Internet of Things company Ring best known for its smart doorbells is nearing the status of a full-fledged "unicorn," a startup with a valuation north of $1 billion, The Information reported Tuesday, citing investors who claim the firm is now planning a series E funding round. Ring last raised funds exactly a year ago when six investors led by Qualcomm Ventures, Goldman Sachs, and DFJ Growth injected $109 million into the company at a $445 million valuation. The next round of financing is said to double that figure, putting the estimated worth of Ring at $980 million. To date, the Sancta Monica, California-based firm raised $209 million in total and expanded beyond Internet-enabled doorbells to more comprehensive smart home security offerings and package tracking solutions, both of which it described as natural extensions of its core business. Ring is also planning to offer an alternative solution to Amazon's Key service which offers in-house delivery but one that it aims to make significantly less invasive, according to recent reports.
Ring is said to be growing at a steady pace that's making investors optimistic but faces increasingly stronger competition in the IoT segment. Earlier this month, its founder and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Siminoff publicly criticized Alphabet's Nest by claiming the company is directly copying Ring's products in an "embarrassing" manner. Google's former subsidiary hasn't responded to those allegations. Despite going against much larger rivals, Ring is believed to have doubled its 2017 revenue, one insider claims. Previous reports suggested its 2016 income amounted to approximately $155 million. The startup still isn't profitable but is expected to pull itself in the black in the near future, multiple sources believe. Should the firm be acquired by mid-2019, its series E investors will receive double what they now pay for its shares, as per the reported conditions of the deal. M&A clauses are standard practice in the venture capital segment and their existence doesn't necessarily imply the startup that agreed to them is expecting to be acquired in the near term.
The series E funding round should allow the company to raise in excess of $160.5 million, with Ring reportedly approving the sale of 15.6 million shares priced at just under $10.29. Some of the old investors will once again contribute to the financing but it's currently unclear how many new ones will join the round, though multiple such backers certainly will, insiders claim. The exact timing of the funding's conclusion depends on some pending lawsuits, including the one home security company ADT filed against Ring in mid-2017, alleging intellectual property theft facilitated by Ring's decision to hire some employees of smart home startup Zonoff which was backed by the plaintiff before going out of business. Reports from earlier this month claim Ring settled for $25 million but no official confirmation has yet been provided.