Q&A: Rashid Skaf on buying Biamp

We began by asking Skaf;<br />
<strong><br />
What attracted you to Biamp?&nbsp;</strong><br />
<p>"It&rsquo;s been a 10-year love affair that has finally come to fruition.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s a company that has an amazing group of people that have built excellent products that customers have wanted to participate with for the longest time.</p>
<p>When you have a platform like that and a strong brand people want to be associated with, either as a supplier or employee or integrator/consultant/end user, that is the winning formula as far as I&rsquo;m concerned.</p>
<p>The culture - a family atmosphere - was one that attracted me, and holding people accountable for their results and still treating people with respect.&nbsp; </p>
<p>I love everything about the company.</p>
<p><strong>Does this deal make sense for both parties? For Biamp to be able to grow and for you because of your past AV history? </strong></p>
<p>You didn&rsquo;t hear about Biamp being for sale because it wasn&rsquo;t technically for sale. &nbsp;We approached them because of my love for Biamp, our approach was that we&rsquo;d love to take this company to the next level, and we want you to come along with us.&nbsp; So it wasn&rsquo;t sold much as they sold Biamp, more that we bought Biamp.&nbsp; </p>
<p><strong>Do you think you are a good person to take Biamp to the &lsquo;next level&rsquo;? Just how big is the potential there?</strong></p>
<p>The company I joined, Highlander, is an amazing company, but they would not have invested in Biamp if I was not there, under any circumstances. This is the tenth company I have bought.&nbsp; In that process, being able to grow companies, both organically and through acquisitions, is what I specialise in, growth is my main focus.&nbsp; We see Biamp being a much larger organisation as we move into the future, because we are going to grow it organically through product extensions and vertical extensions and geographic extensions.&nbsp; </p>
<p><strong><br />
Any ideas in what Biamp will invest the cash it now has? Bigger R&amp;D maybe?</strong></p>
<p>We will invest in R&amp;D but also invest in the distribution model we have and in our marketing.&nbsp;&nbsp; I think we have been a little underinvested in the way we deliver our message out in the field, so being able to do that to a broader audience is definitely of interest.&nbsp; When I joined AMX our international revenue was less that 20% of our revenue, when I left it was 50%.&nbsp; The same thing applies here, how do we take the great stories, messaging and people and deliver the gospel according to Biamp to the world. </p>
<p>Biamp has been an R&amp;D engine pumping out products, now we will have the flexibility we may not have had in the past to think of things outside of our comfort zone.&nbsp; </p>
<p>How do we move beyond our main area of network media distribution, into ancillary pieces that combine with those to deliver a complete solution.&nbsp; What is the outcome we are trying to achieve for our customers, and how do we own that outcome?&nbsp; &nbsp;</p>
<p>That doesn&rsquo;t mean we are going to preclude other people from delivering whatever it is that finishes off that solution, but we need to offer, like I did at AMX, complete end-to-end solutions, for whatever markets we want to play in.</p>
<p><strong>You were at AMX when you bought SVSi so you obviously saw the direction the proAV world is headed towards, is this deal an extension of that same thought process? </strong></p>
<p>If I was to take anything away from my previous nine acquisitions it is that I truly regret I bought SVSi when I did, as I would have bought them now. It&rsquo;s a good company, which manages audio and video over the network, and that&rsquo;s what Biamp is doing now is a different way with AVB, but the same principal applies.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s delivering content over a network.</p>
<p><strong>Given your long history at AMX, could we see some AMX people move over to Biamp in the future?</strong></p>
<p>I would love that if we have openings at Biamp that we need to fill. Some of those guys at AMX were with me for 20+ years, so there&rsquo;s certainly the possible of that.&nbsp; I love those guys over there, I now need to make sure Biamp is the right platform for the right people.&nbsp; </p>
<p><strong>Biamp has moved into video distribution with TesiraLux, how do you feel this product measures up against others in the market? </strong></p>
<p>AV distribution over the network is key, that&rsquo;s clear. The beauty of Biamp is that when we put out new products they are very well tested.&nbsp; I feel good about the first iteration of Lux.&nbsp; As we continue to evolve, my desire is to be less religious about protocols and they way we do things.&nbsp; Whatever our customers are interested in, we are interested in, whether it&rsquo;s AVB or something else.&nbsp; If is solves the problem that is what we are going to deliver.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p>
<p>I bought the company because I love it, it&rsquo;s not my intention to change the culture.&nbsp; We are going to speed things up a little bit, the treadmill will go up a few notches, but other than that I really love the culture that has been built here.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p>
Source: inavateonthenet

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