Todd Richard Pedersen

Todd Richard Pedersen
Founder, Chairman and CEO
APX Group Holdings, Inc.

Last Updated: 11/25/2017

Executive Summary

Pedersen is Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of APX Group Holdings Inc., the parent holding company and 100% owner of Vivint Smart Home (Vivint Inc.), a leading provider of smart home technology. A native of Idaho, Pedersen attended Brigham Young University but dropped out to continue building a startup company, with partner Keith Nellesen, called APX Alarm Security Solutions in Provo, Utah. At the time, the company sold and installed security systems. In 2006, the company became a home monitoring provider, expanding into Canada that same year after signing a $75 million credit facility agreement with Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs and APX Alarm completed another credit facility agreement worth $440 million in 2009. That November, the company acquired a central alarm monitoring station from Criticom Monitoring Services, a subsidiary of Protection One, in St. Paul, Minnesota. APX Alarm opened a new corporate headquarters in Provo, Utah a month later. APX Alarm Security Solutions rebranded as Vivint in February 2011, and in the same month completed a $565 million senior debt financing led by Goldman Sachs. The company launched Vivint Solar, a solar energy company, in 2011. Vivint was acquired by The Blackstone Group in September 2012, with the management team remaining intact. 

Personal Attributes and Interests

  • Pedersen is married to Andie and has five children.
  • He is the fourth of 11 children, and grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho, where he attended Idaho Falls High School. After finishing a 2-year mission for his church (he is a Mormon), he returned and settled in Provo, Utah. His father was an orthodontist. While attending Brigham Young University in Provo, he paid for his education by cleaning houses and installing drywall.
  • He has been named an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Utah's Entrepreneur of the Year by Mountain West Capital Network, and in 2014, he was inducted into the David Eccles School of Business Hall of Fame.
  • Outside of his industry, Pedersen has sought innovation in public education, particularly emphasizing use of the abacus in the classroom at early ages to strengthen mathematical skills.
  • According to a February 2014 Fortune article, when asked about Pedersen best advice he ever received, he said, “When I dropped out of college, my parents were kind of upset. My dad drove down to Utah and asked me what was going on. I told him I had an interesting idea for a business. And these are very simple words, but my Dad said to me, “First, if you’re going to run a company, you have to provide the best service you possibly can for your customers. Second, you have to treat your employees like gold. And then three, everything else will work itself out.”
  • Commenting about what he would have done if he weren’t working at his current job, he said, “I’d probably be trying to get a job here [at Vivint]. At some point, when I finish in the next 10 to 15 years or whenever I get tired, I’d like to teach business and entrepreneur classes.”
  • Speaking about his greatest achievement, he said, “I think my greatest achievement is that I’ve had quite a bit of success from a business perspective. At the end of the day I realize that it’s just a job, and it doesn’t make me special, but I’ve tried to stay grounded through my business success. My company was valued at $2 billion, but I started in a trailer. I think I’ve maintained great relationships with the people I’ve worked with through the years. Those things at the end of the day are what really matter to me.”
  • Asked about the one characteristic that every leader should possess, Pedersen said, “For me, I think it’s understanding the needs of the employee base. You can’t do anything without great people surrounding you and having them be motivated to set out and accomplish what you’re trying to accomplish. We have an incredible culture at our business, and I really care about the people I work with. I think you can force things to happen inside of an organization, but that isn’t lasting.”
  • When asked about the one goal that he would like to accomplish during his lifetime, he said, “I’ve always wanted to climb Mount Everest, but I just don’t know if I’m going to get around to it. I love anything adventurous like that, but it’s a serious time commitment.”
  • Speaking about his daily steps he takes to promote sustainability, he said, “I think from a business perspective, the thing that we’re doing is building one of the largest residential solar companies in the country. Solar is an every-single-day resource. I think last month we deployed 6.5 megawatts of solar power in North America.”
  • Commenting about what he does to live a balanced life, he said, “I’m probably as good as anyone at having a well-balanced life. A lot of it is scheduled between work and my wife and five children. My wife and I make sure that I make it to practices and games and performances and that kind of thing…” When I was early in my marriage, the first couple of years with my first two young children’s lives, I don’t really remember because I was so, so busy. I’ve been making more of an effort to stay focused on the family and turn the phone off for a couple of hours and pay attention to what’s here at home, because at the end of the day that’s what really matters.”
