NLA Ends Deem Agreement As Founder Patrick Grady Exits

Posted on April 20, 2016 by Tom Halligan - Also by this author - About the author

Deem Founder and CEO Patrick Grady, pictured here in March 2015 at the International LCT Show in Las Vegas, has left the company he founded in 2000.
Deem Founder and CEO Patrick Grady, pictured here in March 2015 at the International LCT Show in Las Vegas, has left the company he founded in 2000.
SAN FRANCISCO — Deem, a provider of cloud and mobile applications for the private ground transportation industry along with end-to-end reservations and back-office management, has announced the departure of company founder and CEO Patrick Grady.

Grady's exit coincides with Deem investors announcing $34 million in new funding to shore up its core products of travel, expense, and ground transportation technologies.

Meanwhile, the National Limousine Association (NLA) Board of Directors made public on April 20 it had unanimously voted Feb. 28 to terminate its agreement with Deem, which the two parties had signed in July 2015.

The NLA agreement, formally called the Deem Marketing Agreement, was established to form an alliance to boost the chauffeured ground transportation industry by deploying a preferred technology platform for members to counter TNC competition and improve customer pre-arranged and on-demand reservations.

This decision was not made lightly, according to the NLA in a statement released April 20. “The NLA entered the agreement with Deem with high expectations. Because the Board's primary focus was, and always will be, the best interests of the membership, the board terminated the agreement when this partnership was no longer in alignment with that goal,” the statement said. "The NLA, as always, will continue to work toward protecting the industry, providing value to members, and acting in good faith. We appreciate the constant support of the membership and your trust in the Board to do what is right in order to advance and protect the chauffeured ground transportation industry.”  

NLA President Gary Buffo added, “When the NLA Board decided last year to enter into a partnership with Deem, our intention was to protect and advance the chauffeured ground transportation industry. Unfortunately, we were let down and dissolving the agreement was the best course of action the Board could have taken to continue protecting our members.”

Deem Investment

Mike Daly, Deem vice president of travel & car services, said in a statement this week the technology provider has secured a new funding round of $34 million led by existing investors PointGuard Ventures and Hony Capital. In Silicon Valley, PointGuard Ventures has an exceptional track record of 13 IPOs and many successful M&A exits across 50 companies. Hony Capital is a $10 billion private equity and investment fund. With this round, it has sufficient capital to move well into the future.

Along with the closing of the financing, the company changed leadership, with Grady moving on to spend more time with his family and pursue new activities. Grady -- who was not immediately available for comment today, but indicated he would answer email questions -- gained visibility in the limousine industry in 2015 as a State of the Industry speaker at last year's International LCT Show, and as a technnology presenter during the annual LCT Leadership Summit.

Replacing Grady are Krish Panu, Chairman of the Board and Managing Partner at PointGuard Ventures, who will become Chairman and CEO of Deem, and John F. Rizzo, Deem President and COO, who will oversee daily operations. Most recently, Rizzo was a member of the senior leadership team at SolarWinds, an IT software company that grew from  $325 million to $505 million in two years and was taken private last month in a $4.5 billion transaction.

"As a business, our strategy is to apply this capital to more acutely focus on driving innovation more rapidly for the Deem products you are currently using and to deliver even more value over time," according to the statement.

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