Ecobee acquired by generator company Generac for $770 million

Generac Holdings has acquired Ecobee, a Toronto-based startup for smart home thermostats, for $770 million. The acquisition was announced Monday by the companies.
The acquisition is expected close in the fourth trimester. The Verge was informed by Stuart Lombard, Ecobee founder and CEO. The company will continue to operate under the Generac umbrella. Lombard stated that the company has no plans of moving out of its Toronto office, and plans to increase the size of the office in the coming year.

Ecobee was established in 2007. It has since expanded beyond the smart thermostats it is best known for and added a voice-controlled camera to its product line. This home security camera doubles as a home alarm system. Generac, which is based in Waukesha in Wisconsin, makes backup residential and commercial generators. The New York Times recently reported that Generac accounts for 75% of all home generator sales in America. Generac opened a new facility in Trenton, South Carolina, last month.

Ecobee faces competition from well-known brands such as Google and Amazon in smart thermostat market

Ecobee has not released a new thermostat in over a year and there are many other smart thermostat companies. These include well-known brands like Honeywell and Google's Nest (owned by Resideo), which are now cheaper than Ecobee, and newcomers such as Amazon, who just announced a $60 smart home thermostat. Ecobees strength has been its flexibility in using various smart home platforms. However, it doesn't have the same resources as larger competitors. It canceled plans to develop smart lighting products last year and laid off 10 per cent of its employees.

Generac has also bought several smaller companies in the last year and a quarter, including Enbala Power Technologies, Pika Energy and Neurio Technologies, which were then combined into an energy storage division.

Generac's president and CEO, Aaron Jagdfeld, stated that Ecobee was an important addition to their residential energy technology offerings. We can combine Ecobee's cutting-edge technology with Generacs energy storage, power generation and energy management devices to create a clean and reliable home energy ecosystem. This will help homeowners save money and also help grid operators deal with the enormous stresses of an electric grid.