Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Casting for a New Company: Former Lowrance Electronics Executives Form Fish-Finder Firm and the Units Will Eventually Be Made In- House in Tulsa

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Casting for a New Company: Former Lowrance Electronics Executives Form Fish-Finder Firm and the Units Will Eventually Be Made In- House in Tulsa

Article excerpt

Former executives with Lowrance Electronics are teaming with many other former Lowrance employees to launch their own line of fish finders.

JD Fathom Electronics co-founders Dave Craig and Jane Kaiser are trying to raise $15 million to launch the company.

The pair is working toward getting the privately held firm up and running. It will design, manufacture and market freshwater fish finders and Global Positioning Systems under the Fathom brand.

Craig said Fathom will employ 125 to 150 people by the end of its first year of operation. By the end of the fifth year, Craig said he expects revenues will be nearly $80 million, with more than $15 million in annual profits.

"JD Fathom" is a created persona, Craig said.

"This 'person' will be a seasoned fisherman who will be used in ads and fishing tips," he said.

The units will eventually be made in-house in Tulsa. However, because of the high cost of the assembly equipment, Fathom will locally contract out this process for the first few years.

It is critical that Fathom kick off the design cycle by the end of first quarter of 2011 to make 2012 sales targets, Craig said, because fish finders are seasonal products.

"Sixty-five percent of all the year's sales occur between December and May," Craig said. "The design cycle for a new product in this industry is six to nine months."

The Fathom fish finders will have large displays, modified for sunlight readability with Craig's other company's (G2D Technologies) proprietary LCD enhancement process. The product will have several new key features not currently available in fish finders at any price point, he said.

"Two of these new features are possibly patentable and four are trademark-able," Craig said. "However, the consumer electronics industry is very cutthroat, and secrecy is hard to maintain in the market."

Craig declined to go into specifics, saying the information was proprietary.

The initial product offering will be six fish finders; GPS and mapping units will follow in the second and third years. …

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