|Shimon Alon has ridden his luck to position Attunity as a Big Data player on the rise.|
14 May 12 21:57, Shlomi Cohen
What three years can do! Exactly three years ago, Attunity Inc. (Bulletin Board: ATTUF) CEO Shimon Alon convened the company's longstanding investors in the cramped offices left to the company in Kfar Natar near Netanya. These were investors who had backed the company for many years, since the days when it was called ISG, the name under which it was founded by Arie Gonen in the dim and distant past. Alon informed the stunned investors that he was embarking on a last ditch attempt to raise money to give the company "oxygen", and that if he failed in that attempt, the company would die.
Attunity's share price was then around $0.12, giving it a market cap of $3 million, and Alon announced a rights issue at $0.12, adding that not only would he take up his rights, but that he was prepared to buy the rights of anyone who did not intend to participate. To sweeten the bitter pill, Alon also gave investors who participated in the rights issue an option for free to invest in the share at $0.12 for three years.
Yesterday, Alon made a presentation of the company's potential over the coming years in a crowded hall at the Oppenheimer Israel 9th Annual Investor Conference. The share price stood at $1.56, that is, 13 times higher than in the rights issue. Despite the many dilutions there have been since then, the company's market cap has soared more than twenty times to around $65 million, and some of those who attended the traumatic "Kfar Natar showdown" were in the hall yesterday, beaming with delight.
The way it looks today, Alon, who is not a software person, will sooner or later make a second exit in that field, after his dizzying success with Precise, which he took on as a struggling start up and eventually sold for hundreds of millions of dollars. Alon has a talent for management, and even more so for marketing ("I know how to package things right"), but he is also the kind of entrepreneur who has a lucky streak, and, just as Napoleon preferred lucky commanders, so investors should go with lucky CEOs.
Alon had a large dose of luck at Precise, ditto at Attunity, which is now riding the wave of massive investment, that is only at the beginning, in the various aspects of cloud computing, and in what is known as Big Data, two markets about which there was not a word in the survival prospectus three years ago, because they didn't exist then.
Since its foundation, Attunity has developed software tools that can burrow into huge databases, and it recently acquired a company that can deal with files outside of databases, such as video, Word, PDF, e-mail files and so on.
Alon is the right man in the right place to package these software tools right, after the development period. In that way, they will meet the needs of the giant companies selling storage solutions, smart data analysis and retrieval, out of the oceans of data that inundate us at every moment. They say that more information has been stored in the past two years than all the information from the start of the digital age up until two years ago, and the day is not far off on which more data will be stored than was ever stored before it.
Every click on Google or change on a Facebook page is stored and analyzed, and smart tools will have to be able to retrieve them now or in another ten years for one purpose or another.
Not heading for the exit soon
Last Thursday, at the opening of the Intel (INTC) analysts day, CEO Paul Otellini presented some amazing figures on data transfer on the web, from which Intel profits through the rising demand for server processors needed to store these data. According to him, every minute, 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, 170 thousand pictures are displayed on Facebook, 230 thousand tweets are sent on Twitter, and 204 million e-mail messages are sent on Gmail alone.
In my view, Attunity will not head for the exit any time soon, nor will it produce shattering results in the second quarter above and beyond what we saw in the first. As mentioned, it is at the stage of development of and finding the right "packaging" for its software tools, which is happening while it is in talks with the world's software, storage, and cloud computing services giants. This is in addition to winning a $9 million contract from Microsoft (MSFT) last year, which will last five years and will probably be expanded.
The results of these moves should be reflected in Attunity's financials from the end of this year, and along the way it also hopes to return to Nasdaq. As far as shareholders' equity and market cap are concerned, it already meets the criteria, and what it lacks is a share price above $3. Perhaps it will reach that price without pulling the reverse split trick, if in the next few months it signs sexy agreements that will brand it on Wall Street as a player on the rise in the hot Big Data solutions market.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 14, 2012
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012
Took a dogg's age but now 1.38 and outperforming other cloud stocks..yea ...
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