Jared Newman over at Fast Company wrote a great article about home security companies, but its especially noteworthy because it highlights some of the specific edges that small startups have over industry giants. It’s by no means easy to compete with the likes of Amazon and Google, but even with tons of capital and data, there may still be some weak points.
When it comes to home security, Google’s Nest (formerly Dropcam) and Amazon’s Ring stand out as major players. How is a small company to compete?
“What we do is we wake up every day thinking about security, and how we change those outcomes, and how we create a better value proposition in security,” says [SimpliSafe CEO Chad Laurans]. “I strongly suspect those folks don’t wake up every day thinking about that. They wake up thinking about how they monetize data.”
Singular focus. This is a classic advantage, but a small company has agility and often a simple, clear vision of success.
An issue specific to these larger tech companies is that they aren’t just trying to provide you their specific product or service. They also trying to get data from their users, both to sell to them, bet also to monetize the data itself. Google’s model is not reliant on making money as a successful security system.
Take Facebook for example. It is always trying to to be a successful product and keep users active, but it has to balance this with advertisements and paid content, optimizing to the best of its ability. Small companies don’t have to make that trade off. When it comes to a home security startup, if customers buy the hardware, that’s a success.
On that note — hardware aint easy, especially for things like smart locks.
“Locks are a surprisingly difficult thing to do well,” Huddart says. “If the mechanical part of the lock is no good, you open up a vulnerability to your home. I think experience does count a lot in a category like locks.”
Success for smaller companies is existential. They are really going to fight to find a place in the market.