Blackbird produces patented technology for editing and publishing video content in the cloud. It is used especially by sports and news providers. Since it is “cloud-native”, it removes the need for expensive, dedicated workstations, and can be used in a normal browser from virtually anywhere, on any device. It does not even need fast broadband, and consequently is very energy-efficient, as well as intensely practical for operators working from home or from live events. Revenue growth has accelerated in the past two years, and its first licensing deal bodes well for the future.
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- Strategy: Having started selling its product directly to end-users, Blackbird then moved to selling to OEMs. It has recently signed its first licensing deal with an unnamed major broadcast company – “powered by Blackbird” – and the next step is to launch its technology in the public cloud. The energy efficiency of its product is a major plus in an industry increasingly concerned about CO2 emissions.
- Progress: Blackbird has been around for more than 20 years, but it is only in the last couple of years that revenue has begun to grow significantly. The new licensing deal and the prospects for the public cloud broaden the potential of what its technology can achieve, and it is increasingly gaining industry recognition.
- Valuation: Blackbird is not a client of Hardman and Co, and so we do not provide either forecasts or a valuation.
- Risks: The key specific risks facing Blackbird are technology and competition. In any hi-tech business, there is the risk of being left behind by new developments. The company continues to spend on R&D to ensure that it is always at the cutting edge. It has many competitors, including some substantially bigger rivals.
- Investment summary: Blackbird is on the cusp of substantial growth. The £8m it raised at the end of last year puts it in a strong position to capitalise on the momentum generated by its first licensing deal and the even bigger opportunities that are available in the public cloud market. It has been a long journey so far, but the boost it received from COVID-19-induced working from home just might give it the escape velocity it has been seeking.