Banking & Finance  May 15, 2015

Intrado vets helping public-safety startups

LONGMONT — George Heinrichs and Stephen Meer spent 35 years building Intrado Inc. into one of the largest public-safety companies providing 911 services.

Now, more than a year after retiring from the Longmont-based company, they are ramping up another company, Public Safety Ventures, a private-equity firm that provides venture capital and industry know-how to startups that serve the public-safety sector.

“We have a list of things missing from the landscape,” Meer said, without divulging them. “They are good business opportunities,” and include wireless communications and tech devices used in improving safety procedures in law enforcement, government agencies and health care among others.

Heinrichs and Meer have set up shop on the ground floor of the former Times-Call building at 350 Terry St. in Longmont.

They brought on partners who have experience in areas of public safety and technology who they met while running Intrado – from their time as entrepreneurs and sheriff’s deputies when they launched 911-services company SCC Communications Corp. in 1979, later raising venture funding, changing its name to Intrado, going public on the Nasdaq exchange and being acquired by a larger public company for approximately one-half billion dollars.

Heinrichs and Meer were inducted into the Boulder County Business Hall of Fame in 2006. They are serving as PSV’s managing partners and have brought on operating partner Terry Gold, founder of Gold Systems, a communications and speech recognition software company in Boulder; general partner Jim Davis, a former FBI agent who, after leaving the bureau, became a member of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s cabinet as executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety and a homeland-security adviser to the governor; and general partner Keith Kaczmarek, who has more than 30 years of wireless telecommunications experience. He has held prominent business, technology and operations leadership roles in several companies including Intrado.

“We thought it was the right time to leave Intrado if we were going to do something else,” said Heinrichs, whose first job was dispatcher in the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department.

“We took some time, and decided we wanted to help other companies in the public-safety sector,” Heinrichs said. “I believe our biggest value is knowing what not to do. We’ve made the mistakes. We can help others avoid them.

“You can have a clever idea, but that’s a small part of the equation,” he said, emphasizing that what draws PSV to invest is the entrepreneur.

“After 35 years we like to think we understand the culture of public safety. … We have developed a network. We know people … and we can make connections.”

Heinrichs said the partners are using their own money to fund the first companies in the portfolio.

“We will raise a fund,” he said, “but right now we are busy setting things up for ourselves and helping the few companies already in our portfolio.”

Once people in the sector heard through the grapevine that Heinrichs, Meer and the team formed PSV, it was inundated with prospects.

“They’ve been finding us,” Meer said. “We’ve been on the road a lot, meeting with prospects … This is a very big market.”

PSV is backing three companies – Greenwood Village-based Adventos, which has a software-as-a-service platform to streamline back-office work flow; Niwot-based TeraBAT Inc., which is working on a device for rapid diagnosis of both chronic and acute diseases via breath; and Mississauga, Ontario-based SceneDoc, which is fine-tuning a smartphone/tablet-based crime-scene documentation tool that would improve officer productivity and help untether the officer from the office. Heinrichs recently was appointed to SceneDoc’s board of directors.

The move to broadband and wireless requires sophisticated software products, he said. “Cybersecurity is a growing problem and needs solutions.”

Doug Storum can be reached at 303-630-1959, 970-416-7369 or dstorum@bizwestmedia.com.

LONGMONT — George Heinrichs and Stephen Meer spent 35 years building Intrado Inc. into one of the largest public-safety companies providing 911 services.

Now, more than a year after retiring from the Longmont-based company, they are ramping up another company, Public Safety Ventures, a private-equity firm that provides venture capital and industry know-how to startups that serve the public-safety sector.

“We have a list of things missing from the landscape,” Meer said, without divulging them. “They are good business opportunities,” and include wireless communications and tech devices used in improving safety procedures in law enforcement, government agencies and health care among others.

Heinrichs…

Related Content