GHS Interactive Security, a Texas-based security alarm company formed in 2013, announced today that private investment firm Arena Investors has recapitalized the company and acquired a majority stake. With this partnership, GHS is shedding its old brand identity and rebranding as Vio Security.
“The old brand didn’t really state what we do — it was three initials that didn’t really stand for anything,” said Vio Security CEO Mike McLeod. “We wanted a brand that really identifies who we are, and what we do in the marketplace. So we embarked on an effort to rebrand, did a lot of consumer testing, and came up with Vio Security. It was really about sending the message to the market that we’re pivoting the business from a traditional alarm business to a smart home security alarm technology company with a clear view of the future. Vio means vision in Latin, so it really supports the values we’re building out in the business.”
Those values, McLeod says, are innovation, simplicity and versatility. And those three values have already taken the company quite far since its founding in 2013. The company spent its first six years building out its customer base of approximately 25,000 largely through dealer channels — another element of the business changing with the rebrand. Now, after a leadership change and with the financial backing of Arena Investors, Vio has set a goal to hire 200 sales team members and move away from the dealer model.
To support this massive goal, the company has hired a consultant to help with brand building and recruiting; hired three regional sales leaders for the east, central and west coasts; and now utilizes a highly regarded online screening test for potential salespeople, along with a newly created online sales academy to provide a consistent training experience for new team members.
“The dealer model is really built around high volume, quick sales, whereas with selling a smart home solution, you’re more of a consultant and really have to spend time with the consumer and learn what their lifestyle is,” McLeod said.
To increase its appeal to potential employees, Vio Security is creating new pricing plans, commission plans and optimized workflow processes.
“We’re trying to create an environment where people look at us and want to be part of the company,” McLeod said. “They get excited about our strategy, the team we’re building, the success we’re having, and they want to be part of it . . . It’s about lowering the friction involved in selling door-to-door. It’s our job to make it fun, exciting and easy to succeed in that role.”
While Arena Investors had been investing in GHS Security for some years, Scott Gold, managing director of Arena Investors, said they’re especially excited about this increased investment. Vio Security had gotten about as far as their previous investors could allow them to go before Arena came in and opened a whole new world of possibilities.
“[The old investors], after putting a lot of money into the company to get it to the point where it was, basically exhausted their ability to build,” Gold said. “Now we’ve got significantly more horsepower in terms of capital to invest in companies like this, and our management team has significantly more horsepower than Vio Security, a relatively small company, could ever hope to get. The team has run companies ten times the size of Vio, so now we’re stacked with a management team with a lot of horsepower and an owner with lots of capital. So when you put those together, all of a sudden we can spend time looking at rebranding, upgrading systems, and hiring best in class talent.”
The rebranding, Gold says, is to announce to the world that they know exactly what they’re doing and where they’re going, and that is going to be different then what they were doing or where they were going before.
“When a customer starts pulling you in a direction, you have to be an idiot to not follow them,” Gold said.