Friday, 23 March 2007

Wireless control that simply works

A core part of the AlertMe system is its use of ZigBee technology in the home. ZigBee is a wireless system that allows devices to communicate over short distances. It is straightforward enough to work on small, simple devices such as light switches, but can carry enough data to monitor and control a security system, to track energy usage around the home, and much more.

It uses a similar radio frequency to both Bluetooth and WiFi (2.4GHz), but is rather less well known! Unlike Bluetooth, ZigBee can communicate between many devices at once, and over greater distances (a single ZigBee network will connect together all parts of an average UK home). ZigBee doesn't need as much power, or computer processing ability, as a WiFi network.

AlertMe is a Participant member of the ZigBee Alliance, which is a global ecosystem of companies creating wireless solutions for use in residential, commercial and industrial applications. The ZigBee Alliance companies work together to enable reliable, cost-effective, low-power, wirelessly networked products based on an open global standard.

AlertMe will be increasingly visible at ZigBee Alliance events (and in conference calls) over the next few months as Amyas and I start to participate in the development of the standard. If you are one of the many people involved in the ZigBee world, do say hello to us!

Monday, 19 March 2007

Blogs from the underground

"Enough about the funding already," I hear you saying, and fair enough. The coverage has been very positive, but what have we done lately?

We're still in a pre-launch mode here at It's a stealth mode, not like a fully cloaked Romulan ship, nor like a ninja in the shadows, but very much like my two year old playing hide and seek in the closet. We secretly want you to know we're here, otherwise what's the point of hiding?

So there are some things we can talk about today: our business, industry, and open jobs. There are some things we won't reveal just yet, but soon: our products and services.

This blog will be often the very first place to hear the news. I'll be sharing more as we go, so stay tuned....

Keep the peace,

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Tornado Insider tracks on the Radar

Looks like a Tornado is coming our way! closes £5 million financing round, the home security company for the internet generation, today announced the closing of a £5 million financing round from entities affiliated with the Tudor Group.

The funding will be used to help complete the final stage of development and testing, to build brand partnerships, and bring the product to market.

Adrian Critchlow, co-founder of, commented, 'We are delighted to have Tudor as an investor. We feel this investment validates our product development efforts to date, and our planned approach to the home security market.' will be launching a next generation home security product using internet and mobile technology to connects people to their homes at all times, and alert users to unauthorized entry or fire. The product's increased functionality will be cost much less than the installation and monitoring costs of a conventional home alarm system.

Growth Business features on the front page

A much appreciated front page report from Growth Business:

Wednesday 14th March 2007

AlertMe bags £5 million
Cambridge-based start-up AlertMe has raised £5 million in its first round of funding from US hedge fund Tudor Investment. The money raised will be used on R&D, developing the company's brand and establishing partnership. The company has been founded by serial entrepreneurs Adrian Critchlow and Pilgrim Beart. Critchlow was behind Active Hotels, which was sold to Priceline for £90 million, and Beart has founded three start-ups and has 20 years' experience in building technology companies. AlertMe will be launching a home security offering, using internet and mobile technology to connect people with their homes and alert them immediately to any unauthorised entry or fire. It will begin trialing the offering with customers in the Cambridge area in the next few months, prior to a national roll-out in the second half of 2007. The company worked with Cambridge-based Green & Green on the legal side, while Deloitte provided financial advice.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

alarm:clock euro picks up the story

Another report on our funding announcement. Thank you to the alarm:clock team.

Hedge Fund Tudor Makes Fifth Investment With AlertMe - A Zigbee Play The Latest

Zigbee sensor startup AlertMe has raised £5M from Tudor Investment Corp. It's a deal we missed and seems to have been announced in February.

AlertMe is a one-year old startup that's pitching a homeowner securtingy alerting system direct to the mobilephone. It has not released product yet but according to a report in Real Deals magazine, it will use the new low power Zigbee sensor technology as part of its home security alerting service. A typical application is a door sensor that triggers an alert to a homeowner's cellphone.

Library House says that this is Tudor's fifth transaction in recent months. The others are Plastic Logic (December 2006), Passado (December 2006), Netronome (November 2006) and Hotxt (July 2006), it said.

A couple of readers have written in to ask us for more info about Tudor and how it goes about sourcing dealflow and its interest in Europe. We do not have an answer yet. We know that GP Bullhound brokered the Passado deal. Maybe other a:c euro readers in the UK have some insight, if so, send us an email.

Back to AlertMe. It's too early to evaluate the product on offer, because there isn't one to look at yet, but the founders sound good.

The tech-oriented co-founder is Pilgrim Beart. This is his third wireless venture. His bio describes a career in the UK, then six years working in Silicon Valley in the 1990's for the likes of Atari and Chromatic Research (now AMD). Returned to Cambridge in '99 and founded activeRF Ltd., an early implementer of wireless asset-location systems and antenova Ltd., a VC-backed WiFi and Bluetooth antenna maker.

