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SVG Sit-Down: Inside Signiant's Acquisition of Levels Beyond With Mike Flathers, Jon Finegold, Art Raymond

30/11/2021

SVG Sit-Down: Inside Signiant's Acquisition of Levels Beyond With Mike Flathers, Jon Finegold, Art Raymond The deal combines a top media-workflow-software provider and file-transfer-tech supplier By Jason Dachman, Chief Editor

Tuesday, November 30, 2021 - 10:35 am

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This month, Signiant acquired Levels Beyond, the company behind the Reach Engine media-workflow software. The blockbuster deal bolsters Signiant's plans to expand beyond the high-speed-file-transfer technology it is most known for into a full-fledged SaaS platform offering a variety of media workflows and modules.

SVG sat down with Signiant Chief Solutions Officer Mike Flathers, CMO Jon Finegold, and Levels Beyond founder Art Raymond (who will continue to oversee the Reach Engine team as part of Signiant) to discuss how the deal came about, what it means for the media/broadcasting sector, how it will impact Signiant and Reach Engine customers in the near and long term, and what the industry can expect from this newly unified entity in 2022 and beyond.

Mike Flathers: It is very rare to find two companies that have very similar visions but also so many synergies.

How did this deal come about, and why does it make sense for both companies?

Flathers: We've known the Levels team for a long time and have worked with them on quite a few industry events. We also have a large mutual customer base, and we believe Levels Beyond's technology can help take us to the next level. This move accelerates our evolution to Beyond file transfer, and, while file transfer will always be at the core of what we offer, we believe that, since we have access to that data in order to move it, there are also a variety of ways we can add value acting on data before or after it moves and even when it doesn't need to be moved. That opens up a lot of doors. And, certainly, the Levels team has a lot of experience integrating with third-party tools and applications. We had a lot of synergies with where we saw the market moving as well as holes in this market.

Finegold: We have a vision to expand our offerings, and the team and technology at Levels are a perfect fit. The foundation that we've laid is in file transfer, and that will continue. As files keep getting bigger, we transfer more and more data every day. But what we have built is a widely adopted SaaS platform that's the foundation for our file-transfer products. We envision being able to take a lot of expertise and technology from Reach Engine and offer them as productized modules within our SaaS platform in a way that is much more accessible to the market.

Instead of building these big custom systems, you can easily adopt a Signiant file-transfer product and plug in these various modules for different workflows. We are looking to simplify and create efficiencies for our customers, building on top of our existing SaaS foundation.

Raymond: [Levels Beyond was] doing a lot of work with mutual clients, and the world just kept evolving rapidly. We're seeing [clients] focus more on automation cycles and big-pipeline moves. We have a mutual client that literally is taking thousands of clips on weekends and moving them in pipelines out to organizational members and individuals while tracking individuals and moving the content in the pipeline back.

We were looking into the future, and we knew we needed to be part of a bigger home. We saw [that] Signiant saw the market with that same vision. In some areas, they were ahead of us, and there was a lot of common ground. It just made a lot of sense for everyone involved.

Art Raymond: I think, when [current Reach Engine users] see our future roadmap, they're going to be very excited.

What does this deal mean for current Reach Engine users?

Raymond: First and foremost, the team at Signiant has committed to support all existing clients as they are today. We're simply going to work towards the mutual vision of the next generation. And we're very conscious about working side-by-side. As new features and services come up, we're going to be very thoughtful about how that impacts the current Reach Engine clients and the current services that are in Reach. I think, when [current Reach Engine users] see our future roadmap, they're going to be very excited.

Flathers: We're taking a very calculated approach to this. While we plan on moving as fast as we can, we aren't going to leave any of the current users high and dry. We have this Signiant SaaS platform that is the basis for everything. But then, we also have these pieces of technology that we're working on internally as well as technology that Levels was working on. We see it as two sets of train tracks that are merging and eventually will be the same track. We're committed to providing a path for the current Reach users to stay on their track but also to merge onto this other track in a very easy fashion if they wish.

What does this deal mean for Signiant users who aren't familiar with Levels Beyond and Reach Engine?

Flathers: We will bring several core modules of the Reach Engine platform onto the Signiant platform. Earlier in the year, we acquired Lesspain Software and are bringing that technology to the Signiant SaaS platform. We have some exciting announcements coming in early 2022 on that front, and we will follow a similar path with Reach Engine technology, making capabilities available on the platform to customers who already leverage our file-transfer products.

We've taken the Lesspain technology and built it into the [Signiant] platform to parse metadata, generate proxies, and those kinds of things. Modules like this will be a core part of our SaaS platform moving forward. Key components of the Reach Engine platform will also show up in the Signiant platform as a platfo
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