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Chris Carney

Abode receives majority stake investment

 - 
Friday, April 20, 2018

PALO ALTO, Calif.—Nice S.p.A., a global home and building automation company, on April 13 acquired 75 percent of abode systems, a provider of DIY security and home automation systems based here, for $18.75 million. The remaining stock is held by abode’s founders.

“We actually had a lot of interest from several larger [companies based] outside the U.S. … but we felt like Nice was the best fit for us. We really liked their team and their focus on design and user experience was one of the things that drew us to their founder, Lauro Buoro,” Chris Carney, co-founder of abode systems, told Security Systems News. Nice and abode first met in 2017, Carney said.

Abode’s security system is self-installed with a self-monitoring option as well as a professional monitoring option supported by UCC’s monitoring center. Abode users can also pick on-demand professional monitoring options. The company has more than 15,000 users now, most of which are in the U.S., according to Carney, but abode has customers in 27 different countries.

“I think that we have the potential to grow into a very competitive company for the foreseeable future based on this,” Carney said. “The main thing for us was getting additional investment and resources to continue to innovate the product, add to what we’ve already built, and then we have some opportunities for geographic expansion.”

Following the investment, abode plans to increase its employee count, particularly in marketing, customer support, and development, Carney said. Abode has 33 employees now and could add between 20 and 25 employees in the next six to 12 months.

“The innovation will move—I think—at a quicker pace and we’ll be able to build and scale to support a growing customer base alongside of that,” said Carney.

The company is currently working on its new iota system, a new, smaller form factor that will be offered alongside abode’s other product. 

There are potential synergies with what Nice does, according to Carney, such as abode’s systems integrating with Nice’s products.

In a prepared statement, Lauro Buoro, founder and chairman of Nice S.p.A., said, “It is a strategic operation for the Group which will allow us to expand on our product range to include the Home Security sector for installers and end users, thereby strengthening Nice’s leadership position in USA and North America, a market that is enjoying growing demand for connected home and building automation and home security solutions.”

Buoro continued, “This partnership represents important leverage in the direct dialogue of Nice with its end user yet safeguarding the business to business distribution channels and services offered to professionals; it also offers up innovative opportunities of integration between various platforms and extraordinary, highly profitable cross-selling options with potential partners in the insurance sector, as well as the range of additional subscription services. [Twenty-five] years after Nice was founded, this is another step forward in the international growth process, in the portfolio of products and services offered by our group, characterized by a strong focus on digitalization, to become the point of reference in the supply of cutting-edge solutions on a global scale, in the home security and smart home industry.”

Abode brings professional monitoring to its DIY systems

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

PALO ALTO, Calif.—Abode, a DIY security company that got crowdfunded last year, is now offering professional monitoring—full time or on-demand—from UCC, and the company is actively looking for partnerships with security companies.

“We always had the plan to introduce [monitoring options], but our goal first was to get the product out in peoples’ hands and really drive some of the early feedback to actually make our product better, before we went down the road of charging people for services,” Chris Carney, abode’s founder and CEO, told Security Systems News. Prior to starting abode, Carney was in the traditional security space, working with ADT and Tyco.

The company offers its system with three plans. Its “Basic” plan is MIY with professional monitoring on-demand with no monthly fee. The “Connect” plan offers everything in the basic plan with a 3G cellular back up for $10 a month. Abode’s “Connect + Secure” plan gives users all the functionality of its Connect plan with full professional monitoring, for $30 per month.

The company started shipping products to consumers in November and currently has 1,000 users in 27 countries. “Our goal is to hit 10,000 users in our first twelve months,” Carney said. Users outside the U.S. are on the non-monitored option, but the company is currently integrating with foreign central stations to support other plans, he said.

Abode launched its monitoring options last week. The company offers two options for on-demand monitoring: $8 for three days or $15 for one week.

Abode is currently only sold directly to consumer, but that could change. “We do want to look at the security space as a place to partner with companies,” Carney said. This partnership would appeal to companies that want a DIY offering in their portfolio. Partnering companies would have abode accounts monitored through UCC, he said.

“We can get partners up an running on a pilot in a few weeks,” Carney said. “Our goal is to maintain our brand as part of these relationships, we would be willing to discuss other branding solutions with dealers on a case by case basis.”

Dealers would own the accounts and the possible RMR. “Our solution will also provide the dealers the opportunity to become the trusted advisor for the users entire connected home in addition to their security consultant,” Carney said.

The abode system can also verify alarms which can reduce false alarms. “Every system that we send has visual verification of events,” abode co-founder Brent Franks said.

“We’re focused 100 percent on security, but essentially our product is a smart home in a box,” Carney said. “We also have the ability to add other third party devices that are ZigBee or Z-Wave.” 

The insurance space is another area for possible partnerships, according to Carney. This could include a “co–branded solution directly sold by the partner to their customers as a security offering [or] offering the abode branded solution to their customers as way for their policy holders to save money on their insurance. These are still in testing stage, but look to be a very viable channel for our fully integrated solution.”