Stratacache Putting Big Focus On Asian Opportunities

February 11, 2013 by Dave Haynes


Riegel in his Dayton office, which includes Samurai swords and a photo of Gen. George S. Patton.

There are two companies in this space right now finding their way into the final consideration stage of many or most of the big digital signage jobs: Four Winds (who I wrote about the other day after its Forbes Top 50 listing) and Stratacache.

They are wildly different companies in terms of corporate culture, software design approach and business management, but both are doing really well.

Stratacache, like Four Winds, has main offices immediately outside their home city downtowns – the difference with Stratacache maks its home not near the Rockies but in the Ohio rustbelt. Dayton was for decades a major auto plant town, but is coming back now as a technology center, helped in part by having a huge air force base on its outskirt and no end of smart, available engineers.

The Dayton Daily News has an interesting piece out in its Sunday edition about the company’s growth and its Asia-Pacific ambitions.

Stratacache is rapidly expanding in the Asia-Pacific region of the globe in response to a massive rise in consumerism in the area that includes China, Japan, Korea and India, said Chris Riegel, chief executive of the Dayton-based digital sign and marketing technology company.

The Asia-Pacific region is a “wide open market” with nearly 3.9 billion consumers, at least a third of whom will be joining the middle class in the next 10 to 15 years because of strong economic growth, Riegel said.

Stratacache’s Asia revenues last year eclipsed those of Europe and are growing two to three times faster than any of the company’s other markets. “Asia is new opportunities one after another,” Riegel said.

Headquartered at 2 Riverplace, just north of downtown Dayton, Stratacache provides marketing technologies that include computer-controlled signs and menus for McDonald’s restaurants and sports arenas. The company’s products also include content distribution and video acceleration technologies for retailers and brands.

“There are multiple different ways that we can assist this growing consumerism class in all of Asia as a whole because you now have the build out of western-style retail, western-style brand in those environments,” Riegel said.

Stratacache has about 160 employees, including 55 to 60 in Dayton, Riegel said. He declined to disclose the privately held company’s revenues.

Stratacache in December appointed Stephen Choi as senior vice president of Asia-Pacific, a newly created role to meet the growing demand for the company’s technologies in the region.

In November, Stratacache opened an office in Hong Kong to support the company’s regional growth strategy, and provide sales and support services for its digital media and customer service technologies.

The company currently has five offices in the Asia-Pacific region, also including India and Australia, with a total of about 20 to 30 employees, Riegel said. Stratacache plans to announce the opening of several new offices in the region in the coming months, he said.

Riegel said the new offices will allow Stratacache to put “boots on the ground” in those markets and build strategic relationship with both clients and key partners, including installation, service and media companies. “You find the customers, you build the right alliances and then you build the teams in-country out further to be able to service those customers,” he said.

Stratacache IS, in just about every respect, Riegel’s company. He’s the CEO and is deeply involved in every account, spending most of his time in airplanes (he has his own plane and pilot, which saves time and money). However, I’ve spent time at his offices and met some very solid, senior people who bird-dog business, make things run and keep some very big clients happy.

Four Winds, as mentioned the other day, is growing based on a big sales team and effective marketing. Stratacache has a much smaller sales team and is pretty quiet marketing-wise, and puts almost all of its focus on the biggest enterprise accounts. While there are dozens of digital signage software companies, for example, that say they have McDonald’s a client, Riegel is the one CEO who can say it with a straight face.

I thought Stratacache was about 100 people, so clearly things are growing both in Asia and at home. I’ve only been to Asia once and that was brief, but everything I hear suggests I should start seeing how many frequent flyer miles I need to make a swing to Seoul, Shanghai and Singapore. LOTS, I think.  ;-]

Riegel is an an extremely sharp character who wouldn’t be laying down that scale of investment, and putting in the 14-hour flights, unless the prospects were real and big.

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