Even as a kid, Jamie Siminoff was always tinkering in his garage and building things. He knew he’d invent something useful someday, he just wasn’t sure what. At Babson College he studied entrepreneurship, which taught him to challenge the status quo. It was a place where he was surrounded by like-minded people, where faculty created a “greenhouse” for budding entrepreneurs. It’s there that he won a business planning competition and began writing business plans for others. Little did he know how much he’d need that experience later on.
After graduation, he found himself back in the garage, building things with varying success. Frustrated that he was unable to answer the doorbell without being interrupted on his latest gadget, he decided to build a doorbell with a video that could be viewed on a user’s phone—a tool he was surprised didn’t already exist. The idea for DoorBot (which later became the Ring Video Doorbell) was born in 2011. He just needed a way to build the product and get people to invest.
Siminoff was chosen to pitch his product on the television show Shark Tank. The sharks famously didn’t bite, but the forum gave DoorBot a boost in credibility and awareness, and Siminoff began attracting more investors, including Richard Branson, Shaquille O’Neal, Goldman Sachs, and Qualcomm Ventures. Today, Siminoff’s business is thriving, with more than 2,000 employees. Siminoff is coming off of a more than 1 billion USD Amazon acquisition of his company.
For Siminoff, the company’s mission—to make neighborhoods safer—is the strongest motivator spurring him to innovate faster for his customers, who feel safe and empowered when they use his product. Ring is deeply committed to helping make entire communities safer. In 2015, Ring partnered with the Los Angeles Police Department on a pilot project. In the neighborhood where Ring Video Doorbells were installed there was a 55 percent decrease in home break-ins, even though only 10 percent of homes in the neighborhood had the device installed.
Siminoff goes back to Babson regularly to be a featured speaker and to mentor young entrepreneurs, inspiring them to build new companies and continue to challenge the status quo like he did. But his best advice to students is to do what they love. Although Siminoff has seen many different routes to success, he tells young entrepreneurs that the most important thing is to follow their passion.
Although Siminoff returned to Shark Tank as a guest judge, his participation in a similar challenge at Babson in September 2019 was even more meaningful, bringing his education and real-world experience full circle. During the Babson ePitch: Second Century Challenge, nearly 80 startups within the Babson community applied. Twelve semifinalists were named, with three finalists chosen to compete for more than 100,000 USD. It was Babson’s biggest pitch competition yet, and Siminoff’s presence, advice, and insight made it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for those competing.