Mixed Messages from cVidya

It is pure speculation, but a run of peculiar events suggests that cVidya, the Israeli revenue assurance vendor, is up to something. Maybe they are tarting themselves up for an IPO or trade sale, or maybe their top team is in a state of flux. Take a look at some of the signals, and decide for yourself.

  • Management changes: According to LinkedIn, CFO Omer Regev recently left to work in California for an Israeli-focused VC fund, following Eran Wagner who had been President of cVidya’s North American Operations. In the meantime, Amit Daniel has joined in the new role of EVP for Marketing and Business Development. However, Daniel’s appointment looks like a revolving-door replacement for Elias Chachak, their long-serving VP (with no ‘E’) for Strategic Marketing and Business Development. None of these moves have been mentioned through cVidya’s normal comms channels.
  • 4-in-1 sales announcements: During the last 12 months, cVidya has only issued four press releases to announce sales; see their archive. In a February 2011 release they said they had four new but unnamed customers in North America. A press release this June talked of four customers in Western Europe; this release mentioned neither the names of the customers, nor made it clear if the customers were new. The other two press releases just seem to reveal the names of North American customers that were not disclosed in February. Why are they taking this peculiar approach to making sales announcements? It cannot be that they want to issue fewer press releases, so it must be something to do with maximizing the presentation value.
  • Peripheral marketing: Aaron Godfrey has been looking after cVidya’s PR for over a year now, so why has he recently spent so much time creating a tub-thumping Wikipedia page for them? See the page history here. On the other hand, their previously regular stream of corporate tweets went silent in January and has remained that way since.

None of this proves anything, but I think most neutral observers would agree there is something unusual with how cVidya is presenting themselves these days. Since cVidya acquired ECtel and delisted them from the stock market, we have no public numbers in order to analyse their performance. This means cVidya-watchers are heavily reliant on reading the subtext of cVidya’s press coverage and sniffing little bits of news wherever they can. Looking at the old numbers still in the public domain, we can see that cVidya’s January 2010 acquisition of ECtel saw them obtain ECtel’s strong balance sheet, but also ECtel’s burn rate, which was enough to consume all their assets within a few years. Now we can only guess at the current cashflows and balance sheet of the combined entity, though we do know the universal truth that no business can keep on losing money forever. It would be easy, but wrong, to add 2 (changes to finance and marketing management) to 2 (few sales announcements, with even fewer details) and come up with 5. On the other hand, sometimes saying nothing is worse than only giving upbeat messages which do not explain how and why a business is changing. Quietly losing a CFO, highlighting sales whilst being secretive about specifics, changes at the top of their North American office immediately after they report a batch of sales in that region… what cVidya is not saying is much more interesting than what they are saying.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.