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Seedfunders invests in Florida company with gunfire detection technology

Margie Manning

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AVidea Group Inc., with technology that alerts authorities within seconds of a gun being fired, has won financial backing from Seedfunders.

The St. Petersburg-based investment group has committed $350,000 to AVidea, said David Chitester, Seedfunders CEO.

David Chitester, CEO, Seedfunders

It’s the sixth investment this year for Seedfunders, Chitester said.

Amid an increasing number of  mass shootings at schools and other public places, the investment is timely, he added. “Today unfortunately we have to consider investing in these types of companies. We’d rather invest in prevention, but this is the next best thing.”

The technology, dubbed Safe Zone, is the flagship product for AVidea, headquartered in Melbourne and led by the father-and-son team of Mike and John Anderson.

Safe Zone has small devices that can be installed in every room, hallway and common areas in schools and office buildings.

“When there is gunfire it alerts authorities within five seconds, right down to the room it is coming from,” Chitester said. “The system can even detect the caliber of weapon being used and alert authorities so they know how to respond.”

Alerts can be a call to 911, a text, or both and can go to security officers or law enforcement agencies, depending on the preferences of the company that purchases the system. A school can be equipped with the detectors for $5,000 to $10,000 depending on its size, Chitester said.

The company, which tested the concept at a private school in Melbourne, has $6 million in pre-orders, he said. Seedfunders’ investment gets them into production and installation. AVidea expects to begin shipping units by mid-January.

Two Seedfunders partners, Irv Cohen and Andy Charles, will join the AVIdea board of directors.

AVIdea will remain headquartered in Melbourne, but expects to open a St. Petersburg office, Chitester said.

Note: St. Pete Catalyst Publisher Joe Hamilton is a partner in Seedfunders.

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