Equifire Works To Help Fire Protection Professionals Start Businesses

Equifire Founder and CEO Victor Corrigan

Victor Corrigan, the founder of Equifire (formerly known as Victory Life & Fire Safety), said that he had always planned to create his own startup. So when he learned about industrial service companies, he knew that fire protection was what he was meant to follow.

Currently based in Chapel Hill but focusing on serving the Southeast more broadly, Corrigan said that he created Equifire because he believes entrepreneurs overlook old-school industries, which in his eyes are still the backbone of the economy. He said you cannot ask ChatGPT or Alexa to change your tires or unclog your drains.

“Equifire gives fire protection professionals everything that they need to start and run their own business,” Corrigan said, “without all the headaches of running a business.”

He said that Equifire works to provide all the capital equipment and office services needed by fire protection professionals—such as payroll, human resources, legal and marketing—allowing their clients to focus on their own customers and developing their teams.

Corrigan said that fire protection encompasses inspecting, servicing and repairing equipment used by fire experts, including sprinklers, alarm systems and extinguishers.

“We basically recognize that technicians themselves are the ones serving customers,” he said. “So why don’t we give them everything they need to start their own business and help them make a lot more money than they are right now.”

By helping these professionals increase profits and by taking the risk of building a business off their shoulders, Corrigan said that it allows for their incentives to be in line with one another, because Equifire can only do well when its clients thrive.

Finding an investor/partner

Corrigan has partnered on Equifire with Mike Griffin of Griffin Brothers Companies, a North Carolina-based diversified family company that started from a single Charlotte tire store back in 1961. Griffin and his company also back entrepreneurs, especially those looking to launch businesses in the skilled trades.

Griffin is a Kenan-Flagler board member whom Corrigan met when Corrigan was accepted to Kenan-Flager’s MBA program at UNC, where he is currently in his second year. After building their relationship and working together, Corrigan said they eventually decided to partner on Equifire. Corrigan is excited to have found an investor who shares his common-sense approach to business and who treats employees and customers well.

“We really like industries that serve a critical need, will still exist in 100 years and where there’s an obvious opportunity for us to do something better than the way it’s being done now,” Corrigan said.

He said that many private equity companies buy existing fire protection and tech companies, but do not do anything different operationally except cut costs, which he said does not help owners make more money.

“I talked to a lot of technicians and heard about the problems they were facing, and they feel like they’re the ones bringing in the money,” he said. “Given that, we wanted to find a way to help them make more money, so our solution to that is just giving them what they need to run their own business and then splitting the profits with them.”

Corrigan said that all the professionals who work with them will run their companies under Equifire’s umbrella. He also said that they are currently in the process of meeting with and interviewing potential clients, whom they will call market leaders.

Right now, Corrigan said that Equifire is looking for fire protection professionals to partner with who are interested in starting their own businesses. He said they are additionally looking to acquire existing fire protection companies from owners who are not interested in selling to private equity firms.