non-stealthy option.

        • A lock will not stop a determined intruder. But then, unless you are being targeted, they'll just move on to the next target (kinda like the flashing LEDs in car doors)

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Actually, any dog will do.

        When I was growing up, there were 5 families on my block who had dogs (Long Island, NY if anyone wants to know). There were a total of 12 houses on the street. Some dogs were big (ie: german shepards) while others had small dogs (yorkie, dachsund, etc)

        One night,7 houses got hit by burglers. Only the houses without dogs were hit. NONE of the houses with dogs were touched.

        • On the other hand, the house nearby mine was hit recently. They had a dog, the burgler had food it liked. While it is "reality tv" that show about breaking into houses and then fixing the security issues used the same trick for dogs.
        • by jrumney (197329)
          I had a lab-dashound cross (no idea how that happened - we got him from the pound). He was only a little bigger than a pure dashound, but had the bark of a fully grown lab. Someone tried to burgle our house one night and got the fright of their life as the sound of a large dog came at them from below their line of sight.
      • by Xeth (614132)
        Smashing with a rock looks suspicious, and almost anyone that sees you do it will call the police. If you've got a fully-wired home, and an attacker compromises it, they can find out exactly when you're not home (from automated lights and climate control settings), unlock the door, and walk out with whatever high-value items they think they can get away with.
      • by rthille (8526)

        We have two big dogs, and I'm not really worried about a break-in, but I still don't feel comfortable ceding my coming and going to a for-profit company with unknown security practices.

        If I were really worried about a real break in, I wouldn't have had the alarm system ripped out during the remodel...

    • How do you keep your keys from scratching your smartphone?

      • by rthille (8526)

        Different pockets.

      • by bjwest (14070)

        How do you keep your keys from scratching your smartphone?

        Don't keep them in the same pocket?

        I hold my phone in my left hand because I'm right handed, so I keep it in my left pocket. I use my keys with my right hand, so they stay in my right pocket. Up until I got my first cell phone small enough to fit in a pocket comfortably, my left pockets (both front and rear) remained unused.

      • How do you keep your keys from scratching your smartphone?

        If your phone is new and probably made with Gorilla glass, it won't scratch it. I tried scratching my old Samsung Galaxy S2 with a key, screwdriver and a knife and found out I was duped into buying those screen protectors.

  • The Internet of People!

    After all, if Cloud Computing is just Client/Server with a new shiny, and the Internet of Things is just like the old "stuff connected via the internet", maybe someone will give ME a couple of hundred million.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 15, 2014 @11:25AM (#47678603)

    Between this and the Oculus I just really don't feel like I feel sound in Kickstarting any sort of hardware these days. The reason I kickstart a project is so someone can get their idea to market without having to sell out to a large corporation. Certainly not to fund the R&D phase so a big multinational can waltz in and scoop up a finished product.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LabRatty (96497)
      OR delivered exactly what they said they would, and only a couple of months late which is good going for something 10x oversubscribed. These muppets are still failing to deliver items to many backers 2 years later. Not really in the same category. Additionally, if you think any hardware startup capabable of a global market is not going to get bought out soon after early development that is somewhat naive. On top of that OR had already pulled in 75-90 million or so of VC and would have needed to get 2-3 ti
      • by jrumney (197329)
        If they're making hardware, they need to get bought out to fund the supply chain if they're going to be selling in quantity. In the traditional funding model, the early investors in a company are well rewarded for their backing when something like this happens. In the kickstarter model, they're lucky if they get a sample of the product 2 years late.
    • by Solandri (704621) on Friday August 15, 2014 @12:22PM (#47679129)
      This is the problem I have with the current crowdfunding options like Kickstarter. All the risks of providing venture capital, none of the benefits. They're being pitched as if you're pre-buying a product the company will make once it receives enough funding. But really what you're doing is providing them venture capital [wikipedia.org]. Normally when you provide venture capital, you get partial ownership of the company. (Not all kickstarters work this way - e.g. artists who agree to draw pictures for funding. But as you point out, the companies pitching hardware do.)

      I'd really like to see a crowdfunding site which takes venture capital out of the realm of multi-millionaires, and puts it within reach of the common person. People complain that the rich just keep getting richer. Well, judiciously investing venture capital is one of the ways they do that. The nature of the business is that startup companies aren't gonna waste their time on you waving around your $20 investment, while someone with a $2 million bankroll will be wined and dined. Crowdfunding could really change this IMHO. Startups may not care about your $20 investment, but a hundred thousand people wanting to invest $20 each and they'll be interested. At least it'll be a helluva lot more productive than getting low- and middle-income people to play the lottery. (The low- to middle-income folks currently unable to provide venture capital are frequently the customers of the products it produces. So they should on average pick good product ideas, making it positive sum, whereas lotteries are zero or negative sum.)
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Mod parent up! I'm starting to see real problems with this crowdfunding model.

        One of the reasons people were so pissed at OR was that if the crowdfundies (crowdfunders? I dunno) had the same benefits as a typical investor (percentage of stock, etc) then the sale to FB would have made them all a little bit of money. Instead, they got a t-shirt. All the risk, none of the reward.

      • by gnupun (752725)

        I'd really like to see a crowdfunding site which takes venture capital out of the realm of multi-millionaires, and puts it within reach of the common person.

        They obviously could do it, but they won't. They rather prefer the common person stay common, and not rich.

