The break out session with Vivint’s CEO, Todd Pedersen from the 2019 Silicon Slopes Technology Summit really stood out to me, there were a lot of takeaways and mostly about character and values. Even in working in security systems a few years back, all I knew about Vivint was that it came out of Provo, UT focusing on home security systems and that they recently hung their name on the Utah Jazz home stadium which was called the Energy Solutions Arena prior.
I was able to get a better idea of the kind of values a leader needs to poses in order to take a small sales focused company and turn it into, at the time, the largest buyout in Utah history, a $2.1 billion dollar acquisition with the Blackstone Group.
Todd shared his perspective on the skills that helped him get to where he has gotten to today and the ones he believes are integral to success. Todd’s stories boiled down to one trait, the kind of leader that is not afraid of getting his hands dirty in order to do whatever it takes to get the job done and to over deliver when necessary.
How to start a company?
“Before you ever start a company you got to think about yourself first. You have to have talents and abilities, leadership skills, sales skills, and engineering skills. You have to be really good, not at everything, but some things. You have to be driven to deliver excellence in what ever you do, for no matter what you do.”
Todd’s First Business
Before Todd ever raised funds for a company, he had started his first business in the house cleaning industry. He understood he was a very tough child and his parents were able but unwilling to help him pay for college, his parents were done with him at this point. And so this is what he did during his time at BYU to fund his college experience.
“Learn how to deliver Excellence”
He told a story about delivering excellence at one of the houses he used to clean. Even though he had employees that he paid to clean, he also would clean and would often choose to clean the bathrooms. One house in particular was full of boys, 6 young boys that didn’t know how to aim and wouldn’t sit down to use the toilet. His goal was to shock the family with how clean they could make the bathrooms look before he left. Even though they were about to be destroyed the moment those boys got home, he took pride in seeing peoples reactions after they saw how clean the bathroom was.
The key take aways, provide more value than you are asked and are expected to, shock and delight everyone around you. This must be the objective for every job, it is likely not achievable to do more than what is asked with every job but it must be the goal. And own it if you’re not using your time to gain the skills necessary. If you are not growing your skill sets and not advancing within your company, own it. Improve who you are, what you are about, what you believe in, and work on delivering excellence at all times.
Todd’s Entrepreneurial Ventures
He then went on to co-found his next venture in pest-control called Creative Marketing Concepts. This was his first business where he was able to raise funds, which started out in a single wide trailer in 1992. Just two years into the business, he was offered 1.2 million dollars from the ServiceMaster Co. which he was hesitant at first to turn down. He recalled feeling a bit sick to his stomach a few days after making the decision to stick with his venture. He made this decision because ultimately he was convinced he could become a 10 million dollar company.
Todd then began his next venture APX, focusing on selling third party home security solutions in 1999. APX experienced a healthy growth for the next 6 years which took them to receive a $75 million dollar investment from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. which gave them the fuel to experience accelerated growth of over 800% from 2005 to 2010. In 2009 while expanding internationally to Canada and other locations, APX was able to secure another deal with Goldman, this time for $440 million dollars and acquire Criticom, a Protection One company, to add security monitoring to their list of services.
APX -> Vivint
In 2010 they built a new building in Provo, UT and placed the newly rebranded signage of the globally recognized name, Vivint.
In 2013, Forbes ranked Vivint at number 46 on America’s Most Promising Companies. According to the company’s history page has now over 7,000 employees and nearly a million customers. Vivint has grown to become the second largest residential security and home automation provider in North America.
Vivint is growing to provide more than just home security though, Vivint Solar was launched and completed its IPO in October 2014 and has become the second largest residential solar provider in the U.S.
Inducted into the Hall of Fame
Todd was inducted into the David Eccles School of Business Hall of Fame during the ceremony on Friday, March 6 2014 in Park City. Pedersen joins the esteemed company in the David Eccles School of Business Hall of Fame, which recognizes individuals whose achievements are models for present and future students.
“It is an honor to be named to the David Eccles School of Business Hall of Fame,”… “Utah has become a hub for technology and innovation, and I’m impressed with the entrepreneurial curriculum at the University of Utah. I hope my work will inspire the many talented alums of the university and the entrepreneurs who will graduate from the Eccles School.”