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Verizon Connect celebrates its Christchurch roots

23 July 2018

From homegrown tech talent to multinational enterprise, Verizon Connect (formerly Telogis) still calls Christchurch home.

With offices in 15 countries across the world including London, Sydney and Chicago, the Canterbury success story first started with a dream to optimise the way people, vehicles and other things move through the world.

Founded in 2000 by Christchurch local Ralph Mason and American Newth Morris, the company, then known as Telogis, developed a fleet tracking software to track the location of vehicles.

Rebranding as Verizon in 2014, the company created the Verizon Connect portfolio of solutions and services, yet group vice present of mobile research and development, Gary Jensen, says Christchurch remains the beating heart of the company’s research and development activities.

Much of the group’s original technology was developed in Christchurch and Jansen says this has been instrumental in transforming the enterprise into a technology leader and pioneer in the telematics industry.

“We have the capability and go-to attitude to think laterally and build the most innovative solutions in ways that other countries and locations might not be able to,” he says.

“The quality of software engineering students and the close relationships we have with Canterbury University and other groups has helped to make Christchurch a thriving place for our technology company,” Jensen says.

Verizon Connect regularly hires university graduates for its Christchurch office and hosts interns, with many staying on as permanent employees after graduation.

“The Christchurch tech sector has come through massive leaps especially in the last 5 to 10 years,” Jensen says. Today Christchurch’s world class tech sector is the second largest in New Zealand, contributing around $2.4 billion of GDP and exporting $1.1 billion annually.

Diverse and creative with a rich tech talent pool, Christchurch’s tech sector also encourages strong business and student relationships, to ensure the right skills in the city’s future workforce pipeline.

“Community groups like CanterburyTech have also helped increase the profile and strength of the Christchurch tech sector significantly, bringing to light some of the strong engineering work the city has always been good at, but no one was aware of.”

Jensen says Christchurch’s closely connected tech community and supportive business environment also makes it an ideal environment for start-ups with big ideas.

And the secret to capitalising on those ideas is to; “focus on the big picture beyond the local market, while still keeping roots in the Christchurch and Kiwi way of doing things.”