Article From the Irish Examiner
Company Transported to Success
THREE young Dublin entrepreneurs who set up their own software company before they graduated are making plans to expand sales in the French market with a GPS fleet management system called Transpoco.
In 2003, Andrew Fleury, John Harrington and Barry Cronin were aged 21 and studying for com-puter applications degrees at DCU when they set up their company Epire, which now trades as Transpoco.
Seven years on, their company employs six and has 180 customers, including some in Britain and France. Some 150 of these are in Ireland, where Transpoco provides a service for local authorities, couriers, and service companies and also has 10 British customers and 20 in France.
By the time the three graduated in 2004 they had already identified a gap in the market for a GPS fleet management system. Although the technology has been around for several years, Mr Fleury said the market is far from saturated and many companies haven't yet realised the benefits which can be achieved.
"It can help each vehicle to complete more work by optimizing routes, minimizing mileage and providing reminders when vehicles are due for servicing and insurance." "The system provides an audit of vehicle activity and can audit driving style, detecting things like harsh braking, rapid acceleration and speeding, the three main bad habits which lead to inefficient driving," he said.
In Ireland, four other companies offer this type of product while there are over 20 in France, Transpoco's main target market for 2010.
"In Ireland only 30% of companies with vehicle fleets use GPS management, and in France the figure is around 25% so there is huge scope in the market," he said.
In 2004 when the three graduates set to work on developing their system, they rented a small office in Portmarnock, Co Dublin, and they funded the company by doing website development work.
The first version of their system was completed in November 2005. "We had the idea of selling GPS to Dublin Bus so that customers could text to find out when the next bus was due. Dublin Bus did not go for the idea but we started selling it to couriers and haulage companies, said Mr Fleury
The first customer for the Transpoco software service was a courier company. And after this the company grew the business by developing sales to electrical contractors, contract cleaners and
companies with service fleets on the road. In August 2007, Dublin City Council's drainage depart-ment signed up and after that came councils in Fingal, Limerick and
Roscommon, while Transpoco also got work from waste contracting companies.
Building up the business in the recession has been difficult, and over the last 18 months the company has had to halve its prices.
In 2008 the company began selling in Britain and France."The UK market proved very difficult due to the decrease in the value of sterling, so we decided to concentrate on France," he Mr Fleury said. "While
many Irish software companies tend to start by focusing on English-speaking markets, Transpoco had chosen Europe as its main target market. We felt it would be easier to translate our software rather than convert our currency," He said.
Growing slowly over the last year, the French market accounts for 10% of -turnover. The opportunities there are huge, said Mr Fleury, pointing out the recession isn't as bad there as here. Supported by Enterprise Ireland, which enrolled the company in a graduate incubation programme in 2005, Transpoco has been mostly self-funded.
Despite the recession company turnover is set to turnover by 30% this year.
"We are optimistic about the future. We aim to provide a service to 2700 vehicles by the end of the year and to move into the German market. We expect to achieve a turnover of 1 million euro next year" said Mr. Fleury