      • by dbc (135354) on Friday August 15, 2014 @01:57PM (#47680183)

        Who modded this insightful? Geez.. here are some clues:

        #1: Sorry, when you risk what amounts to lunch money, that is not the same as venture capital risk. Nobody cares about lunch money. Somebody still cares about the $2 million round A money going down the toilet. VC's are judged on performance across a portfolio.

        #2: Kickstarter isn't venture capital. You are promised a product, not a piece of the company. Get over it.

        #3: Startups don't wine and dine anybody. They shamelessly beg with their hand out. VC's buy the would-be founders cheap lunch, literally, while they listen to the pitch, if you get that far.

        #4: You have no idea what the rules and regulations are around "qualified investors". Legally, having more than 30 or so investors is a nightmare that no start-up can manage and still get work done. No startup can afford enough lawyers to do the SEC work needed to have more than a few "qualified investors".

        #5: Kickstarter money is not the same as VC money because VC money comes with advice and connections. A VC needs to bring more than "dumb money" to be useful to a startup. Your $20 is worse that VC "dumb money". It is clueless money with wildly distorted expectations.

        Kickstarter has changed the VC model, but not the way you think. Kickstarter is the new test market. It is how you show the VCs that your idea has traction, and to get the idea out in front of people to get it noticed. A successful kickstarter is the way you get somebody on Sandhill Road to buy you a sandwich while you pitch.

        So the fact that you are disappointed that you didn't get a piece of the company for your lunch money that you spent shows that you really, really, don't undertand Kickstarter's place in the world. Your $20 is just you at the mall taking the "Pepsi Challenge". Your $20 is a market research data point. Which I, personally, find very motivational and empowering. Kickstarter is filled with ideas that I find exciting, and that I would really like to see happen. By pitching in $20, it is a way to show the people with enough money to make it really happen that it is something that I would like to see happen. That is your role as a Kickstarter patron. You are cheering for your team. Anything else you get out of it (like a product delivered only a few months late) is entertainment.

        You want to be a VC? Do it the old fasioned way. Launch a successful startup, then take a few million of your own dollars and several million more dollars from some insurance companies, and use the expertise and contacts that you aquired doing your own start-up and help other people do the same thing. Oh... you haven't done a successful start up of your own yet? Luckily, you can still *drive* on Sand Hill Road, even if no one will give you an office there.

        Actually, every VC I have ever met (and I've met a lot) has been very friendly, listens very well, and is extremely engaged in learning. But... they don't waste any time on the clueless. The best way to get a VC's interest and hold it is to teach them something they didn't know before. You need to learn the realities of the VC business before you start thinking you are ready to participate.

      • I'd really like to see a crowdfunding site which takes venture capital out of the realm of multi-millionaires, and puts it within reach of the common person.

        It's a great idea but don't try it in the USA - the SEC specifically forbids this.

        People complain that the rich just keep getting richer.

        Right, that's the desired outcome of the SEC.

        At least it'll be a helluva lot more productive than getting low- and middle-income people to play the lottery.

        Those are designed to make the poor poorer whist enriching th

      • The issue I think with crowdsourcing where the contributors were investors is that it complicates everything. It isn't easy to legally sell investments in privately held companies to those who aren't "accredited investors". http://www.sec.gov/answers/acc... [sec.gov] I
      • by jrumney (197329)
        I'm not positive, but I think SEC regulations intended to protect old grannies' pensions from high risk schemes get in the way of what you are asking for. To make high risk venture capital investments you need to be an institutional investor or high net worth individual with experience in the field. Kickstarter avoids being an investment to get around this. Kickstarter makes sense for startups that never intend to grow beyond serving a hobbyist community, individual artists, craftsmen or engineers and the
  • Great (Score:4, Funny)

    by Frankie70 (803801) on Friday August 15, 2014 @11:56AM (#47678897)

    So are all the people who funded this company through Kickstarter going to get a cash share or just part of the stock?

    • by braden87 (3027453)
      Kickstarter is not an investment platform. It's a donation platform.
      • by gnupun (752725)
        You mean ripoff platform. It's certainly not donation... they should own a percentage of the company just like angel investors who give seed capital.
    • by neo-mkrey (948389)
      HAHAHAHA!! Thank you for providing me with my biggest laugh of the day.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      So are all the people who funded this company through Kickstarter going to get a cash share or just part of the stock?

      They receive neither. The inventors receive $200 million dollars and the initial Kickstart investors will receive a coupon.

  • Is it pure risk for the backers? e.g. if they make a product, they get something they bought, but if the product flops, they loose their money.
    And now if the product makes a fortune, they only get their product they bought.
    In other words, is kickstarter just a pre-order sales website?

    • by mcmonkey (96054)

      Is it pure risk for the backers? e.g. if they make a product, they get something they bought, but if the product flops, they loose their money.
      And now if the product makes a fortune, they only get their product they bought.
      In other words, is kickstarter just a pre-order sales website?

      It's zero risk for the kickstarter backers. There is zero chance they will lose more than they pledged through kickstarter.

      Product? They didn't buy any product. Kickstarter has been quite clear, it is not a pre-order service. Anything offered in return for a kickstarter pledge is essentially a thank-you gift. Like all gifts, you're shouldn't demand one or complain when you don't get one.

      If a kickstarter campaign fails (that is, raises the requested funds, but never manages to complete the product), the

  • If the SmartThings people have class, they'll take a small portion of their windfall and pay back every Kickstarter donor 150%, or maybe 200%.

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