Dropcam speeds up its development process—and business—with Recurly.

Dropcam sells high-definition, live streaming web cameras with two-way sound. And the videos are stored in the cloud for customers who want to view them at a later date.

But according to company leaders, Dropcam is not in the hardware business and it’s not in the software business. Instead, the company is in the service business.

We want to make video streaming and monitoring as user friendly as possible, says Martin Davidsson, Lead Software Engineer for Dropcam. This user friendliness is exhibited in everything from camera setup—which takes less than one minute—to the company’s subscription service, which allows customers to store and retrieve various amounts of video footage.

When you purchase our camera, you’re only buying the hardware, motion detection alerts and the ability to view a live feed, Davidsson explains. We have two subscription options, which allow customers to store seven or 30 days of footage.

Dropcam was previously using what Davidsson describes as a “very primitive service” to facilitate subscription billing. It kept billing information on file and automatically charged each credit card on a monthly basis, but that was it. There were no email notifications when payments were due, verified or unsuccessful, resulting in customer “churn” and lost subscribers. There was no business intelligence or reporting functionality. And Dropcam couldn’t charge different amounts or provide discounts for a number of subscription and customer variables.

We needed additional billing and subscription flexibility, says Davidsson. We also wanted better integration with our backend systems and website, subscription and revenue reporting, and help with PCI compliance.

After evaluating several solutions, Dropcam selected the Recurly subscription billing platform in 2011.

Recurly satisfied all of our requirements, notes Davidsson. They have favorable pricing. The software completely handles PCI compliance and dunning management. The dashboard looks great and is well integrated with our systems. And all the information we need is at our fingertips.



Using Recurly Since:

Benefits of Recurly

  • Subscription plan and pricing flexibility
  • Seamless integration with backend systems
  • PCI compliance
  • Detailed documentation and easy-to-use APIs
  • Advanced business intelligence and reporting capabilities
  • Support for international credit cards and currencies

Recurly gives us a tremendous amount of flexibility, says Davidsson. Without it, we would have to create a plan for every possible combination of cameras, subscription options and discounts, which is too cumbersome for us and our customers.

Business Benefits

Dropcam is growing at a remarkable rate. Within a year after launching its latest, high-definition camera, the company’s revenue was up 500 percent. Its staff is expected to quadruple in the coming months. And more video is now uploaded to Dropcam than YouTube, easily surpassing 100 hours of footage every minute.

To drive this growth, the company has to support a number of subscription plans and pricing options. Customer variables including the number and type of cameras in use, how much footage they store, whether they are paying on a monthly or yearly basis and available discounts all affect pricing.

Recurly gives us a tremendous amount of flexibility, says Davidsson. Without it, we would have to create a plan for every possible combination of cameras, subscription options and discounts, which is too cumbersome for us and our customers.

Dropcam doesn’t just use Recurly for recurring subscription billing. The software also facilitates camera sales through its one-time transaction feature. Everything is tightly integrated with Dropcam’s backend systems using the recurly.js application programming interface (API).

Recurly documentation is great. From the APIs to the client library, it’s all very detailed and easy to use, Davidsson explains. And we were able to test the software in a sandbox environment using a payment gateway and real credit card numbers before it went live.

In addition to seamless integration and billing flexibility, Dropcam is taking advantage of the software’s business intelligence and reporting capabilities. The company’s customer support team uses the Recurly dashboard to answer customer questions about their payment or subscription status, and can update their account information while on the phone. The marketing team is using Recurly data to evaluate and inform promotional activities. And Dropcam engineers have used the software to better understand customer trends and make changes to subscription plans.

Recurly has sped up our development process and our business, says Davidsson, noting the software has helped free up company resources, allowing them to dedicate more time to Dropcam products and services. Recurly handles a ton of operational details and tasks, so we don’t have to worry about them.

This means Dropcam, which currently serves the U.S. market only, can focus squarely on service delivery and company growth—both domestically and internationally.

International credit cards and currencies are beasts to tackle, but we know Recurly has it handled, says Davidsson. As we continue to grow, it is comforting to have Recurly in our corner.

Recurly has sped up our development process and our business.

Martin Davidsson Lead Software Engineer

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