IPod godfather builds new Nest in Silicon Valley

Wed Oct 26, 2011 10:43am EDT
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By Alistair Barr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Tony Fadell, known as the godfather of the iPod, has made a new gadget with the help of a small army of engineers and designers from Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote) and other tech giants including Google Inc (GOOG.O: Quote) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote).

Instead of the next hot digital media device, Fadell on Tuesday unveiled a new thermostat designed by Nest Labs, a company he started in 2010 with former iPhone software manager Matt Rogers.

Thermostats aren't an obvious market for a former Apple designer to tackle. But Fadell thinks there will be demand for a device that is cool and often sits in prominent areas of people's homes.

"We want to treat these devices as desirable consumer electronics," Fadell said. "Dyson made vacuums sexy."

Some of the largest venture capital investors in Silicon Valley agree. Nest counts Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Google Ventures and Shasta Ventures among its investors.

Fadell said the investment was "significant" but declined to be more specific.


Several top engineers left big tech companies to join Nest.   Continued...