Babson alum raises $28 million for a smart doorbell

A demonstration of the Ring smartphone app's screen.
A demonstration of the Ring smartphone app's screen.

If you’re a normal person, you don’t think about your doorbell much. But one man did, and he’s raised millions of dollars to improve an age-old technology and sell it to the masses.

Ring, an Internet-connected doorbell that doubles as mini-home security system, has raised $28 million in its Series B funding round. Ring, based in Santa Monica, Calif., is led by Babson College alumnus James Siminoff, and plans to use to funds to expand the company and sales.

When someone pushes a Ring doorbell, the owner gets a notification on his or her phone and can stream video from a small camera that sits just above the button, whether or not the owner is at home. The device also has a motion detector that can scan a homeowner’s front yard and alert the owner to movement, helping the company pitch it as something approaching a home security system.

The company touted some high-profile investors, including Virgin founder Richard Branson, American Family Insurance, and Shea Ventures, the investment arm of construction firm J.F. Shea Co.

J.F. Shea was co-founded by the late Edmund Shea, an MIT engineering graduate and venture capitalist whose family recently helped establish an entrepreneurship center at Boston College in Shea’s name.

A spokeswoman for Ring wouldn’t disclose its sales or the value of the company, but said in a press release that sales grew “significantly” this year. A Ring system costs $199 and is available at several major retailers, including Best Buy, Lowe’s, and Target. Users also can pay $3 a month to store video from the doorbell camera on the cloud.

Updated 11:55 a.m. with more detail on Shea Ventures and Edmund Shea.