A fast-growing provider of self-installed home security systems, which opened a customer call center in Henrico County last year, is expanding in the county by opening a second office that will handle home security monitoring services.
Boston-based SimpliSafe will take over one floor at 4840 Cox Road in the Innsbrook Corporate Center to establish its customer security monitoring service center, creating more than 250 jobs over a five-year period.
The company is investing more than $3 million in that second center. It expects to have it operational by early next year. Hiring should begin this fall.
SimpliSafe opened a customer support center in the Willow Lawn shopping center last September, investing more than $5.5 million in that operation with plans to create 572 jobs over a five-year period. The company now employs more than 150 at that center and is ramping up hiring, SimpliSafe CEO Christian Cerda said.
The company decided to locate the home security monitoring service center — as well as the customer call center — in Virginia and specifically in Henrico because of the employees it could hire here, he said. Virginia competed with the state of Washington and other West Coast locations for the project, Gov. Ralph Northam’s office said.
“Ultimately we chose Virginia for the talent, the preparation of that talent, the diversity of the talent and the infrastructure that the county has to offer,” Cerda said after an event at the Willow Lawn offices where he and Northam announced the expansion project Thursday afternoon.
“Virginia has been a truly wonderful or best place to do business in,” Cerda said. “We recently decided to double down on Virginia” with the second office.
In 2019, SimpliSafe realized it needed to expand operations in another state. The fast-growing company conducted an in-depth study of where it could open another call center outside of its home state of Massachusetts, he said.
“I can assure you there were many Excel spreadsheets, many advisers and multiple visits to different states. Virginia beat by far all of our other [possible] locations,” Cerda said. “We have aggressive hiring plans to help us address the demands of our growing customer base, and this market is rich with exceptional talent.”
The state-of-the-art monitoring center planned for Innsbrook is key to SimpliSafe’s operations, he said.
At the center, employees will monitor the alarms, cameras and sensors placed in customers’ homes.
“When they detect there is an alarm [going off] in the home, be it an intruder coming in or a fire or someone with a health emergency, the system automatically connects with our home monitoring center,” Cerda said. At the center “we have trained professionals that will assess the situation, handle the customer and ultimately contact the 911 emergency support centers.”
The company operates a monitoring center in Massachusetts and uses a third-party vendor for additional support, he said.
While opening the customer service center in Willow Lawn was important and it will have more jobs, Cerda said the home monitoring center is vital to SimpliSafe’s operations.
“It is very meaningful,” he said. “As we have been so successful with our first endeavor in Virginia, this second one, we are actually bringing our innovation and our technology together with the great infrastructure here to create a better response system for all of our customers.”
SimpliSafe, founded in 2006, pioneered the self-installed home security system. It sells what the company calls home professional-grade security devices with 24-hour monitoring at fair prices.
Its kits have devices that include door sensors, motion detectors and smoke alarms that homeowners or apartment dwellers can set up themselves.
SimpliSafe said it protects millions in the U.S. It also has operations in the United Kingdom.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the Henrico Economic Development Authority to secure the project.