Spicer leaves VUKUNET; Vartian and HaiVision part ways
September 27, 2011 by Dave Haynes
A pair of well-known and respected industry guys parted ways with their companies at the end of last week and are now sorting out their next moves.
Graeme Spicer is no longer with NEC, having spent the last year shuttling back and forth between his Toronto home and NEC’s Chicago offices to build up business relationships for VUKUNET, NEC’s effort to develop and propagate a universal ad player.
The VUKUNET effort is now roughly two years old and, I think it is fair to say that while tangible progress has been made it has yet to really take hold in the marketplace. The fundamental idea is pretty much sound, but there are a lot of hurdles in developing relationships and getting technical handshakes. It is also really hard for a hardware company to be a software company.
Graeme has a pile of retail, strategy and digital out of home experience and insight and will be a good pickup for the right company.
Also now looking around and making calls is Raffi Vartian, who joined CoolSign a little more than two years ago and was one of the company’s two lead business development guys. He pulled the company’s deals together with Panasonic and Kodak.
Now part of Montreal-based HaiVision, CoolSign seems to be getting thinned out. CoolSign founder Lou Giacalone left about a month ago. However, another CoolSign exec, Leo Bull, remains with HaiVision.
HaiVision sells big dollar video streaming hardware and services and I am not sure how a software offer that has several less zeroes in the price tag fits into the overall sales plan and mindset. Investor squabbling pretty much forced CoolSign’s deal with HaiVision. The alternative was pulling the plug at that point. If I was a network operator weighing CoolSign as a software option, I’d be a little jumpy right about now.
Based in Chicago, Raffi’s a connector and very well-versed in technology and marketing. Like Spicer, he will be a great pick-up for the right company.