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Where does the name 'Freeus' really come from?

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Last week, AvantGuard’s CEO, Josh Garner, told me a story. He had recently heard of a woman recovering from a fall, one who was set up with a traditional PERS unit. After hearing that it wouldn’t work outside of the home, she hadn’t left the house for 15 months, he said. After a dealer heard of this, he set her up with one of Securus’ mPERS devices.

“Eventually, she took a walk to the garden, then she walked down the street,” Garner told me. “She would test her device in all of these scenarios, and realized that if something were to happen to her… it still worked.”

“She celebrated by buying a puppy [which] she walks around her block every day.”

Garner wanted to incorporate this sense of Freedom into the naming AvantGuard’s new sister company, Freeus, which recently acquired the PERS business built by Securus.

“We really liked having something that linked us to the past. Securus has had a legacy of innovation, developing products.”

Thus, “freedom” and “Securus” combine to make “Freeus.”

“It sounds crazy, but that story—to us—just epitomizes what our business is about, and it’s delivering freedom to individuals,” Garner said.

That’s where the name comes from.

Is 'wake-up' device the answer for mPERS?

Securus, a mobile security solutions provider, has found a way to minimize lingering concerns about battery life
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09/03/2014

CARY, N.C.—Mobile PERS units are emerging as a monitoring staple, but that doesn’t mean the device is without its share of skeptics.

Report: PERS market to double by 2019

IHS: Younger average PERS user will drive growth, but just how young those users will be up is still up for debate
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08/13/2014

WELLINGBOROUGH, England—It’s a simple formula: A younger PERS user means a longer account life, and a longer account life means lower rates of attrition. Over the next five years, the North American PERS market is poised to grow on the strength of that proposition, rising from $700 million in 2014 to $1.5 billion by 2019, according to a recently published report from IHS.

Metrodial to go live with trio of mobile apps

The central station is the first adopter of SmartTek’s trio of personal protection apps, which includes an app-based mPERS service
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07/02/2014

HICKSVILLE, N.Y.—With several different mobile PERS models gaining traction in the monitoring space, it’s not yet clear what type of device and what combination of features will be the winner in the marketplace.

CSAA launches pair of surveys

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07/01/2014

VIENNA, Va.—The Central Station Alarm Association has launched a pair of surveys, one dealing with the proposed “Alarm Monitoring Model Licensing Act,” and another with industry compensation practices, according to separate news releases from the CSAA.

Essence USA looking beyond the panic button with PERS

Powered by an analytics engine, the company’s new in-home PERS unit aims to give central stations a more complete picture of behavioral patterns and health trends
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06/25/2014

HOBOKEN, N.J.—Yaniv Amir, president of Essence USA, believes PERS units need to become smarter, more intuitive and better able to transmit information passively. In short, they need to become less reliant on the human factor that comes with hitting a pendant. Devices best able to accomplish this, he says, will become differentiators for central stations.

Making money on mobile monitoring

Monitoring company execs extol the benefits of mobile PERS and mobile apps
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05/28/2014

YARMOUTH, Maine—Whether the talk is about mobile PERS devices with geo-fencing, speed alerts and lone-worker monitoring, or about smartphone apps that better connect subscribers with central stations, the takeaway is that the monitoring space is going mobile, and the transformation is happening fast, according to central station executives who are using these newer technologies.

Private equity firm invests in mPERS company

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The PERS market has become somewhat notorious for its lack of acquisition activity, a surprising reality given the demographic trends in America that appear to favor such a market.

Many industry watchers on the private equity side attribute the lack of acquisitions to valuations that have yet to ripen. Some hold that as churn decreases, generating longer average account lives, outside investment is bound to pick up. With greater scale and higher multiples, the acquisitions will follow.

Enter Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners, a Tampa-based private equity firm that recently invested an undisclosed amount in MobileHelp, a mobile PERS provider based in Boca Raton, Fla.,—this according to multiple reports, including an article form the Tampa Business Journal.

Stonehenge summarizes its investment strategy on its website, noting that it typically invests in growth stage businesses and “aims to catalyze rapid growth of companies in up-and-coming markets.” The firm also says its typical investment size is between $1 and $5 million, and that it typically targets companies that have at least $3 million in revenue and are profitable.

Like many investment firms, Stonehenge likes the recurring revenue business model.

No question, then, that MobileHelp fits many of the firm’s ideal investment characteristics. Henry Edmonds, president of The Edmonds Group, an investment bank in St. Louis, said it’s very good news that private equity investors are supporting PERS businesses. He added that it’s unsurprising Stonehenge chose to invest in MobileHelp, which Edmonds characterized as a “leading provider of mobile PERS solutions,” that has distinguished itself in an increasingly competitive market.

“I think we’ll see a lot more of this as people get beyond the early stage and nascent products and once they’ve established a niche in the industry as MobileHelp has done,” Edmonds said. “I think it will be likely that these kinds of companies will attract new capital, because it’s an exciting space.”

He described the PERS and mobile PERS market as “the wild wild west,” in a certain sense, because there are a lot of products currently vying for attention.

“But if you can rise above the fray as MobileHelp has done, it’s a great opportunity because of all the current and expected growth in mobile PERS and mobile security,” Edmonds said.

I’ll be following up on this story in the coming days. I plan to piece together an article about the implications of this investment, bringing together the perspectives of MobileHelp, Stonehenge, and others on the private equity side who’ve been monitoring the PERS valuation market for some time now.

PERS provider, home care company team up

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05/13/2014

WYNNEWOOD, Pa. and HAVERTOWN, Pa.—MedScope, the a provider of medical alert systems, and Visiting Angels, an in-home care company, have announced a partnership to provide MedScope’s array of PERS devices and services to Visiting Angels’ franchisees, according to a joint statement.

World Wide Security changing the PSAP data model for mPERS

The company’s PERS division, Life Button 24, is rolling out a new service that central stations can use to get timely PSAP data
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05/07/2014

GARDEN CITY, N.Y.—Since the inception of mobile PERS, central stations have faced the problem of getting the devices to cheaply and reliably identify the appropriate public safety answering point during an emergency situation.

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