Linewize, a Christchurch firm focused on providing solutions for controlled internet usage, is on the search for partners.
“We are looking to partner with resellers who are interested in bringing this solution into the SME market. We see that as an opportunity to offer cost effective solutions to organisations that are looking for appropriate internet access in the work place.The product would work very well with resellers who offer managed network services for medium and larger SMEs.
“Ideally, we are looking to partner with resellers with a national presence. Obviously we are Christchurch based, so certainly would be advantageous to find a reseller that is spread through the country,” says Scott Noakes, co-founder of Linewize.
According to him, they are currently in discussions with a few potential partners, and hope to confirm one in the next couple of months.
Linewize’s main solution is a subscription-based service that allows end-users to visualise and control internet access and usage across fixed and mobile devices. It comprises of a hardware end-point device combined with a cloud-based management solution.
The company has partnered with manufacturers, one in Taiwan and another in China, to provide the hardware element, while the transparent bridge filter technology with a cloud-based management website was built on open-source technology by co-founder Michael Lawson.
“One of our advantages is the way we can use commodity based hardware to provide enterprise-level functionality. With the processing power of these devices increasing exponentially, there is now a lot of functionality that you can offer on a very cost-effective device. We bring these devices in and essentially provide them as part of the service,” says Noakes.
The one-year old firm has had initial success in deploying its solutions into schools looking to monitor their BYOD (bring your own device) programme across a diverse student body and faculty, including Burnside High School and Christchurch Boys High School.
“We have found in schools that it saves thousands of dollars in expenditure rather than upgrading existing equipment. Our device can just slot in there and provide visibility and control over internet use that they desire.
“We initially chose the education market as our product was complementary to what N4L (Network for Learning) proposed to deliver to schools. We talked to them at the start of the year and they confirmed that they were offering private internet, Cisco router termination and blanket filtering to schools. We chose the education market to complement that product by sitting behind the firewall and providing per user and per device granularity that schools require,” says Noakes.
He states that N4L’s recent announcements about expanding functionality has led many schools to adopt a wait-and-watch approach. This has adversely affected Linewize, which is driving the team to look more seriously at the SME market.
“It is a bit frustrating as we have a fantastic product now that offers schools the visibility and control they need to ensure that their internet connection is shared with students appropriately.
“We are seeing what N4L does in the space and we are starting to talk to resellers to bring this product into the SME market,” says Noakes.
Besides looking to the SME space, and expanding its coverage of verticals outside the education sector, the company is working with external partners, including one in Germany, to bring in more solutions and enable better workspaces.
The company has around five full-time staff, and is domiciled within the Epic Innovation Campus. It also has a residential product for monitoring home internet usage, called Surfwize, but Noakes states that this is not the company’s current focus.
“Our focus right now is achieving sales on Linewize. And on finding the right partner and taking this product to market. It is also a challenge to procure funding to continue to promote the solution.
“We would prefer investment to come from within New Zealand. It would be great if this could be an angel or seed fund that provides us with market introductions and connections along with the capital,” says Noakes.
A video of Noakes explaining the Linewize solution and the technology behind it can be found here.