SDI is $55m business after purchase

Acquisition of i-sys brings fire and other complementary capabilities
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

CHIGAGO—Systems integrator SDI is now a $55 million business after the acquisition, announced this week, of i-sys, a $15 million systems integrator that specializes in integrated security, environmental and fire safety solutions.

Based in Charleston, S.C., i-sys has 70 employees and additional offices in Sacramento, Calif., and Knoxville, Tenn.

SDI announced the intention to expand through acquisitions last June, when it secured an investment from LLR Partners and Monument Capital Group.

David Gupta, founder and CEO of SDI, told Security Systems News that SDI took a structured approach to “identify a firm that complements ours and fits the profile of what we look for in terms of specific geographic [coverage] and services, [as well as a firm that has] the same values and culture.”

SDI has not done fire traditionally. “This is a new capability for us,” he said. It’s important to have this capability as all critical systems are tied together, he said.

“Our market geography, type of client we address and the services we offer are all expanding [as the result of this deal],” he said.

SDI, which is based here, also has offices in Los Angeles, Miami and Ankara, Turkey.

SDI’s specialty is complex installations including PSIM systems, video surveillance, ID badging, computer-aided dispatch, LPR and a variety of perimeter security systems. It has an entire IT division and, in addition to advising clients on physical security, “we understand how to move data around,” Gupta said.

“We understand how to talk to a CIO and how to implement complex systems [including the network itself],” Gupta said.

While SDI does a lot of airports, utilities, toll authorities, public school systems, 911 centers and public transit systems, the vertical markets that i-sys focuses on include financial institutions, universities, airports, seaports and state and local governments.

Gupta said that i-sys extends SDI’s reach beyond government and into the private sector, with clients such as a major bank with 1,500 branches. SDI now has particular “IT infrastructure and IT-management expertise” to offer the banking and other vertical markets, he said. “We’re excited about addressing the [banking] market … that [has] challenges at the physical security and cyber level as well.”

“A strong capability in IT and API implementation” are differentiators for SDI, Gupta said. In addition, while “other firms are VARs for certain [PSIM or other product] vendors or they have their own [PSIM-type] products, we are strictly product-agnostic,” he said. “This makes us unique.”

Gupta said that SDI will continue to grow organically and “through acquisitions as we find the right partners. You’re going to hear from us in the near future.”

By 2018, SDI will be “four of five times our current size,” Gupta predicted. “It’s more than economics [or revenues]. It’s more about building something purposeful for our partners in the business.” SDI will have a strong national and international presence in the future, he said. “We have a delivery plan and i-sys is the first major step in that process.”