Via International Ceases Operations: High-End Home Technology Group in Receivership
On the eve of CEDIA Expo 2015, employees of Via International have been terminated and the merger of six high-end, high-profile home technology integrators has come to an end. Company is in receivership.
Via International, the bold merger of six high-end, high-profile CE Pro Top 100 home technology integrators, is in receivership after two years of operation. Employees at all locations have been let go, their hotels and flights canceled for CEDIA Expo 2015 this week.
“Despite the company’s efforts … the company’s financing ran out this past week and operating cash became unsubstainable,” according to a letter to employees obtained by CE Pro.
The notice said that “a group that appeared to be a promising source of new financing abruptly withdrew its offer. The company’s senior lender advised the company that it was no longer willing to fund the company’s continued operations and, as of Monday of this week, essentially froze the company’s remaining operating cash.”
That lender filed a receivership action against the company in Colorado state court.
CE Pro reported on Via's financing challenges earlier this year.
This morning, CE Pro reached out to Brad Whitehead, one of the founders and officers of Via, but he was (apologetically) unable to speak publicly. Whitehead was principal of the highly regarded Colorado-based Paragon Technology Group before it merged into Via in 2013.
Via had 20 “locations,” in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Utah and Wyoming, some of which were satellite offices for a handful of hubs.
The company was #4 on the CE Pro 100 list for 2015, which tracks performance for the 2014 calendar year. Via, the leading pure-custom integrator on the list (following Best Buy/Magnolia, Vivint and ADT), reported revenues of nearly $74 million on roughly 375 residential installations for the year. The company reported 375 full-time employees and expected to be up 17% in revenues this year.
Via had been laying off employees over the past several months. One who was “fired” today told CE Pro the mood was grim.
It is unclear, he says, if individuals will be paid for past work or if expenses will be paid. Insurance ends this month and no Cobra will be provided, he said.
“[It] is with great sorrow that we must advise you that the company has ceased all business operations today and your employment with the company is terminated effective immediately,” Via's note to employees read.
Via was a wildly ambitious effort to create a national high-end home systems integration business. Unfortunately, no such effort has succeeded in the past.
CE Pro will provide additional coverage at a later time.
RELATED: 6 Leading Integrators Merge to Form International Luxury Brand Integrating the Integrators: So Far, So Good for VIA International, Via International Seeks Funding; Founder Randy Stearns Moves On
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at email@example.com
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