Marc Vayn, Founder, Chairman, and CMO of ATN Corp, reveals where the innovative next-gen optics company is heading in the not-to-distant future.
Marc Vayn, a Ukrainian-born American citizen, launched the Silicon Valley start-up American Technology Network Company (ATN) in 1995 and brought into his entrepreneurial endeavor, experience in high-tech, and his acumen in business from the University of California, Los Angeles. The products he and his co-founder, James Munn, a US Army veteran, were designing and producing were some of the latest in the new technological field of night vision.
“The early days of ATN were crazy,” Marc Vayn said. “We were a young company reaching out to the hunting and consumer communities while trying to increase our market share in law enforcement and the military, but the road to those goals meant we had to offer very unique products in order to differentiate ourselves from the competition.”
One of the first companies to develop day/night scopes for rifles, the product allowed a user to simply “add on” to an existing daytime scope, allowing the user to now view in low to no night situations. This affordable night vision innovation became the go-to device for nighttime predator hunting and for law enforcement sniper units where a day scenario could easily slip into a nighttime scenario.
After 9/11 the global battlefield changed. Warfighters no longer fought using traditional military methods and the generation of urban warfighting specialists began. A prime tool for mission success was the NVG. Night vision products were designed specifically to outfit weapons, helmets, and as hand-helds. ATN responded to growing demand, and in 2012, was awarded as an official supplier to the US Government under the GSA contract. Vayn and his company quickly expanded R&D and production to accommodate new government and military contracts, as well as the growing demand in law enforcement and the private sector. A new line of Thermal vision devices was developed to aid the user in identifying heat-producing targets more easily.
The year 2014 was a pivotal year for the company and Vayn. With increasing pressure from new night vision start-ups, Vayn had the vision to incorporate a new technology into his products. ATN shifted its focus to the development of Smart IoT (internet of things). IoT technologies are capable of collecting and analyzing data and providing it to the user to make smart, real-time decisions. In the case of a hunter, it allowed the hunter to address multiple variables such as distance, elevation, moving speed, and location while providing some of the highest resolution and superior clarity. The Bluetooth technology allowed the user the ability to connect with a variety of other interfaces and accessories. In other words, ATN’s Smart HD scopes and rangefinders gave hunters an edge not found before. Not only could they take better, more humane shots, but they could record the event and send it to a laptop or another computer. The recordings were more than a memory video; they housed critical information that could make the hunter a better shot, while maintaining a catalog of event conditions.
“To stay on top of your competition, you need to often look elsewhere. If you become too focused on what the other guy is doing, you end up either copying the competition or falling behind,” Vayn explained. “At ATN, we look outside our industry at what other successful companies are employing, especially in the world of technology. We studied what companies were doing with the new IoT solutions and found ways to incorporate the same smart technologies into our products, giving our customers a leg up on any of our competition.”
For the law enforcement and military professional, the Smart HD technology gave our police and soldiers the extra edge in the battles against crime and evil. The collection of data and analytics made better warfighters and made ATN a top choice for many large law enforcement and government agencies. Most of the ATN systems worked primarily in Infrared, and other systems provide Thermal imaging for unprecedented target acquisition. All of ATN’s IoT solutions were housed in familiar glass optics packages, such as binoculars and rifle scopes, but with the addition of all the modern technologies that many people have come to rely on in their Smart phones and other gadgets.
As the company expanded, it took a step into the retail world in 2021, by opening a brick and mortar 1,300 sq. ft. storefront in the Dallas, Texas area. Serving a large base of hunters and law enforcement, the risky venture has paid off well for Vayn and his team by increasing brand awareness and driving sales in a receptive market.
“As many company founders know, your company’s health can be better monitored through your commitment to interface with the customer,” Vayn added. “Our first storefront was a natural progression of our customer relations. ATN has always embraced using social media to listen to our customers and also to educate our customers on our rapidly developing technologies.”
Today, ATN boasts facility locations in the US, with a recently relocated headquarters in Doral, Florida; the UK, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and the UAE. With market insight reporting the Smart Internet of Things demand in modules will only increase and the technologies advance in 2022 through 2028. Already, Vayn and his company have responded with the new Battle Management System. Initially introduced as the ATN Radar App, it targeted the hunting community allowing hunters to create a group, by which team members were able to know each other’s location and provide critical information through a built-in laser rangefinder for a successful hunt. Using the ATN Radar app as the foundation for the Battle Management System, ATN incorporates its Auxiliary Ballistic Laser (ABL) and Ballistic Information Exchange (BIX) technology to allow warfighters to scout enemy using one of ATN’s specialized binoculars or rangefinders and share data such as measured distance to an ATN rifle scope. The Battle Management System allows the warfighter the ability to pin the enemy on the app’s map or copy coordinates of the pin(s) and share them with team members.
While ATN continues to dominate and innovate in the night vision/thermal market, the company recently became involved in the Ukrainian crisis. As Vayn saw tensions rising between his birth country and Russia, he took steps to move his Ukrainian team out of harm’s way. When the crisis exploded, Vayn quickly flew into Bulgaria, where his ATN team and he began to set up distribution into Ukraine for much-needed ATN products for the Ukraine military and resistance troops. ATN set up a donation platform on the ATN website and Vayn was the first to donate $100K of his own money to the cause. As the crisis deepened, ATN formed a partnership with the GORTA Group, a large NGO with well-established distribution and warehousing in the crisis zone, providing much-needed humanitarian and medical supplies, donating $300K.
“I could not stand by, and I am happy that ATN has joined the ranks of many companies helping the Ukrainian people defeat this unprovoked threat,” Vayn commented. “If our products can help the Ukrainian resistance in any way, it shows the best of capitalism and democracy can beat back communism.”
As a small Silicon Valley start-up some twenty-seven years ago, Marc Vayn’s company would go on to win nine years of awards from Optics Planet Inc., Predator Xtreme Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, as well as the coveted NRA American Hunter Magazine’s Golden Bullseye Award in 2022. Building on the company’s success and popularity in multiple markets, Vayn now has his eyes set on expansion within the vertical market. As ATN’s current Chairman of the Board and CMO, Vayn has recently added “Shopping Officer” to his title.
“We have entered into an acquisition period in our company’s growth,” Vayn explained. “We are actively looking for companies with the right fit, meaning companies within our current space with a tech factor, somewhere in the $20M to $100M range.”
With 2022 promising to be one of ATN’s most dynamic years with the release of their Gen-5 products, increased contributions to the defense and sectors, and the company’s open efforts to defend Ukraine against Putin’s forces, Marc Vayn is not slowing down, in fact, he is just getting started.
American Technology Network is an industry leader, innovative producer of Smart Optics for the 21st-century in addition to night vision and thermal vision products. Founded in 1995, ATN has come to be known for dependable, quality products that enhance their customer’s outdoor experience and connect with the desires of outdoor enthusiasts. Scopes are user-friendly with Smart features, like allowing users to record video footage of their hunting experience. Top-selling models include the X-Sight 4K Pro series, ThOR 4 series, ThOR LT series, and the OTS LT series. To learn more about ATN and see the full details of ATN’s products, visit www.atncorp.com
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