Home Articles How this Melbourne tech start-up is preparing itself to work with IBM

How this Melbourne tech start-up is preparing itself to work with IBM


Melbourne based start-up Localz recently became the first Australian company to be selected to join IBM’s exclusive IBM Global Entrepreneur Program for IT start-ups, a partnership opportunity the tech company couldn’t be more excited about.

The top tier program provides all the resources needed to propel existing ideas and build deep partnership with hyper-growth companies that align to IBM and their strategic direction.

“When selecting the provider of location services for the IBM Bluemix platform, we knew we had to select a company that is ready to take on the hyper-growth that IBM brings”, said Michael Stevens-Jones, IBM Partner Executive for Ecosystem Development.

“Localz is at the forefront of micro-location and beacon technology. Seeing the success with customers like John Lewis gives us great confidence in working with them as a partner,” he remarked.

Localz is steadily going international

Headed up by former banking technologist co-founders, Pete Williams, Tim Andrew and Melvin Artemas, Localz has already seen enormous success since forming in late 2013.

Some of their most notable achievements include winning the 2014 JLAB incubator run by European omni-channel retailer John Lewis, and being chosen to participate in PayPal and Braintree’s Start Tank incubator in London.

Localz JLAB Pitch Team (L-R Melvin Artemas, Tim Andrew, Martijn Verbree, Pete Williams)
Localz JLAB Pitch Team (L-R Melvin Artemas, Tim Andrew, Martijn Verbree, Pete Williams)

The Global Entrepreneur Program will allow Localz to develop a strong and lasting partnership with IBM and will also provide them with $120,000 worth of credit to put towards IBM cloud services such as Softlayer and the Bluemix Platform.

In addition to the support services, and perhaps the bigger opportunity is that Localz will provide micro-location services for IBM’s Bluemix Platform, which IBM is rolling out to its global client base.

This will enable IBM’s clients to rapidly develop, augment and implement their own customer apps and services taking advantage of the very latest in location technology.

Great opportunity calls for great preparation

While obviously a huge opportunity for the company, Tim Andrew, Commercial Director for Localz also admits it can be a bit daunting.

“It’s great to have IBM partner with us through this whole process”, said Tim. “While we have an enterprise background and have structured our products and services to meet elastic demand from day one, the massive growth that IBM and their clients will drive is both really exciting and something we’ve had to make sure we’re ready for and IBM is providing guidance and mentorship at each step.”

Tim revealed to Anthill that being ready has meant focusing on three core areas:

  1. Building for scale from the start

Making sure that while the team developed the classic ‘minimum viable product’, they also built in a lot of automated testing along the way to make sure that it would work well with big surges in use.

  1. Creating and demonstrating the ability to support enterprise clients

Corporates love the idea of working with small innovative companies until it comes time to actually roll things out to production when they start to worry about what happens when things break.

As Localz has experience of this from the corporate-side of the fence, they knew that their platform had to be both ‘fault tolerant’ and able to work even if part of it was broken, and also to have documented and tested the less sexy things like security, continuity and recovery plans.

  1. Hiring clever people in the right places

Great products and processes are only half of the picture.

Tim says Localz aims to hire people who are clever, keen and get things done. Having team members who understand, but don’t always accept the bureaucracy of a large company and can get to a solution quickly is something that gives the Localz team the confidence to grow fast.