It’s a common saying that people who work in the events services are usually failed DJs or failed musicians. There’s some truth in that. After giving up on the music career, I started helping other bands with sound and later lighting. So on the road, I went doing just about everything as one did back in the day (early 80’s). Fortunately, I had somehow managed to get a degree in electronics prior to joining the circus.
After doing just about everything in lighting, I ventured into the world of video and spent the next ten years in product development at Barco, Martin Professional, and VER. There I got to combine my hard-earned ‘on the road’ experiences with my engineering skills. And a number of pretty decent products came out of that.
It was during this that I noticed how little evolution had taken place in power distribution. Today’s equipment and especially LED video (and lighting) requires more resilient solutions as well as proper protection against mishaps. Also, the requirements for personal safety had increased a lot too. There could be an opportunity here!
FIRST STEPS, TOUGH TIMES
After unsuccessfully trying to get some established manufacturers of power distribution interested, I teamed up with Erik, and off we went with very limited resources and many obstacles along the way.
Why the name ”StageSmarts” you might wonder. When we started, we saw many untapped opportunities, in video, in mechanical solutions, etc. So we wanted a name that wasn’t fixed to a particular product type. Eventually we decided to focus 100% of power distribution but we kept the name.
2017 – LAUNCH TIME!
We finally launched our first products at the Prolight & Sound in 2017. Quite stressful and with limited budget we took a small stand, drove the 1500km to Frankfurt in a small rented truck, built the stand and had some “interesting” mishaps including getting our truck towed away. But we were ready and got a very good reception, what a relief!
Later that year we got a PLASA award for innovation but it took another 18 month to get enough momentum and sales to stabilize the business financially.
ONWARDS AND UPWARDS
2018 was real breakthrough year for us with the Australian market opening up for us and getting our first external capital investment. In 2019 we introduced our midrange product line C-series which was very well received and remains our best-selling product.
Today we are 8 people at StageSmarts and while 2020 was a major challenge, we’re feeling confident about the future and the mission we’re on. Later this year you will see us launch new products, some smaller, some bigger, and some that you would not expect.
Thank you to all our customers worldwide – hope you will be along for the ride, we’ve only just begun.
Be safe, not sorry.
Written by Mats Karlsson; CEO of StageSmarts AB