Alex Terpstra
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Alex Terpstra and four others spun-out of Philips to build an incubator project to a full company. They attracted an investor and bought two other companies to eventually grow to a company with 155 employees. Now, the final chapter to the company’s book has been written. Along the way, they won an an emmy for their technology which applies a watermark to film and split the company up in three seperate divisions, which were seperately sold over a period of two years. “We are closing the book on Civolution.”

The ex-Philips project turned company was named Civolution. From then on, it became clear that it eventually would be sold when an investor came to the company.  “We then could follow a few different paths; Go public, which was hard for Tech-companies in those days, go into a second round of investments or search for a buyer”, Terpstra says.

By the time Civolution had grown enough to start looking for a buyer there seemed to be little suitable ones that would help grow all of Civolutions technology. “There were some parties which would help develop part of what we did, but none would grow of all business ánd make sure our staff had a role to play in the new form.”

And so the company was chopped up in three seperate divisions in 2013 and Civolutions started looking for a buyer for each division. In December 2014 a first buyer was found: Kantar Media bought Civolutions Audio Watermarking Unit, in Juli 2015 Teletrax TV Analytics was purchased by 4C and by July 2016 the final branch (Nexguard Forensic Watermarking) was taken over by Kudelski Group.

This exit-trilogy was not a conventional or easy way to go. First of all there was a lot of paperwork required to split the company three ways. Second of all, you have to go through the process of selling not once but three times.”

There was little doubt on whether the Swiss Kudelski Group would be a suitable buyer according to Terpstra.  “Kudelski’s market is mainly based in the US, where part of our team is already. We wanted to find a good home for our technology as well as our techology. The fact that we won an emmy for our work didn’t exactly harm the negotiations neither.”

The final chapter is written.

New idea
The companies are now out of Terpstra’s hands. “We close the book on Civolutions, by selling Nexguard, the final chapter was written. I’m glad it happened this way.” Terpstra will remain active with 4C, the company that bought Teletrax in 2015.

4C will mainly focus on personalised television commercials. “The same way it already happens on social media. Somewhere in the future, the man living in appartment A, will be receiving a different commercial than the man in Appartment B, while they are watching the same show. It will al be based on personal preferences.”

It’s the newest innovation Terpstra is involved in. But it won’t be the last. “I will always keep my ear on the ground for new ideas. Right now, my focus is with 4C, but it is quite possible that i’ll be starting on my own again with something new, somewhere in the future.”