Emblaze – a story of what could have been

Emblaze used to be a symbol of Israel’s hightech success. It provides a plethora of technologies to telecom and mobile operators. It was one of the first Israeli companies to launch itself on London’s AIM financial market. Within 3 years, it had been upgraded to a full listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Just over 2 years ago, I met with a VP in biz dev in the Emblaze Group, offering him an attractive media package. Young, and proud of his arrogance, my host told me that the company had no need to push itself forward, as journalists constantly sought out Emblaze.

I was told that the company had raised around a US$1 billion in recent years. Despite continuous losses, the company was still cash rich. And out I walked.

Jump forward to this week’s news. Eli Reifman, the founder and president of Emblaze, owes around US$60 million and has been placed under temporary receivership.

Surprise? I checked the companies market data. The reports for 2008 show a 50+% rise in revenue, matched by a 700% drop in net income! Stunning. The share price has managed to regain its former level of a year ago, despite attacks from corporate raiders.

When I left Emblaze’s corporate offices after my meeting, you did not need to be genius to see that something was fundamentally wrong. I was accompanied by a savvy international business person, who was simply disgusted by what they had witnessed.

I sincerely hope that Emblaze will see better days. They have exciting new products, already on the market and generating interest. Elements of the software section of the group are performing very well. 

And yet, you really get the feeling that if the top team had led with a little less pride and with more respect for old fashioned commercial practices, Mr Reifman and his colleagues would be in a far more healthier position today.

Funny how this story reminds you of many former giants who have diasppeaered recently from the global commercial map.

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2 Comments on “Emblaze – a story of what could have been”

  1. jamezx Says:

    Dear Michael,

    I read your article about Emblaze on your website Afternnon Tea in Jerusalem and found your comments very apt. ( https://michaelhoresh.wordpress.com/2009/05/31/emblaze-a-story-of-what-could-have-been/ )

    However since then Emblaze innovation arm has announced the fruits of their research in partnership with Access Company Ltd and Sharp Corporation of Japan the Else Intuition smartphone.
    http://alp.access-company.com/ELSE/index.html

    The ELSE Intuition is expected to be on commercial sale in the Q2 next year. Maybe you will be write another article about Emblaze as they appear to be approaching better days very soon, Access Company Ltd will be showing the Else Intuiition at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on the 15-18 February 2010

    http://www.mobileworldcongress.com/exhibition/whos_exhibiting.htm

    Colin

    • Michael Horesh Says:

      Colin – it is always encourgaging to see how companies turn themselves round. My comments were primarily directed towards management and corporate culture, and I am wondering how much they have altered over the past year. I have a feeling that is what will determine the view of investors and not just market dynamics.


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