Nest co-founder and Chief Product Officer Matt Rogers is set to depart Google after overseeing the transitional period of the newly announced reunion with the Alphabet-owned company, the entrepreneur said Thursday. Mr. Rogers will stay with the firm long enough to ensure its seamless integration into Google's Hardware unit led by Rick Osterloh, with his main focus being fully defining a product roadmap for 2019. The engineer said the decision was prompted by his desire to dedicate more time to Incite Ventures, a venture capital firm specializing in backing seed and series A-stage startups. Mr. Rogers hasn't clarified his upcoming departure from Google any further, though he implied the decision was made on his own without external pressure.
With his exit, Nest is now set to be left without the guidance of both of its co-founders, with Tony Fadell already leaving the company in mid-2016 following the firm's first restructuring that saw it spun off from Google into an independent unit under Alphabet's corporate umbrella. Originally founded in 2010 after Mr. Fadell and Mr. Rogers. left Apple where they contributed to the invention of the iPod, Nest was sold to Google in early 2014 for $3.2 billion and remains the tech giant's second largest acquisition to date. The startup already started diversifying outside of the smart thermostat market before joining the Mountain View, California-based Internet juggernaut and continued those efforts even as Google struggled to integrate it into its operations. The online search provider reportedly even considered the idea of offloading Nest in the first half of 2016 when the company was rumored to be "on deathwatch" amid cost-cutting efforts.
Google said it's now bringing Nest back into its hardware division in order to do a better job at integrating its machine learning and general artificial intelligence technologies into its Internet of Things products, but the second major restructuring in a span of a year and a half is indicative of a weak long-term strategy, some industry watchers argue. Nest is presently preparing to enter the smart doorbell market with the Nest Hello scheduled to be commercialized in the second half of February, priced at $299 in the U.S.