CoVi raises another $15m in venture cash

Friday, September 1, 2006

AUSTIN, Texas--At the end of July, CoVi Technologies, maker of high-definition surveillance systems, announced a new $15 million round of funding. The company has now raised a total of $46 million in equity since its inception.
In addition to research and development, the money will be primarily put to use "expanding the sales and marketing effort here and in the UK," said Barry Walker, president and chief executive officer. The company's flagship product is its Crystal HD system, which combines high definition cameras, video management software and storage components to transmit high-definition images over an IP infrastructure (see "NAVCO teams with CoVi," on page 17).
However, said Walker, his company isn't simply interested in providing high-quality pictures. "The question," he said, "is, How do we create a solutions set instead of just being the next hardware deal that gets pictures?" To this end, CoVi has eschewed the distributors and instead has sales engineers working directly with integrators to help them present the solution to end users, and "help them understand their problems."
Walker admitted this approach is more cost intensive, but "My belief is that the legacy CCTV industry was fully commoditized for about 20 years," he said, "and now there's a lot of innovation going on. If you look at those companies who are innovating, they're all focused on solving problems, not hanging hardware."
But is solving problems profitable? Walker said it is: "We had a record quarter last quarter, we're going to have another record quarter this quarter, and our pipeline is growing exponentially."
The $15 million that will help that continue includes money from CoVi's original investors, Oak Investment Partners, Polycom, and Walden International, as well as new investor Centennial Ventures. Walker called his investors, three of whom sit on CoVi's board, "very hands-on, very supportive ... they're excited about what we're doing and they're very engaged."