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Capital Summit rises to challenge myths about AV investment

The second annual ISE Capital Summit took place yesterday at the RAI, bringing together AV manufacturers, distributors and technology developers with strategic investors and private equity funds.

Moderator John Stiernberg of Stiernberg Consulting described the Capital Summit as “a forum for both buyers and sellers.”

In a discussion co-moderated by Stiernberg and John Bowen of MediaBridge Capital Advisors, a panel of both strategic and financial investors were called to share their experience on three main themes.

The panel included Barco’s Wim Buyens, Hans Swinnen of Audioprof Group International, Shure Incorporated’s Brian Woodland,

Neil MacTaggart of Media Asset Capital, Axel Coustere of The Hub Exchange and Harman International’s David Leverett.

First up for discussion was the market itself and the impact of socioeconomic conditions and changes in technology. The panel was invited to share their outlook for future, how they see the business and technical trends changing in the next few years and how that might affect their investment strategies.

“Our industry is not tied to the stock market, because there are so many private companies in the AV industry worldwide,” said Stiernberg, as part of this discussion. “So while stock market index values like the Dow Jones or the London Stock Exchange are interesting to note, they don’t really have as much impact on how investors make decisions in AV, as they would in other industries where there are far more public companies.

So many of the entrepreneurs in the audience today are small to medium private companies who think that all the investors are looking for are public companies, or the opportunity to invest early and go quickly to an IPO. But it’s not true. We want to break that myth.”

Moving on, the panellists shared ‘war stories’ of their experiences of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) – what deals and transactions went well and why, and which did not – and gave advice on how the latter could be avoided.

The third section of the discussion was ‘advice for entrepreneurs’, where the panellists gave tips for pitching or presenting to a well qualified investor, as well as some do’s and don’ts for the world of investment capital and M&A.

An interactive Q&A followed, with a community-building networking session rounding off the day.