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Navman Wireless, a developer of GPS-based fleet tracking systems for transport, service and construction vehicle fleets, has been named on Forbes’ just-released list of America’s Most Promising Companies (www.forbes.com/ampc). The list features 100 privately held up-and-comers with compelling business models, strong management teams, notable customers, strategic partners and precious investment capital.
Navman Wireless earned the #65 slot in the Forbes ranking with revenues of $67.9 million (the fifth highest on the list) and 263 employees (the seventh largest) in fiscal year 2010. The company is one of the world’s largest providers of fleet optimisation products and services, with systems installed in more than 130,000 vehicles on five continents.
Customers use Navman Wireless’s flagship OnlineAVL2 fleet tracking platform to monitor vehicle location in real time as well as reduce fuel, labour and vehicle operating costs. System maps and reports, delivered under the Software-as-a-Service model, assist in fleet management by pinpointing problems such as idling, inaccurate timesheets, unauthorised stops and excessive personal vehicle usage as well as improving dispatch efficiencies and optimising vehicle maintenance schedules.
The company’s products are primarily developed in its innovation centre in Auckland, where around 70 software and hardware engineers form the core of its research and development team.
“Sizing up younger, privately held companies is hard. Their fortunes can change very quickly and there’s a dearth of public data,” says Forbes Executive Editor Brett Nelson. “We took a more comprehensive approach to evaluate their health and potential.”
To sharpen its search, Forbes teamed up with CB Insights, a Manhattan-based data firm that tracks investment in high-growth private companies. With $650,000 in grants from the National Science Foundation, CB has developed complex software called Mosaic that mines myriad online sources (from press releases and social networks to job boards and court filings) to come up with one algorithmically derived score that measures a private company’s health. Forbes married Mosaic’s data-crunching with old-fashioned reporting to assemble a list of rising stars with bright growth prospects.
“Fleet tracking is a relatively new concept outside of the transport industry, but it’s an invaluable tool for minimising fleet costs and maximising productivity and profits,” said Ian Daniel, Navman Wireless’s Vice President Asia Pacific. “Our inclusion on Forbes’ America’s Most Promising Companies list shows the growing understanding of the value of our technology, our market expansion, and the financial and management strengths that are fueling our growth.”
“Credit for much of the international recognition that Navman Wireless is now enjoying has to go to the New Zealand-based research and development team,” Daniel adds. “They translate insights about customer needs into products with strong international appeal.
“Ever since the company was formed, through a buyout by senior management in 2007, our clear focus has been on taking full advantage of the strength and experience of the R&D team to drive growth in international markets.”
The Forbes recognition was the second honour in a month for Navman Wireless. In early November, the company won a Chicago Innovation Award for developing the industry’s first combined on- and off-road vehicle tracking platform by combining its OnlineAVL2 software with the new GPS-based Qtanium 300 in-vehicle hardware, specifically designed to withstand the harsh construction environment. Construction contractors can save millions of dollars annually by using Qtanium-supplied data to reduce fuel consumption, optimise maintenance schedules, monitor job costs, and improve overall operations.