Jürgen Eichner founded VIA optronics as a developer of low-energy, high-performance LCD screens and displays in 2006. The company had an innovative idea but needed finance to develop the product and find customers. The first external funding was provided by Bavarian investor BayBG, and in 2009 the business bought the displays division of US company White Electronic Designs to give VIA a presence in the US market.
A year later, Alpina Partners invested in VIA optronics to help increase production capacity in Asia and accelerate international growth. The investment has paid off. Today, VIA optronics is a leading display manufacturer, making screens for personal computers, aircraft instruments and hospital monitors. In 2014, it generated revenues of more than €39m, which implies a growth rate of 140%. Alpina Partners since bought BayBG's stake and is majority shareholder.
To achieve our ambitious global growth targets, we placed particular importance on the experience and international network of our investors.
Jürgen Eichner Founder & CEO, VIA optronics
What did the business need?
- Access to international networks to drive growth
- Access to managerial expertise
- Entry into new target global markets to realise full potential
- Commercialisation of new technology
How did private equity backing create lasting value?
- Focused on using the best materials in the display market
- Acquired and integrated White Electronic Designs displays division, giving a foothold in US market
- Expanded manufacturing in Germany, the US, opened facilities in China; recruited Asian sales team
- Entered the consumer market and broadened the patent portfolio
What outcomes did private equity investment achieve?
- Established a global business employing 300 people around the world
- Achieved revenues of more than €39m in 2014, a 140% increase on 2013
- Reached profitability in 2012, a fast result for a technology start-up
- Established Asia as VIA’s largest market for sales (these now account for more than 70%)
- Became leading suppliers to medicine, automotives, defence and telecoms industries