Peterson Partners Backs Video Surveillance Company

Eyewitness Surveillance, a company that provides remote video surveillance of auto dealerships and other companies, raised a $2 million round led by Peterson Partners, with Cambria Group and several individual investors joining in.

The company was backed previously by family and friends. Valuation and terms of the investment are not disclosed.

Annapolis, Md.-based Eyewitness is Peterson’s first investment from its sixth fund, which is now at about $50 million, and is the result of a search investment that the firm made a couple of years ago in Rush McCloy and RT Arnold, two graduates of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. They asked Peterson and others to back them while they looked for a company to fund, according to Peterson Partner Brandon Cope.

Cope said he and the pair looked at a lot of deals, but Eyewitness looks promising because it’s a highly profitable company in a growing market, with technology that enables one human in the company’s monitoring center in Annapolis to simultaneously keep an eye on 50 or 60 cameras placed at different locations.

If someone walked onto an auto dealer’s lot at 2 A.M., for instance, the camera would detect the motion and alert the watcher, “who can use (a two-way communication system to) tell them to get off the lot or he’ll call the police,” Cope said. Then he could call the police if necessary.

Cope believes the technology will continue to improve, so that even more cameras can be monitored by a single human and that false positives like trees moving in the wind can be eliminated.

The new money will be used to hire sales and support people and expand into new markets, including construction sites, cellphone towers, rail and cargo depots, solar panel yards and other sites with valuable assets that sit outside.

Most competitors in the surveillance industry are mom-and-pop shops, Cope said, although big technology companies may also be eyeing the space.

As part of the new funding, Arnold and McCloy will become the president and chief executive of Eyewitness Surveillance, respectively, while Cope will join the board.

Founder Larry Adler, meanwhile, who started Eyewitness as an alarm company in 1995 and got into video surveillance in 2003, will stay on to handle business development and sales

By: Deborah Gage
DowJones VentureWire