Marshal comes home to ever faster growth

Marshal opened its Auckland office and R&D centre about a year ago and now employs over 40 people locally

One of New Zealand software’s success stories, Marshal Software, came back home last year after being acquired and then sold by global security management software vendor NetIQ.

Now known as Marshal, the email and internet content security software company has grown 43% year-on-year world-wide, says CEO Ed Macnair. In New Zealand the company has grown even more — 50%, he says.

Marshal opened its Auckland office and research and development centre about a year ago and now employs over 40 people locally, of whom 25 are developers.

“We are still looking for people, in particular software developers,” says Macnair, who is based in the UK but comes to New Zealand every three months.

Marshal is headquartered in London with offices in Auckland, Sydney, Houston, Atlanta, Johannesburg, Munich and Paris. All research and development is done in New Zealand. Last year, the company also opened an around-the-clock threat analysis laboratory in Auckland. The Auckland operation includes a small sales office and technical support as well, says Macnair.

“Marshal was born here and it makes sense to us to build on that knowledge,” he says.

Around 10 of the original Marshal staff came back to the company last year, says Macnair. Among these are John Skeates, who used to be the president of Marshal Software; chief software architect Peter Hodges and chief technology strategist Kevin McFall. Hodges and McFall founded Marshal Software in 2000.

NetIQ acquired Marshal in 2002 and one of its first moves was to relocate several processing functions to the US and Europe, making local staff redundant.

In June 2004, NetIQ shut down the New Zealand operation entirely, at the cost of the remaining 25 jobs. All security development migrated to NetIQ’s development centre in Houston, Texas.

Now, some of the developers from the Houston centre have come to work for Marshal in New Zealand, says Macnair.

When Marshal was sold to NetIQ in 2002 it had 6,500 customers. Today it has 18,000 world-wide, says Macnair. About 10% of Marshal’s overall revenue comes from New Zealand and the company’s local market share is around 80%, he says.

Macnair expects the company to grow at least another 30% next year. Marshal is looking to employ more developers and to grow the number of channel partners, he says.

Macnair was previously head of worldwide sales of Marshal products at NetIQ. He initiated the management buyout that resulted in the new company.

Macnair found an investment partner in the UK-based private equity firm, Kelso Place Asset Management.

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