I just purchased my Rachio 3 this week. I was previously a Skydrop user, and while it had its quirks it was good enough for me not to look elsewhere. Recently however, they made some changes that were extremely uninviting to their customers. They recently sent out a more transparent email as to why the changes were made that I’m posting here in the hope that Rachio doesn’t make the same mistakes. FWIW, their auto-watering algorithms aren’t all they’re cracked up to be as they claim in this message.
A few weeks ago, we introduced Skydrop Plus, a subscription service to provide additional features and better-quality weather data to all Skydrop customers. We anticipated and have received plenty of push-back. If nothing else, we learned Skydrop Nation is extremely passionate. Your feedback helped us realize that complete transparency is the best approach. We would like to be more forthcoming about the situation for Skydrop, its continuing operation, and the compulsory nature of the Skydrop Plus subscription.
In 2014, our founders set out to create the best smart sprinkler controller on the market and help the world save one of our most precious resources — water. After 5 years, we believe we have achieved part of that goal. We feel strongly that the Skydrop Smart Watering algorithm is the best available. Although all products have their strengths and weaknesses, we believe Halo and Arc are “best of breed” as evidenced by thousands and thousands of happy customers. Unfortunately, a great product alone doesn’t make a business. Despite great efforts from many individuals, we were not able to secure the right funding to grow Skydrop to the point where we could revolutionize the irrigation market as we intended.
At the end of 2018 and after exhausting all options, Skydrop ownership made the difficult decision to discontinue operations. The immediate concern was for the many loyal customers that would see their smart controllers reduced to being dumb traditional timers when the Skydrop Cloud ceased operating. A few of the passionate (former) employees wanted to find a way to maintain the Skydrop Cloud and determine a path forward so that customers could continue using the devices and services they have enjoyed. The owners agreed to allow us to at least maintain the cloud services and retain a single full-time customer support employee.
For the last several months, as we have transitioned to positions at new companies, we have volunteered our time and personal resources to keep the cloud services up and available. Of course, this is not a long-term solution. We need to get Skydrop onto reasonable financial footing so it can either be acquired or continue operations with a few full- or part-time employees. Our options were: 1) increase sales (hard to do with no sales or marketing team); 2) ask the existing customers to pay a minimal fee to support the continuing availability of the cloud services or 3) shut down the cloud services immediately.
We sincerely apologize for this unwelcome news. Our hope is that our customers will see the value in the service and be willing to contribute to the ongoing costs of the system. We’ve also decided to disable, for now, the option to pay the yearly fee with an in-app purchase. We want to avoid the situation where the company accepts money for services they are unable to deliver.
Thank you for your passion and support of Skydrop.
Matt, Former VP of Engineering
Dan, Former Director of Software
Audric, Customer Service