Keeping an Eye on the Media
2005 Sales: $17 million
For Babak Farahi and his high-school friends, after-school activities like sports took a back seat to more urgent events taking place in their hometown of Walnut Creek, California. Their love of adventure and excitement kept Farahi and company glued to the radio scanner. At first mention of a fire or an accident, they would rush to the scene, capture footage and then sell it to the news stations that had arrived too late.
After high school, Farahi started a video production company specializing in custom video editing. While getting to know the industry, he noticed that news stations didn't record their own broadcasts, and he saw potential to profit by taping news shows, then selling the videotapes to the individuals who had appeared on TV. Multivision, created in 1996, also caters to large corporations wishing to track what is being said about them in the media. Currently, Multivision gathers information from more than 1,100 stations worldwide and creates tools such as DVDs, digital clips and transcripts so its clients can monitor, watch and analyze the information. Farahi's ultimate goal: to expand Multivision's coverage to include all broadcast stations worldwide.
Farahi was only 23 when Multivision was born, and he admits that being so young was difficult at times. "It is definitely a challenge when you're young to go out and hire a finance person who might have gray hair," says Farahi. "It's a challenge to make him believe in you."
Despite Multivision's eight offices nationwide and international expansion into Canada, Farahi has kept the company cohesive. He has established an intranet system to promote employee interaction, and organizes an annual sales meeting to bring all 125 employees together. He says, "We go for four days and work hard, play hard, and make sure we're all one company."
An Interview With Dan Kennedy