ECKey closes funding round

Investors include industry vet Robert Chefitz
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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

LANCASTER, Pa.—ECKey, a startup manufacturer of smartphone access-control readers and systems, has closed its first funding round, Paul Bodell, ECKey president, told Security Systems News.

The closing of this A round of funding was for $500,000; a second closing, which will bring the total to $1 million, will be transacted by the end of the year, Bodell said.

The investors include security industry veterans who know access control well. The principal investor is Egis LP—run by Robert Chefitz, who formerly ran Casi-Rusco and was involved with Protection 1. He is also a key investor in Alarm.com, Westec and North American Video. Joe Grillo, former president of HID, is also an investor.

Chefitz said his involvement with Casi-Rusco and Alarm.com makes it easy to see the promise of ECKey. At Casi-Rusco he saw firsthand the limitations of card access systems, particularly the cost and hassle of replacing cards, and at Alarm.com there’s no question that “people accept the smartphone as an interface to the alarm system,” he said.

Chefitz said he sees ECKey as a natural fit for college dorms, hotels and any commercial business, especially for unattended delivery applications. He said, “It’s early to say,” but there may be some synergies between his investment at ECKey and other investments.

He also said there are big growth opportunities for ECKey outside of North America, notably in Brazil.

However, he said what he likes most about the investment is “having a manager like Paul, with his experience and entrepreneurial skills in an industry he knows.”

Founded in New Zealand in 2005 by Nick Willis, ECKey was incorporated in the United States in 2008 and moved all operations to this country in 2012. Bodell, former chief marketing officer for IQinVision, joined ECKey at the beginning of the year.

“We’ve got staff in place, we’re building our inventory and we’ve opened an office here in Lancaster,” Bodell said. “We’ve also signed an OEM deal, but I cannot disclose who it’s with.”

“We’ll be focusing on hiring more manufacturers’ reps, and launching our partner certification program,” he said. “We’ll be expanding our dealer base throughout North America and introducing a suite of smartphone apps and product enhancements.”