Should Akamai Acquire Signiant

Signiant is one of the leaders of high speed file transfer. The Signiant platform, also known as the Media Shuttle and Media Exchange, enables studios, post production facilities, distributors, and professional filmmakers to exchange large uncompressed media files between its own partner ecosystem, in a drag and drop fashion.

Whereas CDNs specialize in the download delivery of content, Signiant assist companies with media upload, allowing partners in different countries to exchange media files during post production, and distribution. Signiant runs its own flavor of UDP acceleration, which is faster and more secure than FTP. Signiant is growing at a respectable clip, however, there is one challenge facing it right now.

Signiant Background
  • Founded: 2000
  • Funding: $10M
  • 2008 Revenues: $9.2M
  • 2011 Revenues: $12.8M
  • 2013 Revenue : $15M (growing at $1M per year)
  • No. of Employees: 75
  • Product: High Speed File Transfer and Exchange of Media Files
IBM Acquires Aspera

Aspera, the leader is high speed file transfer, has been acquired by IBM. That leaves Signiant, as the last file transfer company of its kind. Signiant’s major problem is the small market it operates within. Aspera and Signiant command the lions share of the file transfer market. Both generate a combined annual revenue of $50M or less. Operating in a small market leaves Signiant with very few options. My best guess is that Signiant will eventually get acquired in two years, or less. Who are the most likely candidates to buy Signiant?

Should Akamai Acquire Signiant

There are two companies that are a perfect fit for Signiant: Akamai and Verizon Digital Media Services. Either one could build a competing file transfer technology, however, building a customer base like Signiant’s, is not as easy. Signiant technology is deeply embedded in the workflows of many large media companies. Here is a sample of their customer base: A&E Networks, BBC, Discovery, Fox Television, NBC News, 20th Century Fox, Digital Domain, Marvel Entertainment, ESPN, NFL, and on and on. That’s a very impressive customer list.

I believe Akamai is the best fit for Signiant. Even though the Signiant customer is an Akamai customer, an acquisition would deepen Akamai’s foothold in the post production environment, something it lacks right now. In a nutshell, an acquisition would enable Akamai to become a B2B CDN, by extending its product portfolio, to the studio and post production ecosystem. With a $10B market valuation, Akamai could buy Signiant in a heartbeat.