Alarm.com plans to raise up to $75 million in an initial public offering, seeking to capitalize on what it claims is its market-leading position in connected home technology.
The news, first reported by CEPro, represents a big move by one of the leaders in the burgeoning smart home field. Over the past several years, security providers like ADT, cable companies like Comcast, and a host of telecommunications providers have started to turn what has been a niche industry into something approaching mass-market potential.
But Alarm.com says it’s leading the pack. The Vienna, Virginia-based company has 2.3 million subscribers and a network connecting 24 million devices, according to its Friday S-1 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. That’s ahead of the 1.2 million customers using ADT’s Pulse home automation system, as reported in the company’s April quarterly earnings, and the 500,000 customers that Comcast has recently claimed for its Xfinity Home service.
Alarm.com was founded as a subsidiary of MicroStrategy in 2000 and created the country’s first wirelessly connected home security solution in 2004. It was acquired by VC firm ABS Capital for $27.7 million in 2009 and added home automation and energy management to its portfolio in 2010. In 2012 it raised $136 million in venture capital, shortly after announcing it had broken the 1-million-customer mark.
In its S-1 filing, Alarm.com reported 2014 revenues of $167.3 million and net income of $563,000, up from 2013 revenues of $130.2 million and net income of $122,000. The company goes to market through a network of licensed home security dealer partners, and stated in its S-1 filing that its one-year contract renewal rates stand at 93 percent -- although, as Fortune’s Stacey Higginbotham reported, that figure may not be representative of the company's long-running customer turnover, since its partners tend to sign up customers for three- to five-year contracts.
Alarm.com has also provided behind-the-scenes connectivity for Vivint, a high-profile provider of home security, energy management, rooftop solar and high-speed internet -- although Vivint has recently launched its own in-house cloud platform for its combined services.
This is just one wrinkle in the complicated and ever-changing roster of competitive and cooperative stances for players in the world of internet-of-things-enabled, DIY home security and automation. One example is Icontrol, a rival to Alarm.com, which provides the technology for both ADT Pulse and Xfinity Home, but also launched its own small security dealer business earlier this year.
Other key competitors are coming soon. Google, which bought smart thermostat startup Nest for $3.2 billion in 2013, is working with Samsung on a new wireless technology meant to supplant the roster of existing, incompatible technologies now serving the market. Apple has promised to launch its HomeKit platform some time this year, and, like Nest, has a long list of partners for its service.
As for energy management, it has been a definite afterthought for most early adopters of connected home technology, according to many in the industry. Control4, a higher-end home automation company that raised $64 million in its 2013 IPO, experimented with, and then abandoned, energy management as a core part of its offering.
Nest's networked thermostats have been shown to reduce air conditioning energy use, and are playing a part in utility demand response programs with numerous partners. At the same time, Nest has added smoke detectors and internet cameras to its roster of devices, broadening its reach into services that customers have indicated are higher on their list of home automation priorities. Even Texas energy retailer Reliant Energy, which has a strong incentive to manage energy consumption for its core business needs, has added home security to its portfolio of products.
In 2013, Alarm.com bought startup EnergyHub, a startup with software to provide energy intelligence to smart thermostats and other in-home devices that it had been working with in pilots for utilities including San Diego Gas & Electric. As smart home providers grow their market share within utility service territories, they could become more significant players in the energy management field.