One of the hottest connected home startups Nest, purchased earlier this year for $3.2 Billion by Google, will be arriving in France, Belgium, The Netherlands & Ireland this month, the company announced via blog post this weekend. The official announcement came just hours after it was announced at the Berlin consumer electronics event IFA.
Nest has partnered with strategic energy providers in 3 of the 4 countries – Direct Energie in France, Lampiris in Belgium and Essent in The Netherlands, according to CNET. The partnerships should allow them to reach end-users more quickly, boosting the brand that the US, UK & Canada have had access to for more than a year.
While sales figures on Nest are unavailable, the company recalled this past May 440,000 Nest Protect (their connected smoke alarm) after claims that their feature which allowed alarms to be turned off could prove hazardous during emergencies. With strong figures like that, plus the quoted figure that they had sold roughly 1 Million thermostats at the time of acquisition in January, the boosted distribution and visibility provided by Google should propel them into a strong position in Europe.
Germany is left conspicuously out
Of course, when you think “Who’s going to have a huge problem with Google in every household,” you think Germany, the country that outlawed Google Maps Streetview for privacy reasons. If a photo of your lawn is out of bounds, then I have to imagine that knowing when you’re home, your energy consumption habits, and being an intermediary between you and a fire department in case of accidents (although Protect has not been announced in Europe yet), has got to be a sensitive subject.
The company’s recent acquisition of video monitoring and security startup DropCam will also push the limits of how much one technology company knows about our offline lives.
Competition in France
After releasing its smart thermostat last September, Netatmo made a bold, implicit statement that the company would take on Nest when they came to Europe. This competition was solidified last year at LeWeb, where Tony Fadell & Netatmo founder Fred Potter exchanged words about Nest’s arrival in France – “Good luck.” Fadell said.
“Not a surprise nest comes to france. Our product is available already and very well distributed. We love competition : it makes the market grow…” – Netatmo founder, Fred Potter
Netatmo raised €4.5 Million last year from investors including Fadell’s former colleague, Apple’s former GM EMEA Pascal Cagni, and their suite of products – a UV-sensor bracelet, a weather station, and an accompanying smartphone app – mean that they won’t be taking this lying down.
In addition, Nantes-based Qivivo also announced a 450K€ seed round of funding last week for its smart thermostat – the startup counts former Withings CMO Minh Le among the founding team members.