Stampede’s acquisition of Just Lamps’ international replacement projector lamp business both streamlines the global lamp trade and provides the North American ProAV distributor with a platform for European expansion. AV News spoke to Stampede President and COO Kevin Kelly about the company’s global ambitions.
AV News has been associated with Just Lamps since the very early days. The story of how founder Dave Bethell sat at his kitchen table (or so the story goes) compiling a database of projectors, appropriate lamps and suppliers is now part of AV folklore. The fledgling Just Lamps enjoyed spectacular growth as the sheer common-sense of the idea took hold. Replacement lamps were a pain for many resellers. The cost of the replacement provoked incessant grumbling from end-user customers, exacerbated by a need to obtain the replacement in quick time to get the projector up-and-running again.
Just Lamps was pivotal in streamlining lamp supply, reducing the number of stages in the supply chain and, later, offering a ‘genuine inside’ alternative to OEM lamps to both reduce the cost to the end-user and to increase the availability of suitable lamps to ease availability problems. More than this, Just Lamps has assumed a campaigning role in the lamp business, petitioning resellers to observe the intellectual property rights of original lamp manufacturers.
The international growth of Just Lamps has seen the specialist distributor build a network of channel partners and customers that Kevin Kelly, President and COO of Stampede, describes as “formidable”. Kelly both expands Stampede’s global reach for its manufacturer partners while providing Just Lamps with new product categories to sell through its reseller network.
Kelly explains that: “Stampede is now the only AV specialist able to offer value added distribution in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.” Now that Stampede’s European subsidiary, Stampede Europe, has acquired all of the assets of Just Lamps (www.justlamps.net), including the affiliated Diamond Lamps brand, it has a ready-made infrastructure for building a worldwide presence.
Kelly explains that he sees the opportunity for Stampede as ‘bi-directional’, with a new market for Stampede’s North American vendor partners, some of which are arguably underrepresented in Europe, and similar potential for innovative EMEA suppliers seeking exposure to the North American market. Stampede CEO Mark Wilkins believes that:
“This acquisition should serve as a model for the entire 21st century ProAV industry. It brings together two companies that possess market leadership, proven business models, subject matter expertise, well-built sales and marketing infrastructures and combines them into one new global powerhouse that will immediately impact the way manufacturers go to market.”
Mutual growth opportunity
Kelly argues that the acquisition meets the strategic growth objectives of both Stampede and Just Lamps. “This acquisition instantly turns Stampede into a major global distributor that can offer our North American manufacturer partners an effective worldwide distribution solution that meets the Stampede standard for excellence in sales, service and support. This presents a huge opportunity for manufacturers looking to simplify their distribution programs by anchoring them in one global leader. They can now leverage the expertise of the world’s largest team of dedicated ProAV sales professionals that are 100% dedicated to the ProAV business.”
Bethell concurs: “It provides Stampede’s North American resellers with immediate access to the world’s best assortment of replacement projector lamps. Our team of lamp experts will now become part of the Stampede sales team and be able to support their projector lamp sales and support efforts. This acquisition really does transform the global distribution of ProAV products, creating amazing new opportunities for both companies, their partners, and their resellers.”
Asked about the timing of the acquisition, Kelly explained that Stampede has already commenced operations in Europe, with the launch of innovation new product categories including drones and drone video systems at ISE in February. Other categories of interest include unified communications, and low cost video conferencing. Bethell believes that the timing couldn’t be better: “Both Just Lamps and Diamond Lamps are strong companies enjoying a strong year of sales. However, we all know there is limited scope for dramatic growth in our market without significant diversification. The acquisition by Stampede provides us with the diversification we need to achieve our future growth objectives.”
Just Lamps will continue to operate as it has from its current UK headquarters in Thatcham. All of Just Lamps’ senior management, including Dave Bethell, will continue to work for the company. “For our customers, it is very much business as usual. We will continue to sell replacement projector lamps under the Just Lamps name. Over time, new Stampede products will be added to our offerings, which are certain to delight our customers who are always looking to build their revenue base.”
Kelly concludes: “Stampede has always been, and will always be, focused on identifying and harvesting new business opportunities that increase the value our resellers bring to their customers. The global landscape of technology in all of the vertical markets we serve will continue to expand, requiring that traditional categories and new technological breakthroughs be combined into integrated systems that meet the ever changing needs of customers. Our commitment is to always be there first, ahead of the herd, with the right solution that customers need.”
Kevin Kelly, President and COO of Stampede: “This acquisition instantly turns Stampede into a major global distributor that can offer our North American manufacturer partners an effective worldwide distribution solution that meets the Stampede standard for excellence in sales, service and support.”