Prior to the pandemic, BoxCast, in the words of board member Mike Marchetti, “was on a great sales trajectory.” The Cleveland company’s revenue and customer base were increasing, and a 2019 acquisition strengthened a core component of its business.
But COVID-19, with large in-person events put on hold and more people staying home, sped everything up for a business that prides itself on delivering high-quality, easy-to-use streaming services.
In December, BoxCast raised $20 million in Series A funding. At the time, the company had 56 employees and revenue had tripled in the last year.
By the end of 2021, BoxCast expects its headcount to reach at least 100.
“We’d be lying if we didn’t say that behaviors around COVID match quite well with livestreaming technology,” said Sam Brenner, the company’s chief operating officer.
Later this year, as COVID-19 vaccines are more widely distributed and conditions improve, in-person gatherings will increase. Still, Gordon Daily, who co-founded BoxCast in 2013, is confident that demand will continue to rise.
“It’s not like it’s going to drop off,” said Daily, the company’s CEO. “The customers we have, none really stop streaming once they start streaming, because people really start to depend on it.”
BoxCast has three primary revenue segments: houses of worship, sports, and municipalities and small businesses.
Houses of worship account for the largest portion of the customer base. That business was boosted by an October 2019 acquisition of Sunday Streams, a Florida company that was founded five years earlier and catered to faith-based organizations.
BoxCast’s athletics business primarily is made up of high schools and colleges that stream games, but institutions have expanded the use of the company’s streaming platform by broadcasting graduations, meetings and other events.
The fastest-growing segment is made up of local governments and small businesses.
“We see municipalities being a huge uptick of growth for us as we get to better understand that space,” Daily said.
‘The fun begins’
Now that BoxCast has received a major capital infusion, “the fun begins,” said board member Marchetti, who has an extensive history of working with startups.
“When you have more money, you can move faster,” said Marchetti, whose background includes leadership positions at Yelp and Yahoo. “You can focus on the product and organizational needs and meet those needs faster.”
Marchetti joined BoxCast’s board of directors shortly after moving to Northeast Ohio from the Bay Area in 2017. He said the company is progressing how he figured it would, thanks to a leadership team that he said is “strong, smart and cohesive.”
As BoxCast has grown, so has outside firms’ appetite to acquire a business that airs millions of broadcasts and has thousands of customers.
Daily said “it’s pretty regular” that he’s approached about an acquisition.
“There’s an inevitability to it,” he said of such a deal, though the CEO stressed that BoxCast will be patient.
“I can tell you when you take a $20 million investment, your new investor isn’t ready to sell you right away,” Daily said.
Carter Griffin, Updata Partners’ general partner, is now part of BoxCast’s five-person board. Daily declined to say how much equity the new investors have, but said his group still possesses “the lion’s share of the business.”
The approach — “building a great product and winning one customer at a time” — will be the same, the CEO said.
What will change, Marchetti believes, is the pace at which BoxCast’s growth occurs.
“This is going to be a great success story,” Marchetti said. “It already is for Cleveland, just with the jobs they’ve created.”
This article originally appeared in Crains Cleveland Business on January 17, 2021.