Cable heavyweights John Malone and John Risley have invested a piece of their personal fortunes in a young Toronto firm that specializes in multiscreen video user management.
Malone, chairman of Liberty Media Corp. (NYSE: LMC), and Risley, deputy chairman of Cable & Wireless Communications , have plunked down a combined sum of somewhere between $1 million and $10 million for a minority stake in UXP Systems Inc. , a small but rapidly growing privately held firm. The two entrepreneurs, who are also the two largest shareholders in Cable & Wireless, will become the largest outside shareholders in UXP, which is owned mainly by management and employees.
UXP executives said they will use the fresh investor funds to spur their expansion in the US and Western Europe, where they plan to open offices later this year. "We're not buying Ferraris for the whole staff," cracked Gemini Waghmare, UXP's CEO and founder and a Light Reading contributing columnist. "Our number one expenditure is on people. We'll be expanding our staff."
Started in 2011, UXP now employs about 80 people. There are plans to nearly double the staff over the next 12 months as the firm extends its reach into the two large new markets.
UXP officials also intend to use the new investor capital to augment their service capabilities in what they term the "user-centric, digital world of connectivity and connected life services." In this space, the company has built an emerging niche business with cable, telco and satellite providers with its MINT platform, which offers simplified user registration for any household member from any device, unified access to all services with one set of credentials and management of user profiles and taste graphs for personalization and monetization.
UXP boasts four service providers as customers now, including Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI), Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T), Cable Bahamas Ltd. and Cable & Wireless. It posted about $10 million in revenues in its most recent fiscal year, which concluded March 31, more than double its $4 million total the previous year. Waghmare said the firm is now on track to double its revenue total again to $20 million in the new fiscal year.
"We had a great year," Waghmare said. "And we've got a strong backlog of [work] and a strong pipeline."
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading