Tomcat Gains US Foothold Through Partnership Deal

Successful software developer Tomcat Systems in Belfast has been helped by Invest Northern Ireland’s Passport to Export Programme to increase its export capability and to develop a partnership with a US leader in energy management.

Tomcat’s Commercial Systems division recently signed a strategically important agreement with FirstPoint Energy Corporation of Beaverton, Oregon at the Distributech conference in Tampa, Florida, one of the most important events in the US utilities industry. FirstPoint will now distribute Tomcat’s Utilize! complete asset management software system  to US gas and electricity suppliers.

Tomcat was helped to pinpoint contacts that led to this agreement by Invest NI’s Technology and Development Centre in Boston during a recent trade mission to the US. The company has also participated in a series of capability development workshops run by Invest NI under the Passport to Export programme. Brian McCrory, Tomcat’s Sales and Marketing Manager, participated in the export skills programme.

Mr McCrory, commenting on the agreement with FirstPoint Energy, says: “This is an extremely important development for us in a market that we first targeted for our Utilize product last year.  We developed this product in association with Phoenix Natural Gas in 1998 and have been selling it successfully in the UK and Ireland. The system includes an asset register, real time scheduling, meter stock control, customer communication, emergency control, and sales lead tracking

“We saw an opportunity to expand our business by building export sales for Utilize in tandem with our work in marketing internationally our cardiac information management software for hospitals and clinics. In addition to our work in the healthcare sector, we have extensive experience in developing customised database software solutions for a wide range of commercial organisations from insurance companies to the gas industry.

“The Passport to Export workshops were extremely worthwhile because they helped us with essential knowledge and skills for the sales drive overseas. The Northern Ireland Technology and Development Centre in Boston identified key contacts for us and we followed these up during the trade mission. Invest NI also helped us to continue discussions with FirstPoint Energy at the exhibition in Florida,” he adds.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, says: “Tomcat is an excellent example of a company that has achieved success in the US by a structured approach using our Passport to Export and trade development programmes.

“Passport to Export is geared to the specific needs of both experienced and inexperienced exporters. It helps them to develop capabilities in areas such as market research, presentation, communications, negotiation and tendering.

“Our trade mission programme offers over 50 separate opportunities for companies to explore and exploit opportunities by taking part in business missions and exhibitions in key markets such as the US, Asia Pacific and Europe,” he adds.

Tomcat currently employs 28 people at its software development centre in Belfast. Over the past year, the company has created 10 new jobs to meet the increasing demand for its products.

FirstPoint Energy specialises in products that enable clients to use energy, water and natural gas more cost-effectively and thereby to reduce operating costs.