Lavu ex­pan­sion

ABQ-based startup to open Mi­ami of­fice to bet­ter serve fast-grow­ing South Amer­i­can mar­kets

Albuquerque Journal - - FRONT PAGE - BY ELLEN MARKS AS­SIS­TANT BUSI­NESS EDITOR

Lavu Inc., the rapidly grow­ing Albuquerque startup, has opened an “ex­pan­sion of­fice” in Mi­ami, com­pany Pres­i­dent Ohad Je­hassi said Tues­day.

The of­fice opened this month — its first ex­pan­sion in the United States. Je­hassi said the num­ber of em­ploy­ees hired for the new of­fice will be “based on the tal­ent we find.”

The com­pany last year opened an of­fice in India.

Lavu, which be­gan in 2010, de­vel­oped soft­ware that al­lows restau­rants and ho­tels to con­duct their busi­ness on mo­bile de­vices such as tablets and smart­phones. With Lavu’s sys­tem, restau­rants and ho­tels in­te­grate all front- and back-end op­er­a­tions.

As of June, the com­pany em­ployed about 120 peo­ple, most of whom work out of its Down­town head­quar­ters in the The­ater Build­ing at Cen­tral Av­enue and First Street.

Je­hassi said ad­di­tional of­fices are planned to ser­vice the com­pany’s ex­plo­sive growth.

Lavu has sales in 89 coun­tries, but the fastest grow­ing re­gion is South Amer­ica.

Open­ing an of­fice in Mi­ami al­lows the com­pany to take di­rect flights to those cus­tomers, Je­hassi said.

He said the com­pany has no plans to down­size its Albuquerque op­er­a­tions, although it has had its share of prob­lems at its Down­town head­quar­ters.

Je­hassi sent a letter in June to Gov. Su­sana Martinez and Mayor Richard Berry threat­en­ing to leave Down­town and po­ten­tially the state be­cause of the “marked de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in the safety and se­cu­rity of the down­town Albuquerque area.”

Af­ter a meet­ing with city of­fi­cials, Je­hassi told a local TV station that he was op­ti­mistic the ad­min­is­tra­tion would work to im­prove safety.

Berry re­sponded with a crime­fight­ing plan that promised a greater po­lice pre­sen=ce, bet­ter graf­fiti con­trol and trash cleanup and con­nect­ing peo­ple with ser­vices to deal with home­less­ness, sub­stance abuse and men­tal health is­sues.

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