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|Industry||Security Systems, Fire detection, Home Automation,|
|Industry||Security Systems, Fire detection, Home Automation,|
Vivint, Inc. (formerly known as APX Alarm Security Solutions Inc.) is a privately held company providing home security, home automation and energy conservation services in the United States and Canada. Vivint Inc. is headquartered in Provo, Utah.
Prosecutors in at least eleven different states have sanctioned Vivint for deceptive sales practices and other violations.
Vivint Inc. entered the home burglar alarm service industry in 1997. During its first year of operation the company installed 1,000 alarm systems using a door-to-door marketing strategy. Later, Vivint announced its new business partnership with investment banker Goldman Sachs. Vivint also received funding from private equity firm Jupiter Partners in May 2006, where Jupiter's stake is still invested into Vivint's business. Also in 2006, Vivint expanded its services to Canada offering security services to residents of Toronto, ON. Vivint now offers services to most major cities in the U.S. and Canada. On October 5, 2009, Vivint created a $440 million credit facility led by Goldman Sachs. On November 1 of the same year, Vivint acquired a central alarm monitoring station from CMS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Protection One, along with 83 new employees. This central station is located in St. Paul, Minnesota. On Dec 3, 2009 Vivint opened a new corporate headquarters, in Provo, Utah. This building also houses an internal monitoring center which began operation in April 2010. In September 2012, Vivint announced that they had entered into an agreement to be acquired by Blackstone Group for in excess of $2 Billion. This acquisition by Blackstone Group was finalized in November, 2012. Vivint's rapid growth was recognized by Forbes magazine in its annual ranking of America's Most Promising Companies for 2013, marking the first time the Provo, Utah-based home-automation/home-security company was named to the exclusive list, with a ranking of 46 out of the 100 privately held companies listed.
Vivint was incorporated in 1999 by Keith Nellesen and current CEO Todd Pedersen. Its current President is Alex Dunn, formerly Governor Mitt Romney's Chief of Staff. Vivint provides monitored Fire, Burglar and other security options to residential customers. The company's main business strategy has been to deploy geographically focused teams of sales representatives and installers, using ClickSoftware for organization, during summer months, with additional year-round telephone sales. In 1999 as APX, Vivint initially installed security systems as a dealer of Protection One, then switched to installing for ADT Security Services for several years, then switched to Monitronics until 2005. Thereafter Vivint began installing its own security systems, directly servicing all aspects including sales, installation and monitoring. Presently, Vivint uses a variety of Honeywell security equipment, and began using 2GIG Technologies for panels and peripherals starting in late 2009. Vivint is able to continue to handle emergencies during natural disasters such as hurricanes due to their cellular monitoring and battery back-up, and Vivint added Tornado Alerts to its panoply of services in 2011, a few weeks in advance of the 2011 Joplin tornado, saving lives in Joplin. Vivint utilizes Z-Wave technology and is a member of the Z-Wave Alliance. Vivint monitors its own systems through its own central stations, and in 2012 received the CSAA's Annual Excellence Award as the Central Station of the Year. In February, 2013 it opened its Vivint Innovation Center for developing new technologies. In 2011 Vivint was ranked #3 in the SDM list of the largest 100 security installation and monitoring companies. It is ranked #2 in 2013.
In November 2012, the Blackstone Group acquired a controlling interest in Vivint, Vivint Solar, and 2GIG Technologies for in excess of $2 billion. Vivint is currently the second largest home security company in the United States. The company has won several awards over the past few years. In July 2012, the Central Station Alarm Association awarded Vivint the Central Station of the Year award. This award is designed to promote central station services and recognize outstanding monitoring personnel and the overall excellence of monitoring operation. A Vivint employee named Amy Becht also won the CSAA Manager of the Year award. In December 2012, Vivint ranked number 53 on PCWorld’s list of the 100 Best Products of 2012. Of the top five tech home products on the 2012 list, Vivint ranked No. 1. In March 2013, Vivint won the 2013 People’s Choice Stevie Award for Favorite Customer Service Provider in the “other industries” category. Vivint also received a Silver Stevie Award for Customer Service Department of the Year in the “other industries” category, and Tim Izatt, director of customer services at Vivint, was honored with a Silver Stevie Award for Contact Center Leader of the Year. In October 2013, Inc. Magazine named the company the No. 2 top job-creating private company in the U.S.
