Private Investment Firm Buys Majority Stake In BrightSign
October 15, 2021 by Dave Haynes
The PR kinda low-balls the story here, but BrightSign has new owners.
The announcement says the private investment firm Graham Partners “has made a significant investment” in the digital signage hardware firm BrightSign, but the headline on the release says Silicon Valley-based BrightSign has ‘accepted’ majority investment.
“The investment,” the announcement suggests, “is expected to fuel BrightSign’s growth initiatives to continue providing the most powerful digital experiences for a variety of high-growth markets including retail, healthcare, education, attractions, stadiums, and transportation, among others.”
BrightSign was sourced on a proprietary basis through Graham Partners’ Investment Theme Program with a specific focus on digital signage. This outreach ultimately resulted in Graham Partners investment in BrightSign. The company’s founders will continue to be significant investors alongside Graham Partners.
Among other things, that means CEO Jeff Hastings remains in charge, which is great to read, and a smart decision. Unlike some CEOs in this industry, Hastings knows his product as well as his sales engineers (or has done a good job of leaving me with that impression!).
“BrightSign is a leading, innovative player in the industry with superior technology and strong customer and partner relationships. Graham plans to leverage the company’s leading market position to continue its expansion into high-growth markets and technology partnerships,” says Rob Newbold, Managing Principal at Graham Partners.
These sorts of investments seem to normally have no end of numbers injected into the announcement, but in this case, the financial terms are not being disclosed. BrightSign recently announced it has shipped 2M little media play-out boxes, half of those just in the last four years. The company appears to have been doing super-well, so this was likely anything but a fire sale deal.
The company was originally a spin-out of Roku, which makes little purple media devices for consumer TVs. While they operate separately, the ties are tight. Roku’s founder and CEO Anthony Wood is also chairs the BrightSign board.
Will be interesting to see what BrightSign will do with the backing of investors who have committed more than $3B into tech companies over three-plus decades. There’s no obvious “synergies” with other companies in Graham’s porfolio, with the possible exception of a managed wireless firm called OptConnect.