Find out how together, Vista Equity Partners and FWI are transforming the digital signage and communications industry.
In February 2019, Four Winds Interactive (FWI) announced a strategic partnership with investment firm Vista Equity Partners (@Vista_Equity). Vista’s investment strategy seeks out enterprise software, data and technology-enabled businesses that are looking to grow at scale. This partnership was formed when FWI was looking to partner with an investor that could help it achieve its growth goals and offer additional resources at an enterprise level, all of which it found with Vista. As the partnership nears the end of its second year, FWI is looking back on some of the milestones reached in that time.
David Levin, Co-Founder and CEO of FWI, discussed some of the company’s achievements in an interview for the 16:9 Podcast in September 2020. Reflecting on the company’s partnership, Levin described the company as proud of where they’ve been able to go. Changes made and following best practices had allowed FWI to lay the groundwork for the next phase of where they were headed as a company.
“One of the things we liked about Vista, and the reason we partnered with them, is that they invest exclusively in software companies,“ said Levin, with respect to the partnership between FWI and Vista. “They are known for studying best practices and figuring out what works best. We saw the benefit of being a part of the evolving growth process that Vista’s sixty plus software companies are all going through, are all figuring out what works best. For the 14 years prior to that, we had essentially figured everything out on our own. I was excited to have those resources available to us.”
Sharing FWI’s vision and understanding the importance of a growth strategy, Vista was the right fit for a partner. Utilizing Vista’s enterprise-scale resources would provide FWI with an advantage in the industry.
FWI’s executive leadership played a proactive role in responding to the pandemic. David Levin was one of 35 Colorado tech leaders who issued a joint statement regarding their companies’ efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. In April 2020, Levin also wrote a piece for Chief Executive in which he discussed the importance of transparency within organizations during times of crisis, encouraging organizational leaders to ensure employees’ safety and encourage collaboration wherever possible.
Additionally, FWI began offering all businesses free digital display content based on the CDC’s guidelines that businesses could use to provide their customers and employees with factual and up-to-date information about COVID-19 and debunk myths about the illness. This allowed businesses to safely communicate with their target audiences about the virus to not only debunk myths, but also to provide information necessary to maintaining healthy and safe working environments.
Since the partnership with Vista began, FWI has been able to grow the business and continue providing the best to its customers. In August 2020, FWI acquired SmartSpace Global, a cloud-based workplace solutions company that offers mobile and web-friendly resource booking software. This new offering available from FWI positions the company to offer its customers safer avenues to return to in-person work and increased efficiency through automation that can facilitate solutions to their most pressing challenges, such as social distancing, contact tracing, and real estate usage metrics.
“SmartSpace is quickly becoming a fully integrated part of the FWI platform,” says Levin. “The market demand is clear for solutions to solve challenges related to returning to the corporate office, and we see SmartSpace Global as well positioned to meet those needs. We really like what they’ve done with the product.”
In June 2020, FWI was featured as a vendor in ResearchAndMarkets.com’s Digital Signage M2M and IoT Applications – 3rd Edition industry report. The report detailed new breakthroughs in the industry, as well as predictions for upcoming years and company highlights for successful vendors in the digital signage industry.
Part of Digital Signage Magazine’s 2021 DIGI Awards, FWI was also recognized for its work with Ferguson, receiving the “Best Digital Signage Application: Corporate” Award. FWI worked with Ferguson to address the need for an enterprise-wide communications network, scaling across over a thousand screens across their over four hundred US locations. Working with FWI, Ferguson was able to tackle its previous network uptime challenges, replace existing content players, and deliver greater ease of use to their communications teams.
Vista Equity Partners, based in Austin, Texas, has roots in FWI’s home state of Colorado. The firm’s Founder, Chairman and CEO, Robert F. Smith, is a Denver native. Vista offers its customers a number of investment strategy options, including permanent capital, public and private equity and credit solutions, and uses its expertise in the technology sector to help its partner organizations succeed.
In addition to Vista’s commitment to the organizations in its portfolio, the firm is also dedicated to giving back to its community where it has offices and where its companies operate. The firm’s many philanthropic partnerships, which are aimed at providing educational resources for underserved individuals, increasing financial literacy for women and girls, and creating opportunities for underrepresented communities to participate in the performing arts.
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