ACA/My Alarm Center adds CFO to help handle growth

With about $4.5 million in RMR and plans for expansion in 2013, company hires finance veteran Scott Peterson
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

MEDIA, Pa., and NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.—Alarm Capital Alliance, which also does business as My Alarm Center, is growing so much that it has created a CFO position and hired industry finance veteran Scott Peterson for the job.

Company President and CEO Amy Kothari told Security Systems News that she and COO Gary Welsh had been sharing CFO duties for the national alarm company, based in Greater Philadelphia. But in April 2012, the company gained a new private equity partner, Norwest Venture Partners, and has rapidly grown since then. Its RMR has increased in the past year from $3.7 million to just shy of $4.5 million, its customer accounts have gone from about 114,000 to more than 135,000, and the number of employees has climbed to 250 from 125, Kothari said. The company also has a number of growth initiatives under way for 2013, she said.

“At nearly $4.5 million of RMR, it really makes sense for us to have a formal CFO, particularly if I’m going to be focusing now more on the growth of the business,” Kothari said. Also, she added, operations “have gotten more complex as we’ve become a fully integrated alarm company, so my COO really needs to focus on the operations side.”

Founded in 2000, Media, Pa.-based ACA has a small dealer program but most of its business is focused on bulk acquisitions, in which it buys books of accounts and sometimes entire companies. Kothari said the company has done about 750 portfolio acquisitions.

In some instances, the seller stays in business and services the accounts it sells to ACA, or a seller sometimes gets out of the business. ACA in some markets partners with neighboring alarm companies for service, but it has its own technicians in the field in the tri-state area near Philadelphia and in Seattle.

While dealers do business with the company under its ACA name, its residential and business customers know the company by another moniker. “Our direct-to-consumer name is My Alarm Center,” Kothari said.

My Alarm Center is based in Newtown Square, Pa., and is a full-service alarm company. But despite the two names and two separate websites, My Alarm Center and ACA are both part of one company and Peterson, who has 20 years of industry experience, will handle CFO duties for both, Kothari said.

Peterson was formerly CFO of Eyewitness Surveillance and CFO and VP of residential operations for Smith Alarm Systems Inc.

“What he brings to the table is not only being able to take care of the internal CFO stuff, taking that off my COO’s plate, but he also has great experience and knows all of the banks so he’s able to step in on the capital market side, giving me a break after 10 years of doing that,” Kothari told SSN. “He also has great experience on the acquisition side.”

In 2013, Kothari said, the company has a “a really strong multi-channel growth strategy.”

On the ACA side, the company has plans to grow its dealer program, she said. Also, she said, it made two acquisitions in the past six months, one in Atlanta and one in Los Angeles.

On the My Alarm Center side, the company is expecting organic growth this year, Kothari said, particularly from existing customers. 

“Having done most of my growth from traditional companies, most of my customers don’t have cellular and don’t have home automation,” she said. “So we’ve been really looking at educating those customers and letting them know what their options are, and so really growing through our existing customers and really selling ancillary products.”