Thursday, March 17, 2005

Clarity Visual Systems Acquires CoolSign

Holy Cow! A display manufacturer acquired a digital signage network provider. Very Smart move Paul Gulick (CEO Clarity) - a man who understands the commoditization of displays and the desire to capitalize on digital signage recurring services revenue and intangibles associated in the digital signage business...

Other display manufacturers should take notice. Clarity lacks bureaucracy and is able to make smart strategic decisions.

Read the press release. We invite you to read our understanding of Adspace's history below. We report and you decide.

by: Webpavement - Digital Signage Technology Solutions

Adspace Networks History (important note: Adspace is a competitor of Webpavement):

Adspace Networks was founded around the same time as Webpavement - the late 1990's. In the beginning, Adspace was a technology provider with digital signage software. Adspace had a strong market share in casinos as they were based in Las Vegas.

As a result of the 2001 CAPV report on Narrowcasting in Public Spaces, Adspace felt the need to respond to the first report on digital signage. The report indicated that the top growth areas for digital signage would be (1) Theatres (2) Malls/Retail and (3) Convenience Stores.
A "build it and they will come" mentality prompted Adspace to move first in building out a network.

Adspace revised their business plan and went after venture capital funding to build networks in Theatres, Malls and C-Stores. The thinking was that recurring revenue from advertising would pay for all of the operating expense and hardware replacement cycles associated with operating a digital media network.
CoolSign is not profitable on a stand-alone basis, said Gulick, but he expects it will run profitably this year, adding to Clarity's profits.

Adspace business plan included the restructuring of the business in two divisions:
(1) Adspace - advertisement sales arm

(2) CoolSign - software and the 3 digital signage networks

Adspace Venture Capital Funding Timeline:
(1) August 2001 - Doll Capital Mgmt, Paul Alan small investment $14MIL (provided with the expectation to be cash flow positive by Q3 2002)

(2) 4Q 2001 - Doll Capital Mgmt $2.5MIL

(3) 3Q 2003 - Doll Capital Mgmt $3.214MIL

Clarity acquired the CoolSign division. We suspect the Adspace arm is the area of venture capital debt. One would think - however - that the VC's would not allow this to happen. How are the VC's getting paid for their investments (we don't know)? Unlike Adspace, Webpavement has been focused on technology from day 1 - the portion of the business Clarity acquired.

Note: Adspace and Clarity are private companies. This blog should be ingested with caution as private companies are not required to disclose financial/strategic information. Comments are welcome.

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