Stellar Library attracts interest in market

Stellar Library, a cloud-based content management system for iPads, is attracting wide interest both in New Zealand and overseas, with already having more than 20 customers since the first version was released last year.

Developed by Rotorua Life Pharmacy operator Brett Fordyce and his business partners, the CMS allows content managers to securely distribute, update and withdraw files and documents on nominated tablets. Users can open and view files without being able to share or download them for transfer. Also, no training is required.

Andrew Bagnall, who sold his stake in Gulliver's Travel for $67 million when he floated the company in 2004, recently invested $1 million in Stellar Library, as the system is known. Bagnall is the largest shareholder in Green Cross Health, which owns the Life Pharmacy chain.

Fordyce hit on the idea when in the final stages of his MBA thesis at Waikato University in 2011. “I was investigating the merits of introducing iPads to the MBA programme, and my research showed that people wanted a simple application to manage all their information,” he says.

That spurred Fordyce and fellow MBA study partner Johnny Louie to start work on a cloud-based system that allows document owners to create their own private organisation library on a secure delivery platform.

Fordyce says word of mouth has sparked interest from several countries. He's just returned from Singapore where, he says, a lot of interest was shown.

The company’s customers include large pharmaceutical companies and two district councils in New Zealand. In Australia, Stellar Library is being used by a drug company, a university and two company boards of directors.

Stellar Library is hosted by Amazon. “It's designed to be a global product,” Fordyce says. However, he wants it to retain its New Zealand identity. All the original coding was done by one of the founders and that is now handled by Auckland company Clearpoint.

Fordyce says mobile devices are common workplace tools, and workers expect on-demand access to information.

“Right now, there isn't a single dominant competitor in the market. Email and cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive have made it easy for people to share and distribute information but they pose significant challenges to organisations that are struggling to retain control of their information.

“Document leakage is a big problem. They're losing a lot of sensitive information because file sharing is so easy. Stellar Library solves the problem by locking down document distribution and access.”

At this stage, it is only available for iPads. “We have the ability to do Android and Windows but the iPad is such a large market,” Fordyce says.

Customers pay $8 a month per tablet connection. “The addition of just a few customers can deliver exponential growth,” he says.

The new investment will fund ongoing development and a worldwide marketing programme, scheduled for kick-off later this year. The company plans to target health sector organisations in the main.

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