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Since Brian Bloch’s arrival as general counsel in 2016, SimpliSafe has redesigned its entire suite of home security solutions to include doubled sensor range, sound detection that can tell the difference between broken windows and broken plates, and a new video doorbell and lock on the way.
“We beta test and sometimes re-beta test everything to make sure it’s ready for prime time,” says Bloch, whose entrepreneurial spirit led him to seek out roles where legal is seen as an enabler of technology and business. His previous position had been at SharkNinja, where consumer products were front and center. “SimpliSafe is an exciting, frenetic, high-growth, challenging place to continue to come to work every day.”
As general counsel of a lean legal team, Bloch leverages his entrepreneurially infused background to keep legal at SimpliSafe hungry, proactive, and finding innovative ways to build runway for growth.
The general counsel represented SimpliSafe’s first internal legal hire, and in that role, it has been important to maintain the best parts of the company culture while working to define a clear identity of the legal department. “I think there was concern in bringing in a legal presence that would somehow take away from the company’s ability to be nimble and entrepreneurial,” he admits. “It was my goal to make sure that this wasn’t going to put a dampener on that spirit.”
Bloch says company culture at SimpliSafe was one of the main incentives in taking the general counsel role. “Everyone is a contributor and a doer because there aren’t a lot of middle management layers here,” Bloch explains. “We have a saying that we all do floors and windows here.”
“SimpliSafe is an exciting, frenetic, high-growth, challenging place to continue to come to work every day.”
The internal growth of SimpliSafe’s headcount has provided a lot more demands of Bloch’s team. The addition of more engineers as well as marketers has meant that SimpliSafe’s capacity for more products and services has grown while legal numbers have remained steady.
Bloch says that in building the legal team, it requires professionals who do more than give lip service to the company’s agile and motivated spirit. “That entrepreneurial spirit is really in our bones so we can be an army of internal ambassadors,” he says. As SimpliSafe continues to expand into new countries and introduce new products to its line, the GC says he and his team do whatever it takes to support the business and continue the company’s impressive growth.
“Our international expansion means there are different laws and regulations to learn by the book,” Bloch says. “There’s a lot of work to make sure the company is getting the support that it needs as we’re looking into other markets.”
SimpliSafe’s continually widening offering of products and services ensures legal always has its hands full. “For a company that’s quickly changing what’s it doing, we need to adapt,” the general counsel says. “As we become better connected to our customers, there are continually expanding privacy and information implications that need to be accounted for. Those differ from country to country and sometimes from state to state, and it’s incumbent on us to make sure we’re meeting all these requirements.”
As a small legal team, operating nimbly is an absolute essential. Bloch prides his team on understanding the company from the inside out. “That requires you to know the company, the products, and the details of the marketing campaigns,” Bloch says. “You have to be in tune with the business as well as your other internal clients.”
SimpliSafe’s two biggest competitors were acquired by Google and Amazon, which has changed the competitive landscape of the business and industry alike. Bloch remains confident in SimpliSafe’s near-term and long-term prospects. “We’re a company with great products that competes well,” he says, “and we have a fantastic team that will continue to innovate.”
“We’re a company with great products that competes well, and we have a fantastic team that will continue to innovate.”
The company’s competitive advantage is clear: its products are designed to be simple and easy to use. But don’t confuse “easy to use” with “less sophisticated.”
“It’s easy to add scores of features to a product,” Bloch explains. “We take an unbelievable amount of discretion and attention to detail and make deliberate design choices to ensure our products offer all of the capabilities and features needed to meet consumers’ expectations and the requirements of a first-rate security system, without overwhelming the customer with complex settings or instructions.”
Ease of use is key, and Bloch says the company’s entire line of products can move from location to location, if necessary, with little to no fuss. “We do all of this without locking customers into multiyear contracts,” he says. “We’re not drilling into their walls.”
The company is uniquely poised to continue to expand while being able to maintain a level of customer care that is second-to-none. “We often speak to our customers on the worst day of their lives, and that is never lost on us,” Bloch says. “Our job is to keep our customers safe and secure, and we will continue to develop potentially life-saving services and products.”
Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C.: “It is an absolute pleasure to work with Brian. He has an incredible ability to zero in on important issues, elicit needed feedback and recommendations, and provide clear directives for action. As outside counsel, Brian allows us to work effectively and efficiently to protect SimpliSafe’s critical IP.” —Bob Hunt, Shareholder