Ring’s new CEO Liz Hamren announced in an email to employees today that founder Jamie Siminoff is leaving the video doorbell company and Amazon altogether. Siminoff says he founded Ring after looking for a way to answer his door from his smartphone while tinkering in his garage, and then Amazon reportedly paid more than $1 billion to acquire the company in 2018, adding it to a growing suite of smart home security products.
When Siminoff announced in March that Hamren would take over for him as CEO of Ring, he said, “I decided to shift my role to Chief Inventor,” but today’s message from Hamren explains that “Jamie is leaving Amazon to pursue a new opportunity” while saying the company’s focus hasn’t changed. Hamren previously worked on products including Oculus and Xbox and was the COO of Discord.
Amazon spokesperson Yassi Yarger confirmed Siminoff’s departure, saying, “Jamie has been an incredible founder and inventor, building a product that is now used by customers across the world. He has also been a great colleague since Amazon and Ring came together back in 2018 — we thank him for his many contributions, and wish him the very best for the future.”
In his own statement, Siminoff writes:
I’ve had an incredible 10 years at Ring, and five years with Amazon. What started as just a quick weekend project to allow me to see who was at my door while working from my garage has become a household name brand
at one of the world’s most innovative companies. Ring has changed the way neighbors think about security for the better, and I cannot think of a better place than Amazon for Ring to continue its mission. I look forward to cheering the team on in the future.
Ring went from being rejected on Shark Tank in 2013 to becoming the market leader for video doorbells by a wide margin. Along the way, controversial moves have included Ring’s work with police departments, which included using LA cops as brand ambassadors and coaching police departments on how to request footage without a warrant. Siminoff told us on The Vergecast that he wanted to help reduce neighborhood crime; however, an NBC News investigation in 2020 found many departments couldn’t attribute crimes being solved to their partnerships with Ring.
A 2019 report said employees shared unencrypted videos from customer cameras. In 2020 Ring said it had fired four people for abusing access to customer videos, it’s since added support for end-to-end encryption, and its newest indoor camera has a privacy shutter on the front.