Nashville-based KravTek Media could help trigger the next wave of global innovation in digital on-demand entertainment.
What's more, if the emerging company's projections prove accurate, by the year 2010 a KravTek electronic device could grace the living rooms of 3 million U.S. households.
However, none of that will happen unless KravTek first secures early-stage financing, and then manages to avoid plummeting into the proverbial "Valley of Death," the financial trough that claims many early-stage ventures.
At the moment, the company is focused on completing its phase-two proof-of-concept model, and plans demonstrations for potential investors and customers within 60 days.
If it can survive running the financial gauntlet, KravTek could give Nashville a key position in a global industry that's lusting for better ways to deliver content and services, when and where consumers want them.
KravTek Media's patented technology integrates wirelessly and seamlessly all digital media deployed by Internet Protocol throughout a home (phone, cellphone, security, TV, IPTV, MP3, DVD, DVR, Tivo, videoconferencing, etc.). And, according to KravTek, it does all this with "unbreakable" security, unsurpassed wireless-transmission speed and without any degradation of quality, despite massive data compression. On its face, it seems KravTek is just what digital-rights management (DRM) advocates and others have been waiting for.
On Wednesday, Co-Founder and CEO Ed Kaeser explained to VNC that the ultimate success of KravTek could hinge on whether or not the company can raise a minimum $2 million by the end of summer, in order to get its product to the full-production prototype stage.
After that, KravTek will need another $8 million for production and operations, sales, marketing and promotion. However, Kaeser said that if sales take off the way he believes they will, the company might well bootstrap its move-to-market by factoring its receipts. Kaeser said that initially cable-system operators and major developers of high-end single-family and multi-unit homes are the low-hanging fruit for KravTek. Each residential unit could yield up to $6,000 for KravTek.
KravTek Media and associated companies were formed more than six years ago by Kaeser and Norman Taylor, who is chairman, Chief Visionary Officer and primary patent-holder.
Today, KravTek's inner circle has more than a century of total tech and business experience, in environments ranging from the CIA and Ingram Distribution, to IMA Payment Systems and Ernst &Young.
However, not until January this year was the founders' sweat equity reinforced with loans with warrants from two individual investors.
During the past year, the management team has made time for a few scouting missions into midsouth Angel-VC territory. More often than not, they've been told to come back when they have the product and-or revenue.
Unlike similar companies in cities with heavier concentrations of tech companies and investors, KravTek has made its way without the assistance of such initiatives as the Kauffman Foundation's "Proof of Concept" program, and without access to the acclaimed Y Combinator seedbed, which is based in both Cambridge, Mass., and Mountain View, Calif.
KravTek Media President Marty Hilber acknowledged during a Wednesday interview, "we do think it's a race against time," later adding "we can't wait a couple years to get this out." The risk of market preemption is simply too great. Asked whether they might have to settle for licensing the technology to larger players, Hilber said, "We prefer not to have to take that option."
KravTek government services Chief Lonnie Hearne agreed with Hilber. Said Hearne, "We aren't the only clever people on the planet."
Hearne explained that the group believes KravTek could be viable coming to market "second, third or fourth," but they recognize the advantage in being first-to-market -- a goal they say they will achieve in early 2009.