In the beginning, there was Eric Rennagel.
Eric is the founder and CEO of MyMediabox. But this origin story begins farther back, before the company’s start. So let’s tap the rewind button to begin.
In the early 1990s in Los Angeles, California, Eric began his career working in Animation, Licensing and Television Distribution at companies such as Marvel Productions (Spiderman), and Tsuburaya Productions (Ultraman). Though the Internet was in its infancy and technologies were limited compared to today, Eric has always been a visionary, and he immediately identified a need for online product approvals and digital asset management as a way to help licensors and licensees be more productive. He knew first-hand how challenging it was to travel for foreign business and trade shows, while still keeping pace with approving product designs and delivering the latest updated style guide artwork to licensees, all while facing pressures to maintain high quality and hit ever-shrinking production deadlines and marketing windows. An idea began to take form…
Like many start-ups, MyMediabox was inspired by a simple thought: “There has to be a better way.” Eric’s experiences in a licensor’s capacity, and having “walked in those shoes” before getting into the software side of the business, made all the difference in genuinely understanding the problems faced by licensors, agents and licensees.
In 2003, Eric founded a company called Conecture Technologies, which would be the forerunner of MyMediabox. Conecture Technologies debuted its inaugural software solution, Mediabox, a cutting edge and cloud-based digital asset management system developed in-house, from the ground up for the Consumer Products Licensing and Media & Entertainment Distribution industries.
You might be wondering, who was Conecture’s very first client? MGM Studios’ Consumer Products was Conecture’s first account. With such a heavy hitter on board right out of the gate, many companies quickly followed. Within the first five years, the company roster had grown to 25 accounts, an incredible feat at a time when the vast majority of licensing teams were still doing business old school style. Remember all those spreadsheets?
In the earliest years of the company’s success, Eric and his development team had already conceived a detailed new product roadmap, conceptualizing future solutions focused on every aspect of the brand licensing lifecycle. The first new product on that list was launched in 2007. Mediabox-PA introduced a flexible, collaboration platform allowing licensing professionals to manage the entire product approvals workflow in one centralized, online location, promoting increased productivity without sacrificing design quality. It was an an instant success and an industry game-changer.
Fast forward to 2012, a very important year for this story. This was the year that Conecture Technologies was acquired by Jonas Software USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Constellation Software Inc. (a publicly traded Canadian company that today boasts a CAD $13 billion market cap). Eric and the entire team remained in place and continued managing day to day operations. The company name was officially changed to MyMediabox. Within months of the acquisition, MyMediabox saw greater than a 25% increase in new business and implemented 27 Mediabox sites for new clients like Earthbound LLC, DreamWorks Animation, Discovery Communications, Big Ideas, SMC Entertaiment, Seattle Aquarium, Elmer’s Glue and Clique Here, to name a few.
The acquisition gave MyMediabox the solid financial backbone it enjoys today, plus it ensured peace of mind for our clients. How so? Because Jonas NEVER SELLS a business. Our clients rest assured that, unlike venture capitalists funding a start-up tech company, Jonas is not an investor who’s aggressively pursuing a predetermined, self-interested exit strategy. MyMediabox will never be sold off to a highest bidder, never leaving our clients vulnerable to gross cost increases needed to sustain a new owner’s business model.
In 2013, MyMediabox added Mediabox-RM to its software suite. Mediabox-RM manages the entire contract lifecycle with automated workflows, availability tracking of IP rights sold/unsold, contract management, approved SKU inventory, royalty reporting, and so much more.
In 2020, MyMediabox launched Mediabox-SM for security tag management. This system integrates with Mediabox-PA, so that licensees can access and purchase security tags from vetted vendors in the licensing industry’s first and only marketplace, and so that tag placement can be approved at the same time as the packaging design. Mediabox-SM tracks the tag numbers per SKU, adding additional transparency when cross referencing with Sales Reports submitted by the licensee via Mediabox-RM.
Today, MyMediabox is thriving. We continue to roll out new products for our 130+ clients and their 55,000 end users worldwide, like the GDP (Global Dashboard Portal, available later in 2021) where users can access all their Mediabox sites, stats, tasks and notifications in one central place, and Mediabox-TM (trademark management, coming soon).
MyMediabox’s staff has grown over the years to 30+ in-house developers and licensing experts located in the United States (Georgia, Ohio and Florida), Canada, Iceland, France and Japan. Our partnership with Jonas Software/CSI, Inc. continues to be a great opportunity for MyMediabox to be a part of something bigger, and it enables us to offer a level of financial security to our customers that is unique in the industry.
It’s been nearly 20 years since our origin story began. In that time, the experience we’ve gained from working closely with brand owners has enriched us professionally and personally, and it continues to drive our passion for this industry. Some recent competitive entrants to the market today would like to claim that being an “outsider” is an advantage. But it’s doubtful that many licensing professionals would agree that a new company, one with little knowledge about an industry as nuanced as Licensing, could be more understanding of the problems, and thus better at designing workable solutions. By comparison, Mediabox-PA processes over 29,000 new projects a month. That volume of data means we observe and are learning, at lightning speed, more about this special industry every day.
“I’d like to say, ‘We’ve seen it all.'” says Eric. “But knowing this industry, I doubt that day will come — even with 350,000 projects a year flowing through our systems!”
Interested in speaking with one of our rockstar representatives to see Mediabox in action? Let’s schedule a live demo.
Or if you’re interested in MyMediabox but don’t want to speak to a salesperson right now, you’re invited to register for one of our new weekly webinars called “Streamlining your Product Approvals Process.” These webinars are held every Tuesday at 11am EST.
Excerpts above were previously published in the Licensing Source Book Europe: Spring 2021.