Toronto-based Guestlogix Inc. has set up a “product innovation lab” in Moncton, N.B., with plans to add 35 new jobs to the city by the end of June 2015.
A provider of on-board retail technology to airlines and railways, Guestlogix received a $480,000 forgivable loan from Invest New Brunswick, a Crown corporation that looks for companies to set up shop in the province and to boost job creation.
Guestlogix and the government of New Brunswick made the announcement back in November 2013. So far, the company has picked out its building site, but it plans to start hiring people in March. It’s looking for developers, business architects, and quality assurance testers.
Headquartered in Toronto, the company already has offices in the U.S., the U.K., and Hong Kong. It counts more than 70 airlines and railways around the world as among its customers, including Air Canada, Porter, Westjet, American Airlines, and United Airlines in North America, as well as others in Europe and Asia.
There are a few reasons why Guestlogix chose New Brunswick, says Brett Proud, Guestlogix’s CEO.
“There’s a tendency for a company of our size – we only have 160 people worldwide – that those kind of people end up being used on other projects,” he says.
“We were really trying to find a way to put our product development folks in a place where they could be off on their own … to almost fence off a team that can build our next-generation technology platform.”
Guestlogix looked at a few sites for its new facility, including Toronto, but Invest NB approached it at the right time – and the rest worked out from there, Proud says. He adds their new lab will be a good opportunity for Monctonites to move back to their hometown, if they had to migrate to other cities for work.
“The branch of government in New Brunswick and the premier for sure have some great plans to turn Moncton into more of a technology-based economy,” he says. “There are some really exciting things going. In fact, the building that we’re moving into is a building of all software companies in downtown Moncton … They get it. They get that they’re trying to transform their economy.”
The new lab will focus on building out a new platform for its customers, as opposed to just building a piece of software that has to be customized for the specific needs of all of the world’s different airlines and railways, Proud says.
For example, since it builds retail technology and point-of-sales terminals, Guestlogix has to figure out how to abide by all of the payment standards and security regulations of various countries, as well as all of the methods of payment that airline and railway passengers will use.
Plus, it needs to work out how it can process payments when its wireless connectivity signals are weak or non-existent, on both airlines and railways, he says.
He adds he doesn’t expect the company to be able to unveil a new platform until at least the second half of 2015.