Veritas buys Send Word Now, creates new emergency messaging company

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Emergency Communications Network (ECN), whose product CodeRED can reach millions of people in minutes during an emergency, has acquired competitor Send Word Now, the companies said on Monday.

Large corporations and government agencies are increasingly looking for faster ways to get the word out about emergencies, so they can minimize the danger to their employees when an active shooter, terrorism or a natural disaster strike.

Veritas Capital, which bought ECN in 2015, has merged the two firms to create a new company, OnSolve, that will aim to take on publicly traded market leader Everbridge Inc EVBG.O.

Everbridge went public last fall and has forecast $100 million in annual revenue this year.

OnSolve chief executive Wain Kellum said in an interview that his company is targeting $250 million in annual revenue in the next four to five years.

Kellum said that the company’s software, which provides real time emergency notifications designed to allow people to confirm they received the messages and respond, “can mean the difference between life and death”, and reduces costs and damages to its customers.

The Emergency Mass Notification Services (EMNS) market was $2.2 billion at the end of 2015 and is expected to expand to $4.9 billion by 2020, according to research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Terms of the transaction were undisclosed. A source familiar with the matter who could not be named because the details of the deal were private, said that New Jersey-based Send Word Now was valued in the “low hundreds of millions” and the deal about doubles the size of ECN.

Send Word Now was started in 2001 after its founders felt there was a need for better crisis communications following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Veritas acquired ECN in June 2015 for an undisclosed sum from private equity firm, the Riverside Company.

Reporting by Liana B. Baker in San Francisco; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman