- 20 years experience originating, structuring and negotiating lease transactions with start up, emerging growth and venture backed companies.
- Directly funded more than $175 million of equipment purchases for clients.
- Specialties: Extensive experience financing technology hardware to start up, emerging growth and venture backed companies.
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Technology Hardware Leasing
- The increasing speed of product obsolescence is changing the time frame for purchases and leases.
The speed with which equipment grows out-of-date, is directly linked to how often equipment is replaced, and, thus, affects the need for financing equipment. In many ways, it is a company-by-company philosophy on how they want to refresh their hardware. But, there is no doubt that, as technology advances, the obsolescence curve steepens.
This is evident in products like discs, which possibly have the highest obsolescence curve of any product. This is because of the rapid advancement in new technologies. This translates into more frequent refreshing of equipment inventory. A common lease structure in this industry, today, allows companies to refresh every two or three years. The longest refresh interval for many companies would be three years.
The rapid turnover gives companies the option to refresh in a time frame that let's them stay current and efficient. They also have the option to renew a lease for another 12 or 24 months, or they have the option to buy that equipment at the end of the lease for its market value.
- Big data creation in the cloud is driving equipment purchases for mega-storage needs.
There is no doubt that one of the biggest trends is the creation of data. Related issues include:
- What are companies going to do with that data, and how are they going to store it?
- Do they want to store their data internally at the enterprise level?
- Do they want to outsource that function to a managed service provider?
In many ways, cloud computing, which supports a lot of the big data market, still is in its infancy, and that market will continue to expand. The biggest players in the IT industry are paying billions of dollars to buy cloud computing companies to get a foot in the big data door. Then they are spending billions more to build out additional data centers.
These changes will create all kinds of opportunities for small product providers because the biggest players are not going to be the best choice for everybody. Combine the creation of big data with mobile apps, smartphone use and all we know about user trends, and we can see the cloud market will continue to expand through the foreseeable future.
- Hardware prices are declining.
Manufacturers continually compete against each other for market share and that is driving down pricing. You can buy a two or three terabyte hard drive today for a smaller price than you paid for an eight gigabyte drive just a few years ago.
Additionally, manufacturers continue to try to develop new technology to be more efficient. That can include less energy consumption or less cooling in the data center, which provides additional cost savings. All of this can have a significant impact on a company's bottom line.
One major service provider, for instance, recently announced that its new open computing platform saved $1.2 billion over its old model in the past two years or so. This isn't lost on the manufacturers that redouble their efforts to make more efficient products so they can continue to sell into those big giant service providers.
Such market pressures change how companies, buy, lease and finance their equipment purchases.
- Emerging, off-shore markets are expanding.
As the world becomes a global marketplace, more and more companies are looking to place their important computing infrastructure in locations closer to their customer bases. They want to provide such things as real plant access or faster Internet speeds with more efficient networks. This, of course, presents challenges for how to buy and finance equipment overseas. Leasing is one response to reduce risk exposure.
In addition to the United States, Amsterdam in The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, Singapore and Hong Kong seem to be big areas for growth right now. An emerging market that is starting to develop is the South American market – mainly Brazil.
- The growth of technology is reshaping infrastructure decisions.
There’s no doubt technology is a key driver in the marketplace right now. And with that, networks are growing their capacity, and more infrastructure is needed. Some of the growth is being driven by consolidation among wireless carriers. That spreads out to such firms as mobile app companies and Web hosting companies, too. In the meantime, not all, but many technology manufacturing firms are seeing strong stock prices. And such Internet-based service companies as social media companies are seeing strong growth.
Web hosting companies have enjoyed a lot of success, as well. They are updating clients to a re-occurring revenue model, and they’ve got a return on investment on their hardware of seven months. If they can lease that hardware over 24 to 36 months, it frees up all that additional cash flow for more sales and marketing activities.
In this environment companies will have to decide how they want expand, do their marketing, support sales and acquire needed equipment. A strong balance sheet provides options. They might pay cash, lease or do a bank loan for their IT needs.
Smaller operators and startups, however, are more likely to want to preserve cash for marketing and expansion plans. They may choose to lease their IT infrastructure to improve their cash flow.