Networld Media Group began as Watermark Group, a printing supply company started by Alan Fryrear in 1995. One target for receipt-paper sales was the ATM industry. To gain better access to key manufacturers and deployers, Fryrear and partner Tom Harper started the ATM Industry Association, and soon supported it with ATMmagazine.com, an online-only business news and information portal.
The success of the website quickly convinced Fryrear and Harper to refocus their efforts from paper supplies to the world of online business journalism, and in 1999, Watermark Group was named a winner in Inc. magazine's Best of the Small Business Web contest and was featured in the November issue.
Fryrear and Harper hired a CEO, raised $1 million in start-up capital and changed the company name to NetWorld Alliance. Over the next several years, NetWorld launched sites that covered kiosks and other self-service technology, digital signage, retail, mobile payments and several segments of the restaurant industry, including fast casual, QSR and pizza. It also launched and sold a successful tradeshow, as well as an association for deployers and manufacturers of digital signage and another for professional church consultants.
Rebranded as Networld Media Group in 2012, the Louisville, Ky.-based company has more than 40 employees in six states, publishes 10 websites and hosts two exclusive, C-level events, the Fast Casual Executive Summit and the Retail Customer Experience Executive Summit.