  • He added, “The interesting thing about me is that when I’m home — and I try to come home at a decent hour — several nights a week, after my children have gone to bed, I have people come to my house to do work late at night. My wife is integrated into that and accepting of my being at home. She’d rather me be at home than at work.” “I have kind of an odd schedule. I don’t go into work early every day. I get up with my children in the morning, take them to school, and I work out before I go to work. I usually get into the office around eleven [o’clock], then I work to six or seven, then usually from 10 to about one a.m.”
  • Speaking about his first job, he said, “My grandpa was the mayor of Idaho Falls, and my first job was mowing lawns for the cemetery in junior high. I was employed by the city at the age of 13.”
  • Commenting about is one unique or quirky habit that he have, he said, “I wear a hat every day to work. They’re all Vivint brand.”
  • His philosophy: “Green is good, but it has to be economically viable.”
  • According to a April 2016 Security Systems News, when asked about the lessons he has learned and their impact the way the company is run/managed, he said, “As a leader, it’s your job to look at the big picture and focus on the vision of the company, but I learned that when it comes to employees, the details matter most. The smallest upgrades in equipment and installation hardware can shave off significant amounts of time and stress for employees. Little things really do make a big difference to the people you employ.”
  • According to a February 2013 Forbes story, Pedersen jokes that his real reason for quitting Brigham Young University was the due date for a 30-page paper.
  • "From his earliest days in high school and college, it was clear that Pedersen’s academic curiosity was different than most," the Forbes article said. "He didn’t mean to be impertinent, but his questions were invariably along the lines of 'How will this benefit me in earning a living? How will this help to differentiate me in my work?' It was actually a job rejection from a pest control company that spurred him to launch the team that evolved into Vivint. Burned by the denial, he hired 10 of his buddies to sell pest control during the summer for the rejector’s competitor—Terminex. He ran the team from a single-wide trailer on a single-horse stud farm. His mother was his angel investor, loaning him $5,000 (he repaid her with a $6,000 check at the summer’s end.) The goal had been to earn $10-15,000 for the summer. He eclipsed the goal, earning $80,000 instead. 'I was interacting with the branch managers at Terminex, figuring out processes to deal with the bigger organization’s structure, which was bad,' he recalls. 'They lacked the ability to see the potential in what we were doing. We were bringing them customers and they were actually unhappy about it, because it was causing them more work.' Apparently someone caught on to the possibilities. In fall, 1992, Terminex called Pedersen back and asked if he could expand his team to 80 people. He said, 'Yes.'
  • Pedersen offers a few points of philosophy for other aspiring entrepreneurs, according to the February 2013 Forbes story:
    • Be Customer Driven – "Profitability is a by-product of serving our customers. We’ve always been driven by thinking about the customer first. Let’s see what the customers need and want, and then deliver it better than anyone else, and do it right. If we remember that focus, the profits will come.”
    • Be Dominant – “Our company’s culture has a very relaxed dress code. I’m known for wearing casual work clothes and having mud on my boots. But we have a strong culture around dominating. Everyone here expects to be excellent, and to continually do better than projected and promised on every front.”
    • Be Observant -  “What else is out there? What can we do better? How can we improve? Blackstone has been an excellent partner. Our vision for the future of this company is huge. They’re at least pretending they believe we can actually pull this off.”
    • Be Frugal  - “I’ve seen so many companies get thwarted by the expectation that as the company begins to grow and scale their incomes proportionately grow also. The founders and key executives think ‘I deserve a really nice house and a cabin and a boat, and a new car every year.’ They end up suffocating the business with their personal needs. I had two prior partners – and the one single thing we did best was that we never, ever put the company in a bad financial position because of our personal financial needs. We hardly paid ourselves anything until 2006. We had one dividend of $30,000 that year. But we reinvested to be sure we had liquidity. It was the best decision we ever made.”
  • Forbes in the February 2013 article noted, "There’s another new project on Pedersen’s agenda as well – together with four iconic Utah entrepreneurs Rick Alden, Alan E. Hall, Josh James and Greg Warnock, he recently launched a program to jump start Angel-level investing through a new funding initiative called Plus550. Plus550 is a streamlined funding program that provides high-speed and high-energy investments to fitting candidates in amounts that typically range to $100,000. Companies seeking additional capital can also benefit from the “50” additional co-investors that have aligned themselves with Plus550. Candidates provide information to the group via www.plus550.com.  Most financings close within several days of submittal and companies often receive a check during their first meeting. Plus550 has funded seven companies so far, according to Clay Andrus who has been working with the group since its beginning: Chargeback Guardian, CloudVu, Contact Point, Drop Ship, Marketecture, Right Intel and Salt Stack."

