Nest co-founder Matt Rogers to leave Google

A day after Google said it's bringing the smart home company back under its control, the Nest co-founder says he's departing.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva
3 min read
Nest co-founder Matt Rogers

Nest co-founder Matt Rogers is leaving the company.

James Martin/CNET

Nest co-founder Matt Rogers says he's leaving the maker of smart home gadgets. 

The move comes a day after Google's parent Alphabet said it was reuniting Nest with Google. The search giant said the move was aimed at infusing more of Google's machine learning and artificial intelligence technology into Nest's product line, which includes a smart thermostat and smoke detector.

Rogers will stay on the through the transition, but after that, he'll depart to devote more time to Incite.org, a venture firm and lab he co-founded. 

Here's his statement: 

After almost nine incredible, intense years working to build Nest, I've decided to begin my transition to dedicate more of my time to Incite.org, as well as to start thinking about the next adventure. In the coming months, I'll be working closely with Google's Hardware leads to define the 2019 roadmap and to ensure a smooth integration of Nest into Google's Hardware group. 

Nest has been an amazing journey and the honor of my career to build. Together with the Nest team and our partners, we've helped save over 19 billion kWh of energy, helped save a number of lives -- both human and pets -- with Nest Protect, and helped families feel more safe at home with Nest Secure and Nest Cam. And along the way, we managed to build the leading brand in the connected home space. I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished and can't wait to see what's next for Nest.

Rogers, Nest's chief product officer, co-founded the company in 2011 with former CEO Tony Fadell, after leaving Apple the year before. The two played key roles in the development of the iPod. Rogers was also one of the first engineers of the original iPhone and iPad. 

The departure of Rogers, Nest's last remaining co-founder, marks the close of a chapter for the company. Google bought the buzzy startup in 2014 for $3 billion, in an effort to bring more hardware chops to the search giant. But Nest's tenure there has been rocky. Fadell left the company in 2016 after much turmoil and public drama. For example, he feuded with Greg Duffy, CEO of Dropcam, the smart camera company Nest bought later that year. After Duffy left Nest, he called his decision to sell the company a "mistake."

Fadell was replaced with Marwan Fawaz, a former Motorola executive. On Wednesday, Alphabet said it was reuniting Nest with Google, after three years of Nest being a semi-independent unit. As part of the change, Fawaz will now report to Rick Osterloh, the head of Google's hardware division, responsible for all the company's consumer devices, including the Google Home smart speaker and Pixel smartphones. 

Rogers on Thursday said he'll be focusing on Incite, an investing organization that has three arms, each of which focuses on a different area. Incite Ventures is a fund that backs "mission-driven enterprises;" Incite Labs is a nonprofit that extends grants for charitable, educational and scientific purposes; and Incite Politics organizes and supports "initiatives to pass legislation and elect candidates who approach our country's issues from a fresh perspective."

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