Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Business Weekly reports on AlertMe.com

Business Weekly covers news, feature and analysis on business issues for senior decision makers in companies across the East of England. It has reported on our business this week.

US investors alert to home security venture

By Lautaro Vargas, 07 March 2007

Two of the region's top entrepreneurs are promising to revolutionise the home security market by launching a new generation of internet and mobile-enabled monitored alarm systems.

Backed with £5 million from entities affiliated to one of the USA's biggest hedge funds, Tudor Investment Group, Pilgrim Beart and Adrian Critchlow will trial AlertMe's first products in Cambridge this summer prior to a national roll-out before the year's end.

The Series A financing follows initial seed funding from the co-founders and business angels and will be used to complete the final stage of development and testing, build brand partnerships and bring the product to market.

Details of the technologies that will be used to underpin the new products, as well as the actual products themselves, will not be released until after the trials, though Beart insists that the AlertMe system will produce a step change in home surveillance.

"In contrast to many older alarm systems that use a phone dialer, the AlertMe system architecture is bang up-to-date; however we are not releasing any details of it yet" said Beart."Suffice to say that a large US hedge fund has invested in us on the basis of its potential."

AlertMe's next generation home security offering will use internet and mobile technology to connect people with their homes and alert them immediately to any unauthorised entry or fire.

The company's intention is to provide a major challenge to traditional monitored alarms by using the latest technology to offer enhanced functionality at a fraction of the current cost.

Increased functionality will free users from a prickly relationship with alarm firms according to Critchlow.

He said: "Many people use alarm companies but are not happy with the service."

AlertMe's system is expected to provide significant savings to users over existing systems.

Critchlow added: "Over the lifetime of our products we would hope to strip a significant amount of cost off existing systems, up to 50 per cent. But the comparison is really chalk and cheese as the amount of functionality would be far beyond what you can get at the moment."

The teaming of Beart and Critchlow could prove to be the masterstroke behind the success of the new venture, bringing an expert in wireless and RF technology start-ups together with one experienced in the rapid exploitation of a highly successful internet firm.

Beart has 20 years exp-erience in establishing ground-breaking high-technology companies including ActiveRF (which was sold to US-based Gatekeeper) and Antenova, which is heading full-throttle towards its goal of becoming the global supplier of choice for integrated antennas.

Critchlow co-founded online reservation service Active Hotels in 1999, helping it become one of the UK's fastest growing companies before it was sold five years later to Priceline for £90 million.

"The intention is to get a leading edge product up fast and one of the reasons for taking this on is that the technology already exists," said Critchlow.

True to its word, AlertMe, which was founded in April 2006, not only has 12 employees working in Cambridge on hardware and software R & D and commercial, but it already has a team of five doing software R & D in India.

As it finalises its commercialisation strategy, AlertMe is now seeking to develop partnerships with a number of different sectors including Internet Service Providers, mobile operators and insurance companies.