Groupe Viva closes $1.1 million funding round

May 20, 2009 by Dave Haynes

Congratulations to Pierre, Martin and the rest of my friends at Groupe Viva, a suburban Montreal company that is quickly expanding in the DS biz and just got the OK to announce a $1.1 million funding round.

The company is better known in the Montreal area as Sportech, but has re-branded itself to distinguish itself from the original company that got into DS as an offshoot of its sports event work.

Groupe VIVA is proud to announce the conclusion of a private $1.1-million round of financing with a group of investors including the Fonds d’investissement économique régional (FIER) Ville-Marie. This investment will help Groupe VIVA accelerate the growth of its various digital out-of-home (OOH) media properties, strengthening its leadership position in the Canadian industry.

Groupe VIVA’s main property, a digital place-based media OOH network where personalized content, local news and advertising converge, and established mainly in retail stores, public areas and health establishments in communities throughout Quebec, could literally transform the province’s local media landscape.

“We are convinced of the strength of digital media at point-of-sale and in the strong potential of Groupe VIVA’s growth plan,” said Pietro Perrino, spokesman for the FIER Ville-Marie regional investment fund, adding: “FIER Ville-Marie is delighted to support the growth of this dynamic company that is well-established north of Montreal Island.”

For his part, Pierre Gendron, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Groupe VIVA, stated: “We are excited to be able to count on the support of a select group of investors led by FIER Ville-Marie. Their involvement will not only help us on the financial side but will also be an important asset in the development of our business. This investment has also triggered job creation within our organization and we are actively pursuing the hiring process in order to strengthen our team.”

Groupe VIVA, which has operated under the name Sportech Media since its creation in 2002, is also unveiling its new brand image, a direct outcome of the diversification of its activities in recent years. Beyond its scalable technology, Groupe VIVA first and foremost offers its clients unique expertise in marketing and management of point-of-sale digital content that helps them effectively broadcast their marketing messages, thus optimizing consumer experience and brand positioning.

I know the funding has actually been locked down for a few weeks, and well in the works for a few months, and this money will help CEO Martin Lessard build out his team and expand the various networks.

These guys were clients at my past gig, and I liked them for a bunch of reasons. They knew what they didn’t know so they went out and got an experienced guy (Lessard) to shape and build the business (not enough companies in this space do that). They managed to win a much coveted and competed-for deal, as Quebeckers, with Calgary-based retailer Forzani. Calgary has about three French people (lived there for 13 years, so I know) and is more culturally attuned to Dallas than Toronto or Vancouver. And the Viva guys have successfully been turning the whole advertising screens in small retail thing on its ear, getting the small venues to actually pay to have screens in their stores.

On top of that they’re also very nice people, so I’m happy to see them doing well. These are guys to watch, and as evidenced by the work they’re doing for Calgary-based Forzani, their universe doesn’t stop at the Ontario-Quebec border. 

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