Broadband Home Management Firms iControl, uControl Merge


Two competitors in the emerging broadband home management space -- iControl Networks, whose investors include Comcast, and uControl -- announced Thursday they had reached a definitive agreement to merge.

The two privately held companies merged their equity, with the combined company retaining the iControl Networks name. Both iControl and uControl provide systems to let broadband service providers, home-security companies and power utilities deliver interactive home security, energy management and home healthcare services.

The new iControl will be based in Palo Alto, Calif., with a division in Austin, Texas. Both iControl CEO Paul Dawes and uControl CEO Jim Johnson will remain in their roles and serve as co-CEOs of the combined company. The new company will have just under 100 employees.

"It's been about getting to a bigger market opportunity," Dawes said. "The focus of the market is home security. We have the ability to drive a cost-effective solution for the mass market."

The companies said all commercial trials and deployments will continue as planned.

Dawes said the former iControl had raised $45 million, primarily from Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and Charles River Ventures. Additional investors in iControl include ADT, Cisco Systems, Comcast Interactive Capital, GE Security and Intel Capital.

To date iControl has not announced telco or cable customers but has deployed nationally with ADT, through the home-security company's Pulse service, as well as GE Security.

UControl had raised $23 million in funding to date, mostly through individual investors and customers, Johnson said. The company has announce three cable operator customers: Comporium Communications, NewWave Communications and Massillon Cable.

"The cable MSOs are going to end up with a better solution, and we'll be able to get it to market more quickly," Johnson said.

The companies said they do not anticipate any layoffs. "This is a growth business and it's hard to find talent in this industry," Johnson said.