On Thursday 26 July, 22 of New Zealand’s most successful entrepreneurs were announced as finalists in this year’s Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards in front of an enthusiastic crowd of fellow entrepreneurs, business executives and entrepreneurial students from Manurewa High School and Young Enterprise Scheme.
More than a third of all billboards in the USA today are managed with software designed in Christchurch by Trineo, a business that Dan Fowlie co-founded in 2007. Thousands of skiers rely on Trineo’s software to purchase and manage their access to 26 resorts across North America. And at Fonterra, 22,000 global team members use a Trineo-built social intranet for two-way engagement between management and staff.
Fowlie started Trineo in what he describes as “a broom cupboard” in 2007. He had returned to New Zealand “with nothing to lose” after a stint in Kuwait, working close to the war zone in Iraq. With a background in operations management, analysis and development, Dan was living on the cheap and taking contract work to fund his idea of building a cloud services company, focused on serving this uncertain, emerging market.
At the time, nobody knew how cloud services would stack up against traditional, on-premises platforms, or on which cloud platform Trineo should stake its claim as an expert. After the company’s first iteration, which involved setting up Google apps for half a dozen customers, Dan bet on Salesforce, and later, Heroku – and these bets paid off. Salesforce is currently the top customer relationship management (CRM) platform while Heroku (owned by Salesforce) enables companies to develop software rather than worrying about the underlying hardware and services.
Though growing slowly and deliberately, Trineo’s progression wasn’t without obstacles. For example, the Christchurch earthquake destroyed Trineo’s offices and the company was forced to relocate temporarily to Dan’s home. Cofounder Abhinav Keswani, whose home was unliveable, moved back to his hometown of Sydney and made the most of a stressful time by expanding Trineo’s work to Australia.
Today, Trineo operates from New Zealand, Australia, the US, and Europe. Staff numbers are around 65, representing 10 different nationalities. The company has grown organically, funding itself via client work, and taking on no debt.
Put simply, Trineo uses cloud technology to moderise and transform business systems, enabling clients to evolve, innovate and remain competitive.
Dan Fowlie will be a speaker at the 2018 Canterbury Tech Summit and we wish him the best of luck for his nomination.