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October 19, 2004 

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 International IT Firms at CzechTrade Gathering Seek Chicago Ties 10/19/2004
The mission of Going Global is to educate and inform Midwest technology companies on what local technology companies are doing internationally so other firms can learn from the successes of like-minded peers.


CHICAGO Ė I attended the CzechTrade event in Chicago last week and thought it would be useful to the local and international IT community to report on it.

Here are short company profiles of the firms that visited and made presentations and what they are seeking in Chicago. To learn more about each company, please consult their Web sites. Note that all firms have already been advised to secure dot-com domain names and complete their Web sites in English.

Prologue

Many local economic development offices bring foreign delegations to Chicago to hustle up business. Aglow with the prospects of working in America, the happy travelers often arrive wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. They often arenít familiar and versed in how different it is to do business here.

All they see are large numbers of prospects, dollars and profits. On the other hand, there are also many undiscovered gems out there in the information technology world with well-developed technical capabilities but with little idea how to bring those capabilities to market.

So my only disclaimer is that I only met and interviewed these people briefly. Therefore, their inclusion here isnít an endorsement of any firm. Do your own due diligence if you are considering doing business with them.


Company: CN Resources International
URL: http://www.cncz.cz
Founded: 1994
Number of Employees: 130 including 60 software engineers
Description: CN is a joint venture of two leading Danish technology companies: Corena Holding and NetTest. CN carries no debt. International customers (60 percent from Denmark, 30 percent from the United Kingdom and 10 percent from Germany) deliver 80 percent of their revenues.

About 90 percent of their revenues come from repeat customers. They have a high retention rate with turnover of only 2 percent and have Danish management in Prague. CN works on fixed-price contracts and finds they are competitive in other parts of the world. They work in three areas:

  1. Software development (customers: Lufthansa and Commerzbank)
  2. IT consulting (customers: Commerzbank, Turkish Economy Bank and MergerMarket.com)
  3. Document management (customers: Boeing, Bombardier, Rolls-Royce Engineering, Barclays Bank and Belgian Railways)

They also serve three vertical markets:

  1. Telecommunications (60 percent to 70 percent); customers: T-Mobile
  2. Financial Services (20 percent); customers: Barclays Bank , Commerzbank and Turkish Economy Bank
  3. Aviation (10 percent to 20 percent); customers: Boeing, Bombardier and Lufthansa

CN works two ways:

  1. Directly with end-users when business knowledge is important
  2. With systems integrators and software developers who need resources


Company: FairNet
URL: http://www.pcinfo.cz or http://www.fair-net.cz
Founded: 1998
Number of Employees: 25
Description: FairNet is a networking specialist that works with IT managers and network administrators. They are a market leader at home with 60 percent market share and 300,000 licenses in the Czech Republik. Their average customer has 300 personal computers on their network.

Siemens, Emory University, American Express and Lloydís of London are all customers.

FairNet provides a high level of technology at a competitive price. FairNet is seeking like-sized systems integrators and value-added resellers to act as distributors to reach customers and provide on-the-ground technical support. Theyíll pay big commissions and wonít compete with their partners.


Company: Ganymed
URL: http://www.ganymed-usa.com
Founded: 1997
Number of Employees: 12
Description: Ganymed has an office in Chicagoís Merchandise Mart. They offer 11 different online and offline products in customer relationship management and sales force automation software including category management for small to medium-sized enterprises. Ganymed serves the fast-moving consumer goods, manufacturing and distribution verticals.

They only have to customize 20 percent of their implementations. Procter & Gamble is a customer in the Czech Republik. Ganymed is looking for enterprise resource planning systems integrators and value-added resellers to reach the local market and provide first-line support.


Company: Iguassu
URL: http://www.iguassu.cz
Founded: 1994
Number of Employees: 10
Description: Iguassu is an internationally oriented, custom-embedded software developer of real-time control systems for oil refineries and satellite control. They donít write lines of code. They design technology. All their technical employees have university degrees in control processes and robotics.

Customers include Hewlett-Packard, Ingersoll Rand and the European Space Agency. Iguassu is willing to localize and sell third-party products in the Czech Republik and Latin America.

Iguassuís representative left Czechoslovakia in 1968 for the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany. He returned home in 1997. Iguassu is seeking software companies and systems integrators that develop subsystems as prime contractors in aerospace, manufacturing and oil and gas.


Company: KCT Data
URL: http://www.kctdata.cz
Founded: 1999
Number of Employees: 50
Description: KCT is a SAP platform and portals specialist with other experience in J2EE, ABAP and Netweaver.

About 80 percent of KCTís business comes from SAPís headquarters and 20 percent comes from a German partner. KCT is looking to replicate the model it has with the companyís German partner (i.e. work as a subcontractor to them to work on data migration and process integration projects). Siemens and T-Mobile are also partners.


Company: KOMIX
URL: http://www.komix.cz
Founded: 1992
Number of Employees: 95
Description: Komix is a business intelligence software developer and systems integrator with experience in Java and CE. The companyís revenues break down like so:

  1. Banking and insurance: 50 percent
  2. Government: 30 percent
  3. Telecommunications: 20 percent

Komix has extensive knowledge about the insurance industry and delivers fast on fixed-price contracts. The company would like to offer its professional software testing services (that have been proven by Czech banks) to other software developers and systems integrators that work with banks and insurance companies.


Czech Republik Market Data
Internet users: 2.69 million in 2001
Telephones (cellular): 4.346 million in 2000
Telephones (landlines in use): 3.869 million in 2000
GDP (real growth rate): 1.5 percent (2002 estimated)
GDP (per capita): $15,300 (2002 estimated)
GDP: $155.9 billion (2002 estimated)
Population: 10,249,216 (July 2003 estimated)

Other tidbits:

  1. 98 percent mobile technology penetration with text messaging and wireless Internet
  2. Home to five of the fastest-growing IT companies in Central Europe
  3. CVUT claims to be Europeís largest technical university with 22,000 students
  4. AT Kearney rated the Czech Republik fourth overall in its Offshore Location Attractiveness Index and second specifically in people skills and availability
  5. IDC estimates that the Czech IT services market increased 11.4 percent from 2002 to 2003 to $770 million


Please contact me or CzechTrade if you are
interested in contacting any of these firms directly


Michael Muth is managing director of GATA, an international business development consultancy that helps technology companies build international partnerships. He can be reached at mike@intlalliances.com.
Click here for Muthís full biography.

Previous Columns:
International M.B.A. Guide to Moore School of Business, Thunderbird (10/12/2004)
Your International M.B.A. Guide to Northwestern, Loyola University (10/5/2004)
Entrepreneurís Guide to International M.B.A. Programs in Chicago (9/28/2004)
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Q&A: Origin Ventures Founder Steven Miller on the Canadian Way (8/9/2004)
Q&A: CPCP Founder David Baeckelandt on Multilingual Importance, Mentoring (8/3/2004)
Q&A: CPCP Founder David Baeckelandt on Japanese Disclosure, Due Diligence (7/27/2004)
Q&A: Chicago Pacific Capital Founder David Baeckelandt on Overseas Funding (7/20/2004)
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