FIJI’S TECH

Start-up Scene

mailife - - Technology - By PRIYA DARSNI

In 2013, Sil­i­con Val­ley was al­ready sat­u­rated with tech start-ups, ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists, and pro­gram­mers cod­ing at the speed of light to stay on trend with con­sumer needs. It was the year Twit­ter filed for IPO with just one woman on their board, which caused an un­der­stand­able amount of pub­lic crit­i­cism. In the same year, miles away from Cal­i­for­nia, a soft­ware de­vel­op­ment com­pany called ITvTi was founded in Fiji. Rob Cromb, co-founder of high street fash­ion brand, Kookai, started the com­pany to foster the growth of tech­nol­ogy at home in Fiji. By shift­ing the man­u­fac­tur­ing of Kookai cloth­ing to Fiji a num­ber of years ago, Rob and his team dras­ti­cally lifted em­ploy­ment op­tions, par­tic­u­larly for women. Now they have set out to es­tab­lish a strong and sus­tain­able tech startup cul­ture in Suva.

The com­pany that started five years ago with three young grad­u­ates from the Univer­sity of the South Pa­cific now has ateam of 14 young peo­ple with fe­male rep­re­sen­ta­tion. True to the suc­cess sto­ries from Sil­i­con Val­ley, ITvTi houses a young and in­no­va­tive work­force with the av­er­age age of em­ploy­ees be­ing 24 years. Since it’s in­cep­tion, the com­pany has con­cen­trated on the de­vel­op­ment of th­ese young peo­ple with par­tic­u­lar focus on con­tin­ued learn­ing. This or­ganic ap­proach to growth and fu­ture-fo­cused op­er­a­tions has nat­u­rally led to a spe­cial­i­sa­tion in­app de­vel­op­ment (iOS and An­droid), web de­sign, e-com­merce and build­ing busi­ness in­tel­li­gence soft­ware. The ITvTi team were quick to see a trend in the lo­cal mar­ket — a re­liance on off­shore de­vel­op­ers by lo­cal com­pa­nies. To prove that lo­cal grad­u­ates could com­pete on

a global level, they set out to de­velop and launch the “Find Fiji” App ear­lier this year. “A lot of lo­cal com­pa­nies are en­gag­ing off­shore de­vel­op­ers to do their soft­ware de­vel­op­ment and we wanted to let the pub­lic know that there is a lo­cal op­tion avail­able that is just as good or bet­ter than their off­shore op­tions. Our USP grad­u­ates are highly skilled and fos­ter­ing lo­cal tal­ent is a huge pri­or­ity for us”, ITvTi Mar­ket­ing Man­ager Tu­laga Wit­combe said. The Find Fiji App is free to down­load and an easy way to quickly search up busi­nesses and ser­vices in Fiji. As a lo­cal or vis­i­tor, you sim­ply type in what you’re look­ing for and all your op­tions pop up in­stantly on your smart­phone screen. Users can search by name or by cat­e­gory, which is es­pe­cially use­ful for vis­i­tors to the is­land — par­tic­u­larly the in-built fea­ture which gives users di­rec­tions to the ser­vice provider they choose. The team has also in­tro­duced a “Hot Deals” sec­tion where busi­nesses can ad­ver­tise spe­cials and pro­mo­tions. Asked about fu­ture as­pi­ra­tions, Tu­laga was quick to af­firm his be­lief in the tal­ent and po­ten­tial for tech­nol­ogy in Fiji. “We want to make Fiji a hub for soft­ware de­vel­op­ment by pro­vid­ing world class soft­ware so­lu­tions. We are pri­mar­ily driven by the goal to cre­ate jobs for our IT stu­dents in Fiji and to en­able a fu­ture where Fiji be­comes an ex­porter in­stead of an im­porter of tech­nol­ogy ser­vices. ITvTi also wants to use its knowl­edge in tech­nol­ogy to as­sist lo­cal busi­nesses with tak­ing their prod­uct to mar­ket and help­ing au­thor­i­ties with soft­ware so­lu­tions that im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity and ef­fi­ciency.” The “Find Fiji” app is avail­able to down­load from the app store on all iOS and An­droid de­vices.

ITvTi Team in Fiji

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