Jay Gotra is the founder and CEO of Alliance Security, a home-security and home-automation company headquartered in Warwick that was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in 2012.
Gotra spoke with Providence Business News about how his company has evolved from a startup in his condo to a growing business with plans to expand in coming years.
PBN: Why did you make the decision to start your own business?
GOTRA: Let’s just say that my intuition was to blame.
I started Alliance Security in 2003, after having spent a couple of years working in sales for a home security company. I was driven by the desire to build a company that both differentiated itself from competitors and revolutionized the customer experience.
Although I was in my early 20s at the time and had only a couple of years experience under my belt, I believed that my intuition would guide me in making the right decisions and enable me to build a viable and sustainable business.
Alliance Security had very humble beginnings, to say the least. When we started, I had only one employee and the spare bedroom in my condo served as our “headquarters.” To date, we have sold and installed [more than] 70,000 home security and automation systems throughout the country.
In hindsight, the leap of faith I took when I started Alliance Security has been assured by the dedicated and hardworking employees we have been able to attract. I must admit that I had a vision to create “the great company,” a place where employees love to come to work because of the opportunity to prosper. I attribute the growth and success we have enjoyed to our growing team.
PBN: As mobile technology and on-the-go app usage have gained in popularity, how have your services and products evolved?
GOTRA: At Alliance Security, we know that we need to be able to adapt quickly and stay in tune with our customers’ changing habits. For that, we’re continually evolving with emerging technologies, which are becoming more affordable and reliable over time.
When it comes to home automation systems, we understand that consumers want products that are intuitive and easy to use. As important as innovativeness is practicality – it’s important that people will actually use the products.
Just three years ago, we offered only home security systems. As home automation systems – personalized systems that seamlessly connect different aspects of your home – have become mainstream, we knew there was a huge opportunity to meet the increasing demand.
That’s why, in 2012, we added 2GIG Technology systems to our product line. Our decision to offer 2GIG products was motivated by the fact that they are the most advanced systems in the market. These products have built-in cellular chips, as opposed to being connected to telephone lines. This makes the systems tamper-proof, and enables homeowners to view and manage their systems from anywhere in the world from their smartphones and tablets. In other words, they can control door locks, thermostats, lights and alarm systems – all at the touch of a button from a mobile app.
Furthermore, customers can actually receive “push” notifications on their mobile devices. Since 2GIG products are cloud-based, people have 24/7 access to their home automation systems from any computer.
PBN: Where video monitoring is concerned, balancing security and privacy is always an important issue. How does Alliance strike that balance and guarantee its customers' privacy?
GOTRA: What we offer is as important as who we work with. For that reason, we partner with Alarm.com, an award-winning company that ensures privacy protection. Only consumers have access to recorded video clips of activity in their homes, which are password-protected and encrypted, on their computers or mobile devices. Since we started in 2003, there has not been a single case of security or privacy breach.
PBN: Do you foresee Alliance ever expanding into the corporate security market, in addition to residential?
GOTRA: While we’re cementing our position in the residential space, it’s on the horizon for Alliance Security. Having evolved from a company that offers just home alarm systems to one that offers an array of home automation solutions, we feel that entering the corporate security market is the next natural progression.
However, it’s difficult to put a timeframe on it. Expansion will take place when we’re ready – after thorough planning and analysis of the risks and rewards. When expansion happens, we’ll aim to offer the corporate space the same caliber of value and service as we do with homeowners.
PBN: Where do you see your company in five years?
GOTRA: In five years, we would like to have earned the trust and loyalty from consumers in all 50 states. Currently, we sell and install home automation systems in 27 states.
We define success not only in terms of profitability and reach, but also in terms of accountability to consumers and employees. Additionally, we define success in terms of contribution to local economies. Our goal is to create 300 more jobs over the next five years, which will bring our total workforce to over 500 individuals.
Simultaneously, we’ll remain committed to nurturing employee growth and development within Alliance Security. Our priority will be placed on the vibrant company culture that has taken years for us to develop. This will help us continue to attract individuals who genuinely care about what they do.