Motorola Solutions Venture Capital looks to invest in security

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

SCHAUMBURG, Ill.—Motorola Solutions Venture Capital announced last week that it’s interested in investing in “five or six more start-up companies,” and physical security companies are definitely under consideration, Reese Schroeder, managing director of Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, told Security Systems News.

“We think we’ll do a half a dozen investments this year,” he said. MSVC is typically a Series B investor. “Our typical initial investment is in the $2 (million) to $5 million range.” He noted that MSVC currently has 20 portfolio companies (including PSIM manufacturer Vidsys) and said he anticipates further investment this year in some of those companies.

Motorola Solutions Venture Capital is the strategic equity investment arm of Motorola Solutions, a provider of mission-critical communications products and services for enterprise and government customers. The company was formerly part of Motorola Inc., which separated into two separate publicly traded companies in January: Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility. Motorola Mobility manufactures phones and other mobile devices.

Motorola Inc. launched its investment group in 1999, and it was “one of the more active and best known corporate venture capital groups out there,” Schroeder said. “Over its life, the group invested in 155 different start-up companies,” he added.

When Motorola split in January, its venture group was also split in two. “Post separation, my team is laser-focused on companies that tie into the government, enterprise and public safety [communications] space ... we look for companies that will help us grow and bring new capabilities [to market] faster.”

MSVC said it is interested specifically in “mobile computing, cloud computing, video and video analytics, retail experiences and analytics, RFID-enabled solutions and security.”

Schroeder said video analytics is of particular interest. “We haven’t made an investment purely in video analytics ... but we hope and expect to,” he said. The investment criteria MSVC used to choose Vidsys applies to all of its current and future portfolio companies, he said. “We look at the technology and the management team and we look at whether this technology complements [Motorola Solutions’] internal capabilities. When all these things line up, we’ll make the investment.”

Schroeder said he would be scouting around at ISC West. He said he gets investment leads from trade shows like ISC West, from the VC community, from current portfolio companies, and elsewhere. “We have a robust deal flow, but there are never too many leads, we want to see as much as we can. I want to send a clear message that we’re actively looking for great start-ups with innovative solutions. [Physical security] is a space that’s important to us. People should feel free to reach out to us.”