Akld firm powers into first US deal

BJS Industrial Computing says it has won its first overseas contract for the company's iPower software product which helps utility firms control their operations.

BJS Industrial Computing says it has won its first overseas contract for the company's iPower software product which helps utility firms control their operations.

The Auckland company's software, developed over the past two years, is already used by Nelson-based Network Tasman and Southland-based PowerNet.

Co-founder Tony Haresnape says the “verbal agreement” with the as-yet-unnamed firm, which has yet to be signed, follows the firm’s participation in an Atlanda trade fair this year. The trip was part-funded by a $12,175 Enterprise Award from the Ministry of Economic Development.

The product sits on top of a US product called iFix, says Haresnape. "IFix is a general-purpose factory automation system. We have added content to make it work for electricity applications,” he says. The software was written C++ and functions include load management, distribution management and communications.

Haresnape says the software was developed for overseas use since the domestic market is so small. New Zealand has just 30 potential customers for the software, whereas the US has 5000 and the global market for such software is potentially worth $US500m.

BJS was formed by Haresnape and fellow Plessey (now Siemens) software developer David Ganley in 1991. It recently appointed its first US-based salesperson, adding to the firm’s eight staff in Auckland.

Haresnape says he expects the company to break even this year, as revenue will be ploughed back into developing iPower. But within three or four years he believes the firm will earn revenues of $US10m and employing between 20 and 30 staff.

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