IntelaSight, a start-up company that creates and operates security surveillance systems for business customers, is only two years old and has just 15 employees. But Mesa officials hope it will become an engine of future economic expansion in their city.
IntelaSight president and chief executive David Ly was one of six business people invited to give presentations to city business leaders at a mayor’s breakfast in mid-November that showcased new business activities in the Mesa.
The company, which is located in the Bank of America building at Alma School Road and Southern Avenue, expects to quadruple in size in the next six months to a year based on business the company has in its pipeline, Ly said.
"We wanted to do something unique to the needs of society today," he said. "We believe that security will be at the forefront of our concerns as a society."
IntelaSight sets up camera networks at plants, warehouses and other places of business and monitors the activities 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from an off-site operations center in Phoenix. The company has 15 customers in Arizona and California, including a municipal airport, public school, large industrial sites and public storage facilities.
The firm uses the Internet to transmit the real-time images, allowing it to monitor locations virtually anywhere in the world from its Mesa and Phoenix operations centers. The owner of the business also can monitor the same images from laptop computer, cell phone, personal digital assistant or any other Internet-enabled device.
The system is equipped with software that helps to alert IntelaSight personnel if something suspicious is going on. IntelaSight will notify local police, the business owner or on-site security guards if anything is amiss.
The company charges $30,000 to $40,000 to install hardware that can cover a 5-to 7-acre site. There’s also an ongoing monthly expense of $1.25 per hour per camera.
But the system reduces the need for on-site security guards who earn $15 to $20 an hour.
Linda Paul, director of marketing and communications for the Mesa United Way, which organized the mayor’s breakfast, said IntelaSight has the potential to become a hot growth company.
"Their product was so germane to the rest of the audience, which was mostly developers," she said. "This guy has a product that belongs in all of these projects."
Ly, 30, formed IntelaSight in late 2003 with his partner and co-founder, Michael Religioso. They were both products of the Silicon Valley dotcom bust in California.
Ly previously worked for Ricochet, a wireless broadband company that offered citywide wireless Internet access before the development of Wi-Fi hot spots. The service was expensive and ahead of its time, and after spending $2 billion to build out the infrastructure in 21 metropolitan areas, the company filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code.
Ly had already moved to the Valley to work on the Ricochet system here and was laid off when the venture went under. When Religioso, 28, also was laid off, the pair decided in the best entrepreneurial tradition to take control of their own destiny and start their own company. They founded IntelaSight mostly using their own money.
"We did a lot of personal funding, meaning we were working for free," Ly said.
Added Religioso: "We didn’t see ourselves as longterm employees. This was an opportunity to innovate and create our own legacy."
By January 2005, the company was ready to accept customers, and it also received some angel investment. The company is not yet profitable; Ly expects to be in the black within two years.
Ly believes Arizona will be a better place to start a company than the San Francisco area, where the competition is more intense.
"Here there is not a saturation of technology companies; there is not a saturation of guys like us," he said.