Current Focus

  • Company Snapshot: Vivint Smart Home (Vivint Inc.) is a leading provider of smart home services in North America. Based in Provo, Utah, Vivint delivers an integrated smart home system with in-home consultation, professional installation and support delivered by its Smart Home Pros, as well as 24-7 customer care and monitoring. Dedicated to redefining the home experience with intelligent products and services, Vivint serves more than 1 million customers, J.D. Power ranked Vivint Smart Home “Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Home Security System”. 
  • Holding Company Snapshot: APX Group Holdings Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the sale, installation, servicing, and monitoring of smart home and security systems, primarily in the United States and Canada. Its products and services allow subscribers to remotely control, monitor, and manage their homes from any smart device. The company offers homeowners a customized smart home that includes smart locks, thermostats, indoor and outdoor cameras, lighting controls, garage door controllers, doorbell cameras, cloud data storage and playback, voice control, a panic pendant, small appliance/lamp control modules, and an array of sensors, including smoke, motion, carbon monoxide, door, window, flood, freezer, and glass break. It also provides customer support, a mobile app, event notifications, and various weather alerts. In addition, APX Group Holdings, Inc. provides cloud storage solution, including the Vivint Smart Drive. It markets its products through direct-to-home and inside sales channels. APX Group Holdings, Inc. was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Provo, Utah
  • Business Update: APX Group Holdings in November 2017 reported results for the three months ended September 30, 2017. “This has been a year of significant change in our sales and go-to-market activities,” Pedersen said. “Our work to create a retail channel, specifically the Best Buy partnership, will yield significant scale to our business. The aggressive ramp of approximately 325 Best Buy store openings during Q3 2017, along with corresponding hiring and training activities, required significant resources and management bandwidth. We are working closely with Best Buy corporate and store management to integrate our activities and prepare for the holiday selling season with a commensurate improvement in sales productivity. With the introduction of the Vivint Flex Pay program, our sales professionals have a new set of product offerings and underwriting procedures. We expected sales productivity to dip during the Vivint Flex Pay transition, and we believe we’re approaching the point where we have recovered to our pre-Vivint Flex Pay momentum. These changes put the company in a better position to take advantage of the market opportunities in front of us. We’ll spend the remainder of 2017 fine-tuning both our sales and operational functions to prepare for a successful 2018.” APX Group reported total revenues of $228.7 million for the three-month period ended September 30, 2017, an increase of $30.3 million or 15.3%, as compared to the same period in 2016. Approximately $20.9 million of the increase in total revenues was driven by an increase in total subscribers of 11.2% and $10.4 million of the increase in total revenues was from the recognition of imputed interest and deferred revenue from the sale of products and installation associated with the company’s transition to the Vivint Flex Pay model. The increase in total revenues was partially offset by $0.8 million due to lower average monthly service revenue per user, also attributable to the Vivint Flex Pay program, and a decrease in revenues of $0.4 million associated with the wireless Internet business. Total  revenues for the third quarter of 2017 were positively impacted by $0.7 million from foreign exchange translation as compared to the same period in 2016. Total revenues for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2017 , increased 16.8% to $646.1 million as compared to $553.4 million for the same period in 2016. The company added 89,019 net new smart home subscribers during the third quarter of 2017. Vivint’s inside sales channel originated 31,059 net new smart home subscribers in the three months ended September 30, 2017, while the DTH channel added 57,960 net new smart home subscribers during the quarter. During the third quarter of 2017, Vivint received an average of $997 of upfront proceeds per net new smart home subscriber at the point of installation, an increase of $887 per net new smart home subscriber, as compared to the same period in 2016, which can be attributed to Vivint Flex Pay. As a result of the increase in the amount collected at the point of installation, the company’s LTM net subscriber acquisition costs per net new smart home subscriber decreased by $451 versus the same period LTM in 2016. Average monthly revenue per new user, which includes the recognition of imputed interest and deferred revenue related to the consumer purchasing of products was $67.42 for the three months ended September 30, 2017 , as compared to $68.85 for the same period in 2016.
