(Bloomberg) -- The controversial crime-alert app Citizen is buying Harbor, a startup that gamifies emergency preparation and home security, in its first acquisition.

The Harbor app determines a user’s most-likely potential emergencies based on their location. It then guides users through weekly tasks such as stocking water and checking smoke detectors. 

Harbor also has a partnership with security services firm ADT Inc. for emergency responses. Its technology, such as weather mapping and risk prediction, will be integrated into Citizen’s platform, but Harbor will continue to operate independently. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Expanding into disaster response is a logical step for Citizen, said Chief Executive Officer Andrew Frame in an interview with Bloomberg News. “Anything that has a potential mass loss of life or mass casualty events - such as hurricanes, fires, any sort of natural disasters -- is a huge area of interest for us, because generally, all of the people that are in danger have smartphones.”

Citizen, which has raised $133 million from backers including Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund and Sequoia Capital, has a presence in 60 U.S. cities and 10 million users. A recently launched subscription service, which coordinates emergency response, has more than 100,000 paid and free-trial users, Frame said. The company has also experimented with in-person security and will be rolling out a slate of new features in May.


“We’re on our way to cash flow break-even,” Frame said, “without selling ads, without selling user data.”

Read More: Citizen app workers vote to unionize

A former executive of meditation-app Headspace Inc., Harbor CEO Dan Kessler will join Citizen as chief business officer, alongside all current Harbor employees in various roles. In November, Citizen hired the veteran Big Tech attorney Matthew Heckman as its first-ever legal chief.

Since its 2016 launch under the name “Vigilante,” Citizen has drawn accusations of enabling the public’s most paranoid and biased behavior. Last year, the company offered a $30,000 bounty on a homeless man who was apparently wrongly accused of arson near Los Angeles. The company said it tweaked policies after the incident. But Frame said he’s not ruling anything out, regarding offering rewards again in the future. 

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