LED Signmaker Watchfire Acquires Digital Signage SoftwareCo Aerva

July 14, 2015 by Dave Haynes


LED signmaker Watchfire Signs has acquired digital signage software firm Aerva, in a deal that closed early this month.

Based in Danville, Illionois – west of Indianapolis and south of Chicago – Watchfire builds large-format outdoor LED boards, servicing everything from media companies to schools and communities.

I’d assume whatever software has shipped with Watchfire product was basic, so buying Aerva gives the company a top-tier, web services-driven platform no sales guy is going to have to offer up with apologies.

aervalogo“Aerva has an exciting set of tools that really push the capabilities of digital signage and real-time social engagement and we are proud to be able to integrate their technology with ours. Dynamic, interactive content requires compatibility with a growing number of digital channels and Aerva’s technology will allow Watchfire to broaden its offerings in this area,” says Steve Harriott, CEO of Watchfire Signs. “They’ve been a part of shaping digital content delivery from Times Square to your local convenience store, and their technology platform is world-class.”

Watchfire also picks up some interesting clients, including Anheuser-Busch, APN Outdoor, the US Navy, Beats-by-Dre, HTC, Taco Bell and Northeastern University.

Aerva will continue to operate with that brand and as an independent company from its Cambridge headquarters location, which has 12 people, including CEO and founder Sanjay Manandhar.

“Watchfire’s LED signs and digital billboards are second to none. By joining Watchfire, Aerva amplifies its ability to build digital display solutions for brands, retailers, and enterprises and provide clients best-in-class capabilities for engaging your audience, boosting your brand and extending your reach through digital displays,” says Manandhar.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Watchfire Signs has been designing and building signs for more than 80 years, and doing LED for the last couple of decades. The company has created more than 50,000 LED signs, and says it has more digital billboard customers in the U.S. than any other manufacturer.

Aerva was founded 10 years ago and came out of the famed MIT Media Lab. The company is still based nearby in Cambridge.

  1. Tony Scott says:

    I assume the sale was forced due to the impact of the recent settlement for patent infringement. It is probably a salutory lesson to all of us in the DS business to ensure
    that we avoid getting into this situation.

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