Source: Drylab Media Tech

John Mahtani and Audun Vaaler

Former Warner Bros executive John Mahtani has revealed further details of the plans for new company Drylab Media Tech, formed last week when Media Tech SPAC (MTS) took over Scandinavian outfit Drylab.

Drylab is a film and TV production SaaS (Software as a Service) platform, providing a software tool that creates tagged dailies with searchable metadata. Its services have been used by HBO Europe, George Clooney on 2019 series Catch-22 and Norwegian Oscar contender The Worst Person In The World.

MTS was formed by Mahtani last year. It is backed by RiverFort Global Capital Limited and last year raised £4.1m with a view to acquiring media and technology companies.

Mahtani (also the co-founder and former chief financial officer of Cinelab London) will be CEO of Drylab Media Tech. The company’s chair is another former Warner Bros exec, Rick Senat, formerly Warner Bros’ head of business and legal affairs for EMEA. Senat was an executive producer on the first two Fantastic Beasts films and also sits on the board of Cineworld. 

“The Drylab business first came to my attention in 2018. I was at [the Cameraimage] cinematographers’ film festival in Poland and their showreel came on before each screening…I was amazed by the quality of what I saw on that showreel,” Mahtani said.

Companies in a similar space to Drylab have sold for hefty sums in recent years. In 2021, frame.io was bought for just over $1bn by Adobe, while Moxion, the New Zealand-based developer of a cloud-based platform for digital dailies, was acquired in January by US software outfit Autodesk, which currently has a market capitalisation of $46.9bn.

Mahtani is talking of taking Drylab Media Tech “on a similar journey”. The aim is to scale up the business and make the Drylab technology available on a global basis. “Up to now, they’ve been providing their services to Norway and Sweden,” Mahtani noted.

The new outfit will be listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) this summer.

Drylab was founded by Oscar-nominated cinematographer John Christian Rosenlund (The Wave), technology specialist Audun Vaaler and producer Stein Kvae (Utoya - July 22).

“What we liked about this business is that it is a platform developed for filmmakers by filmmakers,” Mahtani commented.

Rosenlund will now step down while Kvae and Vaaler are joining the board of the new enlarged business, which will be relocated from Oslo to London.

Mahtani is aiming to build three key revenue streams for the new company: independent productions which license the software for a defined period; studios which pay an annual fee; and post-production houses and creative agencies.

Mahtani confirmed that MTS will now look to acquire further companies. “We have other media-related targets,” he said. “The management team here is very ambitious.”