DIRECTV gets into security, acquires LifeShield

LifeShield, formerly InGrid, is a self-installed digital wireless system with monitoring by Protection 1
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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.—Satellite TV provider DIRECTV is getting into home security with the purchase of LifeShield. Formerly known as InGrid, LifeShield is a self-installed, professionally monitored, wireless digital security system.

DIRECTV opted to purchase a company instead of partner with one because over time, it wants to “fully integrate the home security technology with the DIRECTV video experience,” Brad Bentley, DIRECTV SVP, told Security Systems News.

DIRECTV will begin selling the combined offering nationwide in the first quarter of 2014. Professional monitoring will continue to be provided by Protection 1.

DIRECTV adds between 3.5 and 4 million new customers every year. It has 1,000 dealers and 2,500 sales agents nationwide, who Bentley predicts will provide a “significant funnel” for new sales of the home security offering.

In addition, LifeShield will be offered to DIRECTV customers who move or upgrade to other services. Many of those customers may not have security, and for those who do, DIRECTV may be able to offer more “features and functionality” than a customer’s current home security provider, Bentley said.

Bentley also sees “potential through our CE channel [consumer electronics store partners] as well.”

“Wherever we sell DIRECTV today, home security will be available to those customers,” Bentley said.

While DIRECTV and LifeShield will continue to be available to customers as a DIY offering, Bentley said many customers want professional installation. DIRECTV’s nationwide network of technicians will “include [the installation of LifeShield] as part of our professional installation when we hook up their DIRECTV,” he said.

Terms of the deal were not announced. DIRECTV acquired the entire LifeShield business, which has 105 employees and is based in Langhorne, Pa. LifeShield CEO Mike Hagan will continue to run the security organization and will report to Bentley.

“We looked at a number of different folks along the way,” Bentley said. DIRECTV was sold on “LifeShield’s mix of a strong management team [and] a great product.”

DIRECTV, which had $7.5 billion in revenues in the first quarter of 2013, has a market cap of $34.3 billion and an enterprise value of $50.8 billion, according to Yahoo Finance. It has 20 million customers in the United States and 16 million customers in Latin America.

InGrid was launched in 2007 by Lou Stilp. From 2007 to 2009, Stilp raised funds and partnered with some traditional security companies and some cable companies to sell his product. He also partnered with Guardian Protection of Pittsburgh for professional monitoring. Guardian CEO Russ Cersosimo is also an investor in the company.

The partnerships with cable companies and traditional alarm companies didn’t flourish, so late in 2009 Stilp decided that InGrid should take control of its own destiny. That was the beginning of the company’s conversion to a direct-to-consumer model, he explained.
 
In 2010, Hagan—former CEO of NutriSystems—got involved with the company. He helped Stilp raise $11 million in two funding rounds and the company was renamed LifeShield.

In June 2012, LifeShield announced a strategic relationship with Protection 1, where Pro 1 would provide professional monitoring for LifeShield customers and would also provide professional installation for customers who did not want to install the systems themselves.