Keith Patton and Ben Gracewood officially took the wraps off their shiny new software company last night at a party in Auckland’s viaduct. Patton is CEO and Gracewood is practice lead at Marker Metro which describes itself as “the world’s first 100% Windows app agency”.
In my words Marker Metro is a software developer exclusively devoted to building applications for Microsoft’s new Metro user interface. It’s also a New Zealand start-up company that’s already playing on the world stage.
Marker’s timing is good. This time last year you might have worried about anyone closely aligning a development business with Microsoft at a time the world is moving from PCs to smart phones and tablets.
Since then Microsoft has smartly repositioned itself to meet the challenges of what no-one at the company has yet dared to describe as the post-PC era.
In the last month Microsoft has articulated a fresh strategy reaching across tablets, smart phones, PCs and even gaming consoles. Its Metro user interface is the common thread linking these devices. It’s going to be huge.
And that means an exciting opportunity for Marker Metro.
Impressive business model
I’m impressed with the business on a number of counts. First, Marker earns revenue building first-rate apps for prestigious local clients like TradeMe, The New Zealand Herald, Air New Zealand and The Rugby World Cup. Second, it is working on its own applications as well which will sell through the Windows app store.
I also like the way the company is just getting on with business rather than spending all its time trying to raise venture capital – which for many technology entrepreneurs appears to be an end game rather than the first step.
Naturally Marker has Microsoft onside, Scott Wylie, director of the developer and platform group for Microsoft New Zealand spoke at last night’s function. So did Nick Abbott, who heads the developer experience practice for Nokia Australia and New Zealand.
Ideally New Zealand would have 100 companies like Marker, for now, I’m pleased we’ve got one.