A three-year-old maker of CDs and DVDs has obtained its first round of venture financing to continue its rapid expansion.
Optical Experts Manufacturing (OEM) garnered $3 million in equity funding from Frontier Capital of Charlotte and Tampa, FL-based Ballast Point Ventures. Harbinger Mezzanine of Nashville, TN, kicked in another $5 million in the form of subordinated debt.
The money will be used to buy new equipment so OEM can continue churning out thousands of compact discs and digital versatile discs daily for entertainment companies, marketing agencies and educational groups.
Two former printing industry executives, Max Harris and Ray Zerrusen, launched OEM in 2000 after studying the disc business for a year, using personal funds and a bank loan to fund operations until now.
They now employ about 125 people in a highly automated Charlotte plant, where production lines run around the clock, seven days a week to reproduce, label, package and ship up to 120,000 CDs and DVDs every day.
They have invested heavily in security, both to guard the stacks of discs in their warehouse and to prevent the software code used to create the master files from being stolen. OEM recently was certified by International Recording Media Association for its anti-piracy efforts.
OEM claims it is now among the largest independent replicators of CDs and DVDs nationwide, with clients such as MGM Home Video and Warner Bros. movies and music. Industry experts call the company’s niche “overrun business,” meaning it contracts with clients to fill orders those firms can’t handle themselves.
Harris said in a statement that the company “is extremely well positioned to capitalize on the burgeoning demand for DVDs, as well as the industry trend toward outsourced production. The investment … allows us to pursue this opportunity even more aggressively.”
Optical Experts Manufacturing: www.oemdisc.com