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CORRECT: Telogis seeks to double workers in NZ

CORRECT: Telogis seeks to double workers in NZ after opening bigger R&D hub in Christchurch

(Fixes spelling of Fontinalis in 10th paragraph)

By Fiona Rotherham

Nov. 5 (BusinessDesk) - Telogis, whose cloud-based location intelligence software is used in more than 100 countries, is kicking off a delayed job recruitment drive in New Zealand with today’s opening of its new Christchurch office.

The Aliso Viejo, California-based company was co-founded in 2001 by Kiwi Ralph Mason and American Newth Morris IV and co-located from the start in NZ and the US. It currently has 150 employees at its Christchurch research and development hub and had delayed for more than a year plans to double that number because of a shortage of space in its previous location.

The doubling of staff in Christchurch is part of a wider acceleration in the private company’s growth following its first ever outside capital injection last year – US$93 million from US venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.

Chief executive Dave Cozzens, in New Zealand for the official opening of the Christchurch office by Prime Minister John Key this afternoon, said staff had been working out of containers because of the overcrowding, which was hampering growth.

“You can’t pack them in like sardines,” he said.

Following the Christchurch earthquakes, the company considered shifting the R&D hub – one of three offices it has – to other sites including Auckland and Sydney. But Mason and a timely grant from Callaghan Innovation convinced the board to stay.

“Ralph was a champion of us finding the talent and staying committed to Christchurch and that has proved correct,” Cozzens said.

The Christchurch-based subsidiary has a low staff turnover, with some on the payroll for more than a decade, but there was a shortage of skilled software developers nationwide. Along with providing lots of collaboration space in the new 3,000 square metre office, recruits are being lured by above market rates, flexible work hours, and even catered lunches, the company says. About 50 different languages are spoken among the Christchurch workforce, with Telogis recruiting migrants from offshore and locally to supplement Kiwi staff.

Worldwide, Telogis has 600 workers and US$100 million annual revenue, of which about 80 percent comes from the US. Cozzens wouldn’t reveal the company's growth rate. “It’s growing rapidly and we made that investment last year to accelerate growth,” he said.

A Nasdaq listing is on the cards though no dates have yet been set. In the past two months it has received investment from GM Ventures, the venture capital arm of General Motors, and Fontinalis Partners, a strategic investment firm founded by Bill Ford Jr. The amounts were not disclosed.

It has developed close relationships with major vehicle manufacturers including Ford, GM, Isuzu, Volvo, and Mack Trucks with vehicles shipped from the factory with Telogis applications rather than them having to be retrofitted later by customers.

The company’s real-time fleet management and analysis of driver and vehicle performance has proved most popular with food and beverage and construction companies and Cozzens said new industries they’re focused on include oil and mining companies and law enforcement.

It partnered with Ford last month to develop a solution built specifically for the Los Angeles Police Department that will safeguard against hazardous driving. The solution that will become available next year will allow police departments to see how police cars are driven – for example when responding to emergencies or when a vehicle's siren is activated.

One emerging industry trend is what Cozzens called gamification – where drivers can look on their smartphones and compare their job performance for the day with others in the company to see if they’re above or below the norm. “They want to know if they’re doing a good job or not so it’s not so much about tracking and more about empowerment,” he said.

BusinessDesk is funded by Callaghan Innovation to cover the commercialisation of innovation


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