In 2011, Vivint Inc. launched a new subsidiary company named Vivint Solar as a solar electricity provider that designs, installs, and maintains residential photovoltaic systems. Vivint Solar in 2013 is operating in 6 states: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Hawaii, and California. The company offers solar panels via a power purchase agreement (PPA). Vivint Solar owns, installs, and maintains solar panels on customers’ homes in exchange for customers agreeing to purchase the solar energy their panels produce. Customers do not pay for installation, but pay for energy that the panel's produce, for the life of the contracts. Vivint Solar is similar to other alternative solar companies like SolarCity, SunRun, and Sungevity. Its innovation in the field is the use of microinverters for each separate solar panel, allowing maximum production when some of the panels are in the shade.
Note that Vivint Solar (www.VivintSolar.com) is a separate company from Vivint, Inc.(www.Vivint.com) and has its own management, offices, and staff. Its President and CEO is Greg Butterfield and its Chief technology officer is Dan Rapp. Vivint, Inc. owns Vivint Solar, but this appears to be the only real connection between the two entities. Vivint Solar is currently rated B+ by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and is not accredited by the BBB.
Wisconsin took legal action against the company in September 2012, for deceptive and misleading sales tactics. The judgment ordered Vivint Inc. to refund up to $148,000 and cancel almost $450,000 in consumer debt. The judgment requires Vivint to pay refunds to consumers who were misled about their ability to cancel their alarm service contracts, as well as consumers who were misled about false alarm charges. Vivint also will remove affected consumers from collections and the company will pay forfeitures and attorneys fees to the State as well as improve their disclosures to consumers about their services and charges, making it easier for consumers to cancel their contracts if they so desire.
Arkansas fined Vivint/APX $40,850 for over 40 violations in 2009. On September 10, 2010 the State of Arkansas Attorney General's Office charged Vivint, Inc. with violating the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Vivint paid $125,000 for the costs of the investigation and prosecution of the complaint. In 2008 and 2009, Vivint paid a total of $65,850 in Arkansas using improperly licensed workers.
Vivint entered into a compliance agreement with Nebraska in which it agreed not to make any false or misleading statements or attempt to deceive customers. The states of Washington, Louisiana, South Carolina, Minnesota and Tennessee have all fined Vivint/APX for violating state licensing codes. In Washington, police cited Vivint/APX seven times in 2008 and 2009 for having unlicensed workers install alarms. Louisiana also fined Vivint for violating a Cease and Desist Order, and engaging in false, misleading, or deceptive practices.
State and local prosecutors in California, Ohio, Oregon, and Kansas have also charged Vivint with engaging in deceptive trade practices, misleading customers, and engaging in improper collections tactics. To settle these charges, Vivint has entered into consent agreements. Vivint paid $425,000 in fines in California. Oregon fined Vivint/APX $60,000 for "targeting elderly Oregonians with misleading and high-pressure sales tactics". Vivint entered into a compliance agreement with Nebraska in which it agreed not to make any false or misleading statements or attempt to deceive customers.
In 2008, ninety Vivint employees went to Galveston, Texas to aid Hurricane Ike victims. Vivint Gives Back, Vivint's 501(c)3 charitable organization, is a regular contributor for blood donations, and in 2010 was the largest single contributor in Provo, Utah. In 2011 Vivint Gives Back donated over $1.25 Million and 7,500 person-hours of service, and in early 2012 was named the Corporate Volunteer Program of the Year. In 2012, Vivint Gives Back had nearly 3,000 Vivint employees volunteer 23,000 person-hours to help needy families, and Vivint Gives Back's $1.5 million charity fund was distributed to 20 different international relief organizations.