Technology's top company successes

Revenue: $55.5 million Working in a fast-changing environment is a special challenge, says Intergen's Tony Stewart. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Revenue: $55.5 million Working in a fast-changing environment is a special challenge, says Intergen's Tony Stewart. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Intergen
• Business IT solutions based on Microsoft technology

A STRONG partnership with Microsoft and a knack for creating specialised software solutions have this year taken Takapuna-based IT company Intergen into the top 10 growth companies in the TIN100 list, with revenue growth of 30.3 per cent to $55.5 million.

Since it began in 2001, the privately owned Intergen has grown to have 420 staff and offices in Australia, New Zealand and the US.

It is the largest dedicated provider of Microsoft services in this country, a partnership that will provide about $6 million in revenue this year alone, says managing director Tony Stewart.

He believes Intergen's success is based on its company mantra of creating software that positively affects everyday life, an approach that has resulted in revenue growth of around 25 per cent year-on-year.

"Our goal is basically to have everyone, every day, be positively affected by what we do.

That's not unique in the tech business, but we have taken it and applied it to every decision we make."

Company culture and being a leader in the IT sector have also propelled Intergen, something Stewart admits has been a challenge.

"We are working in such a fast-changing environment that you can choose to be safe and wait for everything to be invented, or you can put yourself out there and be working at the front edge, which is what we're doing."

The latest high-tech software to emerge from the company is a program called Signal, which filters through social media communications and zeroes in on important information. The technology has the ability to create "situational intelligence" that can be used to help cope with big events or natural disasters.

Stewart says such software could be used to enable police and search crews to locate missing or trapped people, or to go back through past communications to identify things they might have missed.

The software was used during the Rugby World Cup and helped Intergen claim the Microsoft NZ ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution of the year award for 2013.

Stewart says its future lies in rapid expansion in Australia as well as growth in its other two markets.


Brian Cadzow says Vista is looking for bigger projects. Photo / Natalie Slade
Brian Cadzow says Vista is looking for bigger projects. Photo / Natalie Slade


Vista Entertainment Solutions
• Cinema management software
• Revenue: $30.5 million

GOING to see a movie generally involves choosing a film, buying food or drink, maybe picking which seat you want to sit in, then paying.

For most people, the complex systems behind this process remain invisible, but creating the necessary all-inclusive software has helped to rocket software company Vista Entertainment Solutions to 52 in the TIN100 list, and place it at the No 10 spot among the highest growth companies for this year.

With revenue growing by 42 per cent to $30.5 million, privately owned Vista Entertainment enters the list of the top 10 companies to watch for the first time.

Launched on Christmas Eve 1995, the company now operates in more than 50 countries, with its biggest market in Mexico.

Vital to that success have been Vista's two cinema packages, divided into software for companies with 20 cinemas or fewer, and more than 20 cinemas.

Continual software development and the quick, easy-to-use nature of their products are what pushed Vista to the top, says senior director Brian Cadzow.

"Software for cinema companies who own less than 20 cinemas is just as important to us as those who own more than 20, and the number of cinemas from each group are actually equal so for us, it's been important to create solutions for both of these cinema types."

Over the 20 years since it began, the Auckland-based company has developed software that covers every aspect of running a theatre, from sales and staff scheduling to vouchers and loyalty programmes.

This year Vista has signed Regal Cinemas in the US - which describes itself as America's biggest theatre operator, with more than 7000 screens in 600 sites - and Cadzow says Vista is looking to expand into bigger projects in the near future.

"Currently we're working in the end of the line movie sales and cinema running area, but we are hoping to move further back up the line to working in the film area as well as just movie sales."


Escea
• Gas fireplaces
• Revenue: $10.2 million

BUSINESS has been heating up for luxury gas fireplace manufacturer Escea, pushing it up to sixth in the Vodafone "hot emerging companies" list after a 21 per cent rise in revenue to $10.2 million.

Founder Nigel Bamford credits the success to a "never-ending pursuit of perfection".

Working in the fireplace industry before Escea, Bamford noted the lack of fireplaces that were both efficient and visually appealing.

It's easy to see the visual appeal of the fireplaces, but the cherry on the cake is the latest 94.1 per cent efficiency rating for their DX line. This puts Dunedin-based Escea top for efficiency in gas fireplaces in Europe, a good start for their launch in that market in the next six months.

More than half of Escea's revenue comes from exports. Research and development is a huge part of this, with at least six of the 50 or so staff working on improving the company's products.

Arguably one of the most impressive technological achievements since the company began in 2002 is the ability to use a wireless connection to operate the fireplaces from anywhere.

"The idea is that if you're out, you can see the temperature of your house and can turn on the fire and set the temperature so that by the time you get home your house is toasty and warm."

Or in Bamford's case, so the fire will magically turn on and off when his kids are at home and he is overseas on business.

- NZ Herald

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