  • Eyes Sale: Owners of Provo-born Vivint Smart Home are putting the company on the auction block, taking a dual-track approach that could lead to the company being sold outright or taken public in an IPO effort, the Deseret News reported in September 2017. New York City-based Blackstone Group, one of the largest private equity firms in the world with over $370 billion in assets under management, paid $2 billion for Vivint in 2012. Sources told the Journal that the company's valuation, including debt, could top $6 billion, three times what Blackstone paid just five years ago. Vivint began life in 1999 as APX Alarm Systems. In 2011, the company rebranded as Vivint and expanded into the emerging "smart home" technology market. The company specializes in smart home monitoring and products like thermostats, security/doorbell cameras and other devices as well as a mobile phone app that syncs with a proprietary operating platform. Vivint officials say their platform technology can learn and adapt to a user's habits, as well as make recommendations like maintenance reminders and energy-saving strategies. With 4,000 employees in Utah, Vivint is the largest tech employer in the state and has 11,000 employees worldwide. Last year the company earned revenues in excess of $750 million and currently has 1.2 million active customers. While once relying primarily on door-to-door sales to drive growth, the company has recently expanded into the brick-and-mortar retail market and is close to completing a rollout in partnership with Best Buy in over 400 of the computer electronic giant's stores across the country. A number of tech news outlets have recently reported Vivint products will also become available at about 80 U.S. stores operated by cellphone and internet service provider Sprint. Vivint Smart Home officials declined to comment on reports of the potential sale/IPO. A Deseret News request for comment from a Blackstone Group representative did not receive an immediate response. 
  • Sprint Partnership: Vivint Smart Home has partnered with Sprint to sell its connected-home devices in the mobile carrier’s retail stores, according to a report by Wave7 Research, Security Sales & Integration reported in September 2017. The partnership allows Sprint to combine Vivint smart home devices with its phones. Vivint has rolled out its digital home services to 16 stores in Kansas City, Utah, Arizona and Ohio with plans to expand that number to 80 stores by year’s end. “From time to time, Sprint will run trials in a limited number of markets on different rate plans, products and/or services to see how customers respond,” says Kathleen Dunleavy, Sprint manager of corporate communications. “Currently, Sprint is conducting such a trial and selling Vivint smart home services in a handful of retail stores across the country. As with all trials, once it is over, we will analyze the results and determine next steps.” A bundle of basic smart home devices from the company starts at $40, which includes cameras, motion sensors and more. Additional components such as indoor, outdoor and doorbell cameras will cost $50. This past January, Vivint launched a pilot program with Best Buy to sell its products and services in-store. Starting off at seven Best Buy locations in San Antonio, the partnership has since expanded to hundreds of locations across the country. Vivint also launched in June what it bills as the first comprehensive smart home solution designed for rental properties. The timing of the partnership comes at an interesting time, the article noted, as it was recently reported AT&T is exploring a potential sale of its Digital Life home security business. The service is estimated to have between 400,000 and 500,000 customers.
  • CEO's Perspective: On an August 2017 earnings call (a November 2017 conference call took place, but no transcripts are available), Pedersen told analysts, "As you know, we've spoken a lot about the Flex Pay offering that we have, which we think is a fantastic move for the company financially, great for the consumer. Now we can talk a little bit more in detail around actual numbers and impact to the company. We've actually seen very strong subscriber growth. We have kind of been on target for what we expected. This is a transition, it's a different onboarding process, different sales process, different to the consumer, although good for the consumer and a good model for the company financially. This is different and so it's taken a bit of time to get our sales groups up to speed on this. You'll see on the slide here, that our inside sales group which actually adopted Flex Pay first, is actually up 16% year-over-year in these subscribers. Again, the interesting thing here is our summer direct-to-home group is down 16% year-over-year, right now. Now, Q2 is very early in the season. The inside sales group is located in one building, very tightly held, easier to do training with a kind of oversee. They actually transitioned very quickly, rebounded very quickly from the old form of selling to this new process with Flex Pay. We are actually are very