Betting on self-installation
BERWYN, Pa.--InGrid Inc., a start-up company that's developing a new self-installed wireless digital home security system, announced July 13 that it has raised $13.5 million in private equity for further development.
The system is designed to be sold through broadband telco companies, said Louis Stilp, chief executive officer of InGrid. Stilp is developing back-end systems that will allow InGrid to be tied into a cable company's billing system so the product can be sold, activated and billed through the cable company.
"Everything about the product, the Web site, the software [is designed to enable] mass market distribution," Stilp said, something he feels security companies have not been good at, considering the current 20 percent market penetration rate he cited.
The product was introduced in January (search "InGrid launches home security system" at www.securitysystemsnews.com) and is being tested in the field now. Stilp expects to be generating revenue this fall.
The new funds will help the company move from "a product development organization to an operating company doing deals with partners," said Stilp.
One of those partners is Russ Cersosimo, president and chief executive officer of Guardian Protection, a super-regional security company based in Cranberry, Pa. Guardian, which has its own brand-new central station, has signed on to do the monitoring for InGrid. In addition, Cersosimo, personally, is an investor in the company.
Is he afraid that InGrid might steal market share from security companies whose products are professionally installed? No, said Cersosimo. The way he looks at it, Stilp is "going after a market that hasn't been successfully captured yet ... and how he plans to go to market through the cable companies makes all the sense in the world."
Indeed, Stilp said he's not out to "steal volume from ADT and Brink's; we're going to double the size of the market."
Stilp expects to announce partnerships with broadband companies within the next 90 days. InGrid has 50 employees, but only one, Steve Schueren, has a security background. Schueren, former president of the Pennsylvania Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and former owner of Rampart Security Systems in Philadelphia,is InGrid's vice president of security operations. He oversaw the process of getting InGrid qualified for "licensing in the 37 states that have licensing requirements." He's also lining up installers. "Even though InGrid is a DIY system, we know there are technophobes out there who will want to have it professionally installed."
InGrid will be using TechNation a consortium of installers across the country. Schueren acknowledged that the new business on the block is not always the most popular with the traditional market, at least initially.
"Years ago, the no-cost, low-cost businesses [that entered the market in the early '80s] upset people, but did it hurt the industry? No."