We had a great talk with Bill Warren, president and COO of Dallas-based Reflect, this week and came away with a clearer picture of where this company is going and where he’s putting his emphasis since being named president last March.
Warren came into the presidency after retiring following 30 years with Accenture (Andersen Consulting) and then spending some time as an equity investor. As one of the seven majority investors in Reflect, the Board of Directors asked him to become president. (There are 50 shareholders overall, all private equity investors, with no venture capital.)
“Reflect has been a relatively quiet company in the past, and that quietness will change,” says Warren. “We’ve hired a public relations firm (hck2 Partners, Dallas) and are building a marketing team. We’re revamping our website, launching our new logo (seen here) and dropping the word Systems from our name. We’ll now be known only as Reflect.”
Warren wants to counter what he says are a number of misconceptions about the company, starting with the fact that, “We’re not for sale. We’ve never solicited bids, have prepared no prospectus, nor looked for new owners. We have had inquiries from corporations who want to talk to us.”
While, like any other company, he admits that everyone is for sale at the right price, he says, “We’re committed to growing the business. In August, we made (non-equity) partnerships with DMX and with 3 Seventy (formerly TXT4CRM).”
Reflect itself is a Certified Microsoft Gold Partner. Its proprietary platform, ReflectView, enables networked digital signage, interactive displays, audio and mobile solutions for business applications such as merchandising promotions, customer experience and in-store and assisted shopping. The flexible content management, programming, distribution and monitoring software allows clients to control the specific message that plays in each store – at any given time, in any specific region – from a centralized, scalable system that requires minimal operational management by the client.
DMX offers experiential in-store and new media services, including music, messaging, video and scent experiences. 3 Seventy is a technology platform and service provider of comprehensive mobile marketing engagement solutions.
“With these partnerships, we’re offering our clients mobility and other advantages, while our partners are taking advantage of our offerings for their clients,” says Warren.
“Our customers found the recent comments on DailyDOOH that ‘Target and Best Buy both pay next to nothing for the software that they have’ laughable,” Warren says. “Our revenues for the year are up 50%, year over year.” And profits? “600% over last year.”
Did we hear that right? “Yes, 600% over last year.”
We also asked about staff. “There are 17 people on staff at the moment, and we’re planning to hire another four or five,” says Warren.
Then why has the company been so quiet and rife to rumours?
“It was the culture of the company,” he says. “We concentrated on customer service and sales. Now you’ll see us more with our new website, appearances at trade shows, and being much more transparent. We want to ignite the business without burning cash.”
In an earlier (edited) email, Warren told us, “Because we haven’t communicated everything that’s been happening, it’s definitely possible to read bad news into Steve Nesbit’s and Jay Abbott’s departures from Reflect. They are both outstanding individuals. However, our news is great as a corporation and our clients are great testaments for the work our folks do and the quality of our software and services.
“I take full responsibility for the changes we’ve made to secure profitable growth. We’ll complete 2010 with outstanding profitability and free cash flow and we’re very much on track for a very positive 2011. Our software now powers deployments which reach over 3.2 billion consumers annually. We’re quietly engaged in a number of additional deployments and we will share information about them with the market place as the deployments become more self-evident. I assure you, they are material, important and game changing.”
And, Warren told us during our interview, “We will be challenging the industry. We are working towards being the best respected and most honest company in the business.”