confident with the summer sales teams with the direct-to-home. They had some negative impact on volume, but we're seeing that recover and, I think, you'll all see that recover over time. But with that, we like what we are doing, it's simplified the kind of the pricing structure to consumer. And it's also made it so that 100% of our customers are now Smart Home. We had very high adoption previously, but this has simplified the process, very simple pricing structure - $39.99 a month or $49.99 a month, plus obviously, the financing of the hardware. But we're very excited with how things have gone. We worked hard and the teams worked hard on doing this. It's one of those important points of time in the company's history and we're glad that we've able to launch it properly. So - a very interesting result of the new pay structure - or the new pricing structure with consumers is we are now collecting cash up front. So in that quarter, we could collect $79 million of cash at the point of sale, which acquainted to a reduction in the acquisition costs of 2.6x. Now we're going to continue this is - again this was just being adopted, but you are going to see an improvement on that subscriber acquisition cost over time. But again very, very positive outcome and one where we have really never seen consumers actually paying upfront for hardware. And also another result of that is consumers are buying even more hardware than they had previously. And that actually is a surprise to the upside for us also.
    • "Another big project that we've been working on for some time, it's been announced, it's been in test, is our Best Buy partnership. This is a very important partnership for the company, from a lot of different fronts. It's a branding opportunity, it's a co-branded product. It's revenue sharing. It's cost sharing and it's pure cost sharing. And so we feel like we are completely aligned with Best Buy in incentives around customer acquisition costs, overhead commissions, everything that you could look at to say would be a cost or a benefit. We are completely aligned with Best Buy. And so we feel like we've got a great structure with them going forward, to make sure we maximize our opportunity. So the one thing that's a bit different from how our business has been is we do have some fixed costs. So we'll be rolling out to 400 Best Buy stores by the holiday season.... And there is some upfront cost because we are essentially a store inside of a store in the Smart Home section, and there's about a $50,000 upfront cost or expense per store to roll those out. And then there is some cost of staffing and overhead management but we're very optimistic about this partnership, the reaction from the consumers, how well the partnership with Best Buy is going and the future opportunities look great for the company.
    • "If you pay any attention to the Smart Home world and we do on daily basis, we've got the MSOs with do-yourself market, tech companies with all hair of products out of the Bay area. We - really no meaningful impact at this point with any of those groups, but we are paying attention. One of the groups that maybe has made a little bit more noise, as of late, would be Amazon. We actually partnered with them, so we're doing work with them. But they've also entered a little bit more into the Smart Home segment, which we actually view as positive. Really validating where we are, what we're doing and how we're doing it. In fact, Amazon is now around or offering customers and in-home consultation to help them kind of work through the build out of the Smart Home system inside your home, which is kind of mimicking the way Vivint does it. We think that's the right way to do it. But we are definitely paying attention to them and Microsoft and Apple and Samsung and all the others that are in this space. And again, no meaningful impact at this point, but we're making sure that we keep our eyes open. I am going to be talking a little bit later about some investment we're making in the company in innovation and some other things to make sure that we stay ahead and we stay the market leader in the Smart Home segment."

Biographical Highlights

  • Born November 23, 1968 in Seattle, Washington.
  • Pedersen attended Brigham Young University, but didn’t complete his degree.
  • In 1999, he founded APX Alarm Security Solutions Inc., where he also served as the Chief Executive Officer; APX Alarm changed its name to Vivint in February 2011 and was acquired by the Blackstone Group in September 2012.
  • In 2011, APX Alarm changed its name to Vivint, to reflect its emphasis on living intelligently through home automation.
  • Pedersen is also a Co-Founder of Vivint Solar, where he has held the following positions:
    • Member, Board of Directors (November 2012 - Present)
    • CEO (August 2011 - January 2013)
  • Pedersen is Founder, Chairman and CEO of APX Group Holdings Inc.

Other Boards and Organizations

  • Member, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints



Contact Information

4931 North 300 W.
Provo, UT, 84604
United States

801-377-9111


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