Hitachi Data Systems last year invested just under $1 million in niche company Spool Limited, which hoped to break into the rich media management market. Today, that investment hangs in the balance, with Spool going into voluntary administration.
Spool diversified from its core business of AV infrastructure and post production on the back of a reseller agreement with software developer eMotion last year. Spool was to take eMotion's media management software and combine it with servers from Sun Microsystems, storage from HDS and bandwidth from Optus to provide companies with a complete digital solution for film, tape, movies and photos.
The company was backed by Inventive Systems, the Australian research and development arm of HDS, which took a $950,000, or 19 per cent, stake in the company. In turn, Central Kalgoorlie Gold turned a $800,000 loan to Spool into equity, giving it a 10 per cent share. More investors were expected to come on board as the business developed.
On paper, Spool looked promising. Analyst IDC forecast the rich media asset management market would grow from $US117 million in 2000 to $US1.8 billion by 2005. Sadly, however, the company fell into liquidation last week, riddled with debts.
Accounting firm Lawler Partners has been appointed as the receiver.