Downtown-based Emagispace Inc. has raised $4.2 million in a Series A funding round intended to grow its product line of modular walls that can be assembled into various interior structures.
Its emagiblock is a singular interlocking unit that comes in different sizes for wall and space customization that the company initially targeted for use on film and television sets and is now expanding into uses such as retail displays and trade-show booths.
The mid-July round was led by Santa Monica-based investment firm Alpha Edison. Other participants included New York technology fund Circle Ventures; Jeremy Zimmer, chief executive of Beverly Hills’ United Talent Agency; and New York-based real estate private equity firm 54 Madison, among others.
Privately held Emagispace was co-founded in 2015 by brothers Noel, 49, and Clark Maxam, 55. The younger Maxam is an Emmy Award-winning producer, director and writer who’s worked in daytime television for more than 20 years, including on shows such as “Days of Our Lives” and “The Young and the Restless.”
He said he started toying with the idea of launching a business in 2012 after dealing with years of creative frustration that coincided with shrinking studio budgets.
“I first realized the need for flexible, reusable interiors on the sets of soap operas,” Maxam said.
Due to network TV’s somewhat contracting budgets, he said, it didn’t make sense to build sets that would be discarded after one or two uses.
“Not only was it a waste of money, it was a waste of time,” he said.
The company was self-financed by the brothers in the beginning and now employs 12 people. The designing, sourcing of material and most business operations take place in the downtown office, but the company contracts with manufacturers all over the country.
“If there is a film set that’s required somewhere in Georgia, I’d rather work with a local manufacturer to ensure deliverability and flexibility. This also helps keep our costs low,” Maxam said.
Emagispace subsequently expanded beyond film and TV production to target a range of businesses. L.A.-area clients include KCRW-FM (89.9), digital network Maker Studios, camera equipment store Sim Digital and film studio Sony Screen Gems. Maxam said New York cosmetics company Revlon Inc. has used emagiblocks to set up booths at trade shows all over the country.
Alan Reay, president of Irvine-based Atlas Realty Group, a firm that specializes in hotel sales, said the trend for prefabricated spaces is growing.
“The concept of movable walls is interesting,” he said. “I can definitely see this picking up speed in the meeting space and conference room areas.”
Maxam said the company was heading in that direction. Emagiblocks come in three sizes and cost $15.50 a square foot.
He said he wants to offer more to potential clients.
“We could get to a place where you could order a conference room or a booth that will come preassembled and ready for reuse over and over again,” Maxam said. “This is perfect for open-space office setups.”
– Shwanika Narayan
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