The other founder is Adrian Critchlow, whose most recent venture is an eco-hotel, a carbon-neutral hostelry for the wealthy tourist. But he's got some tech cred: founding and Iota Software Ltd. and he was in marketing at Acorn Computer Group, at the time of the ARM spin out. was acquired for £90 million giving its backers a "16 fold return".

Monday, 12 March 2007

My Home Security Pro blogs

We're happy to see an independent security expert commenting our business....

Home Security Revolution In UK

PILGRIM BEART: He's had more than 15 years of working in a number of high-technology companies (including ActiveRF, which was sold to Gatekeeper, and Antenova) in Cambridge, Oxford, and Silicon Valley. He has become and experienced technology entrepreneur with admirable skills in leadership and technical disciplines.

ADRIAN CRITCHLOW: He has a proven entrepreneurial track record and has worked big time in technology companies. In the 80's he worked for Acorn Computers and in the 90's became the founder of Iota Software Ltd., a UK software company that ranked in the top 10 software suppliers to education by RM PLC and won two DTI SMART awards.

Now what happens when these two technology entrepreneurs come together? Surely, it's the beginning of a new revolution!

Beart and Critchlow will be working together to revolutionize the home security systems market by launching a new generation of internet and mobile-enabled monitored alarm systems. They will lead AlertMe's products to the final stage of its development and testing. They'll also be building brand partnerships and introduce the product to the market.

Beart believes that the AlertMe system will bring about a great change in home surveillance. Though details have not yet been released about the product, it is said that AlertMe will be using the internet and mobile technology to connect people with their homes. The AlertMe main differentiation is that it uses the latest technology to offer enhanced functionality without costing too much. While offering increased functionality, the system will also be expected to provide significant savings to users.

Presently, AlertMe is developing partnerships with a couple of different sectors including Internet service providers, mobile operators, and insurance companies.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Real Deals reports on

Here is another story about our company, this time from Real Deals, a fortnightly magazine that covers European private equity and venture capital news, comment, features and analysis, aimed at venture capitalists, investment bankers, lawyers, accountants, directors, and entrepreneurs.

08 March 2007

Cambridge-based start-up AlertMe has raised £5m ($7.4m) first round funding from Tudor Investment Group.

AlertMe is developing a next-generation home security product that will use broadband internet and mobile technology to connect people to their homes and alert them remotely to fire or unauthorised entry.

The company is due to start piloting the technology in the Cambridge area in summer 2007, with a national launch towards the end of the year.

"Interesting radio technologies such as Zigbee are really coming of age now, and enough people (45 per cent of the UK population) are using broadband to use this to update traditional alarm systems, said AlertMe co-founder Adrian Critchlow.

"Less than two per cent of households have monitored alarm systems, and even those that do rarely have a good word to say about their provider, suggesting this is an industry ripe for change."

AlertMe was seed funded by its founders, repeat entrepreneurs Critchlow and Pilgrim Beart. Critchlow is the founder of Active Hotels, which was sold to Priceline for £90m in 2004, generating a 16 times return for its seed investors. Beart has also founded three start-ups.

The pair had been talking with angel investors and VCs, but according to Critchlow, "none were as proactive as Tudor".

"They were prepared to seek us out and listen to our business plan. We got their term sheet in a few days and closed within weeks," he said.

"Some people have suggested that a hedge fund is just 'dumb money' but that isn't the case at all - they were very well informed, and asked all the right questions, digging into the technology and what we are doing."

AlertMe, which was founded in April 2006, has a team of 15, comprising software and network developers, and a commercial team, many of which were recruited from Cambridge University.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Library House blogs

Library House, which provides essential intelligence to investors in early stage companies, has blogged about our funding....

Life in Tudor England

Posted by Andrew T at 9:02am, 14th February 2007

If US investor sentiment is anything to go by, Europe is spawning a healthy crop of new entrepreneurs. Certainly, European venture capital investment saw renewed interest by US investors last year, highlighted by several high profile Sequoia Capital investments (such as JaJah and Stardoll) and also the appearance of hedge funds in a number of venture funding rounds.

Tudor Investment Corporation, led by one of the savviest investors of all-time, Paul Tudor Jones, is particularly active at the moment, VentureBlog has learnt. The Boston-based hedge fund is just about to announce a £5m ($7.6m) investment in, a developer of a consumer product package described as "Home Security 2.0". Alertme, which has only just come out of stealth mode, was co-founded by Adrian Critchlow, co-founder of Active Hotel, which was sold to in 2004.

The investment will be the hedge fund's fifth European investment since July last year, all of which have been in the UK. The others are Plastic Logic (December 2006), Passado (December 2006), Netronome (November 2006) and Hotxt (July 2006).

Top class investors are welcomed by all venture-backed companies, but does that welcome extend to all hedge funds? I'd need some convincing on that one.