New Carmel-based venture fund to invest $50M in security products, technology

Security-products company Allegion Plc announced Thursday that it plans to create a $50 million venture capital fund based in Carmel to invest in early-stage companies focused on innovative technologies and products in the security field.

Allegion, which has its Americas headquarters in Carmel, has named Rob Martens, its futurist and vice president of strategy and partnerships, to serve as president of the new Allegion Ventures. Wade Sheek, deputy general counsel for Allegion, will serve as Allegion Ventures’ managing principal.

The new fund will be managed by corporate venture capital firm Touchdown Ventures, which has offices in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

“Allegion is intent on being at the leading edge of discovery,” Martens said in a statement released Thursday. “We want to use our knowledge of how real people live and work to make security and access better in the future.”

The fund will not focus on Indiana companies, said Allegion spokeswoman Alison Zink.

“As a global company, Allegion will follow the technology and is not bound to any particular geography,” she said. But she emphasized that the fund’s president will be based in Carmel and said, “Indianapolis' thriving tech industry makes this the perfect time and place to launch the tech-focused fund.”

Irish industrial conglomerate Ingersoll Rand in 2013 spun off Allegion into a publicly traded company. The firm previously operated out of Carmel as Ingersoll Rand’s Security Technologies division. Allegion owns such security brands as Schlage Lock Co. and Von Duprin LLC, which both have manufacturing and research facilities in the  area.

It has also invested in several high-tech startups, including Austria-based Nuki, which makes retrofits residential locks to provide smartphone connections, and Austin, Texas-based Yonomi, which makes smart-home devices.

Allegion was also the lead investor in a round of funding for Avon, Connecticut-based iDevices, which works on connected-home technology. But that firm has since been purchased Shelton, Connecticut-based Hubbell Inc.

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