The capital infusion also strongly positions Thinfilm to realize its vision of making everyday items "smart" while leveraging smartphones to bridge the gap between physical objects and the digital world.
Proceeds from the private placement will be used to fully fund a range of strategic needs, including the purchase and installation of roll-to-roll manufacturing equipment, ongoing back-end development, and expansion of the sales, marketing and software teams.
Thinfilm’s NFC Solutions empower brands to connect directly with consumers through the simple tap of a smartphone, effectively bypassing intermediary search engines, social platforms, online marketplaces, and group-sourced review sites. Recent case studies demonstrate that, compared to more conventional marketing channels, NFC produces higher engagement levels, generates more web traffic, and enhances consumer purchase conversion.
"The substantial funding secured in this private placement is a testament to both the opportunity that exists in the NFC solutions space and Thinfilm’s ability – as a market leader – to address the increasing demand among consumer brands of all sizes," says Davor Sutija, CEO of Thinfilm. "With sufficient financing to get us to cash break-even, we are now keenly focused on bringing affordable intelligence to billions of everyday items."
The capital raise follows several milestone achievements by Thinfilm over the past year related to operations, software and sales. These accomplishments center on:
- CNECT Platform – Launched in February, the cloud-based software platform fully integrates with NFC tags, enabling brands and digital agencies to connect directly with consumers, deliver targeted content and personalized digital experiences through the tap of a smartphone, and manage/analyze campaigns in real time via the CNECT portal. As of mid-October, there were 377 companies registered on the CNECT Platform.
- New US headquarters – The former Qualcomm-owned facility was secured in October 2016, features a 22,000 square foot state-of-the-art fab, and will house Thinfilm’s new roll-based manufacturing line. A grand-opening event on June 15 was attended by more than 200 guests.
- Roll-based manufacturing line – A dedicated Thinfilm roll-to-roll team is managing procurement and buildout of the line, which is expected to be operational for EAS (electronic article surveillance) tags by year-end 2017 and for NFC tags by Q3 2018. Once completed, the ultra-high-volume line will have an annual front-end die (NFC & EAS) capacity in the billions of units.
- Barbadillo NFC field trial and case study – In July, Thinfilm and Barbadillo announced the largest on-bottle deployment of NFC in the wine and spirits industry. The promotional campaign featured 126,000 "smart" wine bottles, integrated with SpeedTap tags and supported by the CNECT Platform. Results showed that Thinfilm’s NFC Solution generated 54% of brand engagement during the multi-channel campaign, produced 10x higher traffic than social media, and drove over 30% consumer purchase conversion.
- MMA "Smarties" Award – Thinfilm and Coronado Brewing Co. received a 2017 North America Smarties Award from the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) for technology innovations in the "Internet of Things – Products in the Market" category. Thinfilm has also launched other in-market deployments of its NFC Solution with craft beer brewers Oskar Blues and Amplified Ale Works.
- GSK field trial – This month, Thinfilm announced a field trial with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). SpeedTap tags were used to create interactive smart shelves that helped educate consumers on GSK’s over-the-counter product, Flonase. The trial was rolled out in retail stores across Canada.
- Thinfilm NFC Scanner App for iPhone – Thinfilm launched its NFC Scanner App for iPhone in September, immediately following Apple’s release of the iOS 11 operating system. Apple’s enhanced NFC support means that, for the first time, all major mobile operating systems support smart product and smart package interactions using NFC tags. Apple’s updated OS extends the iPhone’s NFC capabilities beyond Apple Pay by enabling supported NFC tags to launch mobile-optimized digital experiences with a single tap from iPhone 7 and later models. As a result, Thinfilm customers can now leverage NFC – through the use of conventional tags that fully integrate with the CNECT Platform – to engage directly with iPhone users and generate high-quality traffic from digitized smart products.