Otto showed the world his digital lock in August. Four months later, the company suspended its activities. The material is hard. It's a cliché for a reason.
The company made the decision just before the holidays, a fact that founder and CEO Sam Jadallah recently made public with a long post average now pinned at the top of the startup's site. The thorough investigation into the Bay Area company's short life is punctuated by the pithy title, "So Close", a nod to the spitting distance that the startup has come to put a product on the market.
During a conversation over the weekend, Jadallah told TechCrunch that the company's lock had made it up to the manufacturing process and that He was currently in a warehouse, unable to be sold by a hardware start-up in operation. How does a company get so close to the finish line without being able to take the last step?
The executive exposes a lot in his own explanatory – a post that he sees as a kind of warning against the volatility of the valley. The long and short, it is that the company was about to be acquired by someone who had a lot more resources and experience in placing it on the market of a product, but that the carpet had apparently been removed at the last minute.
"You are not responsible for your own destiny, and the margin of error is much smaller," Jadallah told TechCrunch. "Building a really exciting hardware product requires a ton of resources, and is probably the best in a big business." Frankly, that's part of the reason I was excited about the acquisition. we would come out of the cyclical venture capital market and put us in a company that knew how to make and ship products. "
The executive does not name the interested party during the appeal, but Otto has almost certainly been optimized by the recent acquisition of August Home by Assa Abloy, the most big lock manufacturer in the world. Great players do not doubt that there is plenty of room to grow in space, and the category of the connected home shows no apparent sign of slowing down. NPD has announced a 43% growth in smart home sales in 2017. Security is a big part of this puzzle, but there is still a lot to unlock on this front.
Otto thought he had found the key, although the product of the company was pushed back enough to launch. Of course, he followed in Nest's footsteps and brought some ex-Apple employees aboard for the creation of what is, in all respects, a pretty door lock. But even at the age of the $ 1,000 iPhone, a $ 699 smart lock is a hard pill to swallow. If the smart lock is still looking for its dominant moment, will a flagship device at the price of a phone really be the product that will put it to the test?
Jadallah certainly believed, as apparently, the anonymous company that came a few days after the acquisition of Otto. And while buyers have apparently never given any reason for their decision to withdraw, the leader says that the price of the product has never been a concern.
"They knew the price before the first meeting, and they are very intelligent people," he says. "This is not the story of an ambitious product that had no market.I was convinced that we had set the price of the good way for the product, and we knew that the technology we had innovated was something we could use in different ways at other prices. "
Indeed, he adds in a follow-up email, the purchaser was apparently convinced that he could sell the product even more in some markets. Of course, all this is a bit debatable now. While what's left of society is trying to figure out what to do with all those smart locks that populate a warehouse somewhere, there is currently no one to sell them.
The seemingly imminent acquisition meant that the company had no plan B. "The life of the startup is a binary thing," says Jadallah. "Moving from what could be an incredible level to a low level in a few hours is what we do."
Earlier this month, the company's Facebook page continued to promote the product by referring to the new movie Star Wars in a video asking users to "Unlock the dark side ". later, another startup has, for most intents, become dark.