This week Google acquired Nest Labs (creators of connected thermostats and smoke detectors) for $3.2 billion. Google said that it is “excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries.” Earlier this month Nest raised $150 million in a new round of financing at a $2 billion valuation.
According to some estimates, Nest is shipping 40,000 to 50,000 learning thermostats per month, so there’s that.
What jumped out at me (a user of both Next products, mind you) about the acquisition was that $3.2 billion sounds like a big number for a startup with two products. Then I read about the 100 ex-Apple employees Google got as part of the deal, and it started to make sense.
Nest co-founder Tony Fadell is widely considered to the “father of the iPod” having overseen 18 generations of the ubiquitous device during his Apple tenure. Fadell started working for Apple February 2001 as a contractor designing the iPod and planning Apple’s audio product strategy. He eventually became Senior Vice President of the iPod Division succeeding Jon Rubinstein in 2006.
According to a piece by Christopher Mims for Quartz, Nest has wooed at least 100 people from Apple, according to a search of LinkedIn. So there you have it, Google might have been just as interested in the talent as it was in the products that Nest produces.