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DBJ covers the story of Texas Women Ventures investing in Rolland Holding

June 12, 2012

“Rolland”


With a little more than $1 million in fresh financing in hand, a 107-year-old North Texas company is looking to pull off a feat: Doubling its revenue in five years - again.

The new capital, which is mostly debt with an equity component, will help Dallas-based Rolland Safe & Lock Co. LLC expand its efforts to distribute and maintain safes that can count and manage cash.

The 64-employee company, which brings in close to $20 million in revenue annually, sells and maintains a variety of safes, vaults, locks and related devices for protecting people and property. It also designs security systems and helps customize them for its clients.

In the world of safes, those that can count money are increasingly becoming the Next Big Thing.

"The minute you have one, you can’t do without it," said Vicky Teherani, who was named CEO of Rolland Safe in February of last year. She compares cash-management safes to the ubiquitous iPhone.

Domestically, the market for manufacturing of safes will be about $891 million this year, and should grow to $1.06 billion by 2017, according to Nima Samadi, senior analyst at IBISWorld Inc., a California market research firm.

Over the long term, the field will be more of a steady performer, rather than one prone to rapid growth, Samadi said. But he added that business users of safes should boost their buying of the devices as the economy improves. "This is a segment of the safe market that's poised for pretty strong expansion," he said.

Rolland Safe has dealt in cash management safes for five or six years. But with more companies manufacturing the devices, Teherani believes now is the time to push Rolland Safe’s efforts to grow that part of its business. Among other things, the $1 million investment will go toward buying more inventory in that segment, she said.

Intelligence, advice and savvy

Capital is just part of the reason Rolland Safe opted in June to take the financing from Dallas-based Texas Women Ventures.

Founded in 2005, Texas Women Ventures is a group of investment funds that supply growth capital - primarily mezzanine investments of the type Rolland Safe received - to companies statewide and elsewhere that are owned or led by women. Other companies that have received Texas Women Ventures financing include DeSoto's Warrior Group, Garland's Karlee and Dallas' J.O.Y. Products Corp.

In addition to money, the funds also make available their 70-plus investors, who are primarily wealthy women who have experience in everything from marketing to finance and strategy. Teherani praised Rolland Safe's bank lender, Dallas-based Comerica, but added that Texas Women Ventures provides advice and networking that is important to the security company's future. "They have a lot of intelligence, advice and business savvy, so we can learn from them. That’s the reason we partnered with them... We have been doing this alone for the last 107 years, and it is a milestone for us to have outside partners."

Texas Women Ventures has some investors with high-tech backgrounds who will work with Rolland Safe, according to Whitney Johns Martin, co-chair and managing director of the investment organization. "This was a good fit for us, and a good fit for Rolland," she said.

In addition, the financing will result in Rolland Safe getting an advisory board made up of investors in the Texas Women Ventures funds. Members of the advisory board will include Julie England, formerly with Texas Instruments, and Maribess Miller, a retired PricewaterhouseCoopers partner, Teherani said.

Big Easy origins

Rolland Safe was founded in 1905 in New Orleans by Lucien Rolland. His grandson, Rick Rolland, opened a Dallas office in the early '80s, and the company later moved its headquarters here. Rick Rolland currently serves as president of the business.

From its beginnings as a regional player in the Gulf Coast, Rolland Safe has gradually extended its reach and now operates both nationally and internationally. It has offices in Mexico City, the Long Beach area of California and, of course, the Big Easy.

All told, the company grew its sales 100 percent between 2006 and 2011, while adding 20 employees.

A big reason why Teherani is bullish on Rolland Safe's future is its growing Latin America operation, which is being run by Rick Rolland. The Mexico City office has five employees and a warehouse, and Teherani says the business could open more offices in Latin America and Europe in coming years.

Teherani, who was chief financial officer at Rolland before her promotion to the top job, will probably hire another five or 10 workers in the next two years, including sales people and related support staff and customer service personnel.

jbounds@bizjournals.com | 214-706-7122

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