VentureBeat had a scoop this week about smart night light/security company Leeo laying off a big chunk of employees. The original piece had layoffs at half, but in confirming the layoffs Leeo put the number at 30%.
It's always shocking to see these types of layoffs so soon after a funding round - the company raised $37 million nine months ago - but it probably is a sign of both over-hiring and tepid demand for a company that has had to pull double-duty of both creating end-user awareness for its brand as well as educating potential customers about a fairly new approach to home security alerting.
This isn't a problem unique to Leeo. It's part of the reason why, as I wrote here, we will are beginning to see a market shakeout among smart home startups, for which Leeo is now exhibit A.
Some have suggested the overall category for smart home has underperformed or is seeing dropping demand. I don't think that's the case for straightforward categories like smart lighting, locks or connected cameras. My discussions with the channel, service providers, product companies and retailers show rising demand.
But for those companies with new approaches to old problems facing large incumbents - like Leeo - it's an an uphill battle all the way. You have to hunker down and be judicious about your resources, while letting big tech companies and service providers help do the expensive job of building market awareness, a lesson that Leeo has apparently learned.
Subscribe to the Smart Home Weekly newsletter to get it in your inbox.
Check out the Smart Kitchen Summit, NextMarket's first event and one and only event about the future of the connected kitchen.