Groupe VIVA Gets $1.1 Million In Financing

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Boisbriand, Que.-based Groupe VIVA , formerly known as Sportech Media since its founding in 2002, has concluded a private $1.1-million round of financing with a group of investors including the Fonds d’investissement économique régional (FIER) Ville-Marie.

This investment will help Groupe VIVA accelerate the growth of its vivalogovarious digital out-of-home media properties, strengthening its position in the Canadian industry.

“This helps us pump up into second gear,” says Pierre Gendron, chairman and CEO. “We are an end-to-end solution provider, where we acquire the equipment, install, manage, develop content, create and sell advertising. However, we’ve concentrated recently more strongly as a content provider, to create a ‘Wow! effect on the screens. This investment will help us put more attention on all aspects.”

Groupe VIVA’s main property is a digital place-based media OOH network with a mix of personalized content, local news and advertising –
established mainly in retail stores, public areas and health establishments in communities throughout Quebec.

Groupe VIVA’s management believe that its next steps could transform the province’s local media landscape.

“We are convinced of the strength of digital media at point-of-sale and
in the strong potential of Groupe VIVA’s growth plan,”
says Pietro Perrino, spokesman for the FIER Ville-Marie regional investment fund. “FIER Ville-Marie is delighted to support the growth of this dynamic company that is well-established north of Montreal Island.”

Gendron says, “We are excited to be able to count on the support of a select group of investors led by FIER Ville-Marie. Their involvement will not only help us on the financial side but will also be an important asset in the development of our business. This investment has also triggered job creation within our organization and we are actively pursuing the hiring process in order to strengthen our team.”

The new money has already helped Groupe VIVA build its staff from 13 to 20 and the company is still hiring with the hopes of adding another 20 within a year.

Groupe VIVA is also unveiling its new brand image, developed in-house and a direct outcome of the diversification of its activities in recent years.

“As founders, we were a group of ex-hockey players and so our first clients were developed through our sports contacts,” says Gendron, who played professionally for the Edmonton Oilers. “But now we’ve diversified so much with groups like Groupe Archambault (music) and L’Aubainerie (clothing) that we felt it was time to show ourselves as more than just sports-related.”

Beyond its scalable technology, Groupe VIVA offers its clients expertise in marketing and management of point-of-sale digital content that helps them effectively broadcast their marketing messages, thus optimizing consumer experience and brand positioning. Sound and video are becoming a more important part of the content side of the business.

Groupe VIVA currently feeds personalized programming to thousands of screens within private networks across Canada, including Archambault, Cage aux Sports, Forzani Group (Sports Experts, Fitness Source) and Pro Hockey Life. The company also operates various digital media properties located mainly in retail stores, public areas and health establishments in communities throughout the Province of Quebec.

“Some of our recent moves have been to develop video walls for L’Aubainerie and Sports Experts, and to add new advertisers for our clients to help them increase revenue,” says Gendron. “For example, we recently signed contractswith General Motors and Poker Stars for Cage aux Sports. Progress like this really gets our staff excited.”

Gendron says that the one area that the company tried to handle itself but found too much and finally farmed out was research and measurement which is now handled by Ipsos Descarie, Montreal.

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