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Morris in Motion

Telogis Inc.’s new deal with AT&T Inc. marks another significant turn for the Aliso Viejo-based logistics software maker under the leadership of co-founder Newth Morris.

The latest pact with the Dallas-based telecom company will provide Telogis’ growing roster of big-name customers with improved vehicle and workforce connectivity and security throughout the world.

It also provides some flexibility in pricing as Telogis rolls out mobile services, like its new vehicle-as-a-hub offering that creates mobile hot spots in customers’ fleets.

“Our business is evolving by adding new applications and expanding globally,” said Morris, who received one of the Business Journal’s inaugural Innovator of the Year award Sept. 24 at Hotel Irvine (see related stories, pages 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9).

The deal calls for Telogis and AT&T to offer customers a subscriber identity module card that identifies the carrier and user to make global deployments simpler and faster.

GPS

Telogis’ software relies on GPS technology and analytics to improve fuel use, driver and vehicle performance, shipments and deliveries, and routes, among other features.

The company has carved out a lucrative niche by syncing partnerships with leading auto brands and influential investors and pushing innovation in one of the hottest areas in technology: connected vehicles.

“Our software and services are a key part of this new reality, but we are part of an ecosystem that includes wireless carriers, auto manufacturers, mobile device makers and more,” Morris said.

In May the company raised $25 million in venture capital backing, bringing its total funding well past $100 million as it aims to scale a company with $100 million in annual revenue and 685 employees worldwide, including 125 in Aliso Viejo.

Telogis, founded in 2001, is Orange County’s 15th largest software maker in terms of employment.

It received a $93 million investment from Menlo Park-based venture capitalists Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2013, believed to be the highest figure locally that year.

Subsequent rounds have brought funds from GM Ventures, the venture capital arm of General Motors, and Fontinalis Partners LLC, which was co-founded by William Clay Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co. and son of the Detroit Lions owner.

Strategic

The Fontinalis strategic investment extended a relationship with GM that began in early 2014 to integrate telematics software into GM’s OnStar connectivity system, which has more than 6.5 million subscribers.

The GM deal is one of several signed with large commercial vehicle makers. Others include an exclusive agreement with Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc. to supply the Anaheim-based company with new telematics systems to improve the fleet’s connectivity services.

The Isuzu commercial truck division, part of Isuzu Motors Ltd. in Tokyo, has been among the largest sellers of low-cab forward trucks in the U.S. since the mid-1980s, according to the company.

Telogis also has a software contract with the U.S. unit of Hino Motors Ltd., the third-largest truck maker in the world.

The company reached an agreement in March 2013 with Volvo Group’s North American truck division to develop fleet management services using its cloud-based technology. Gothenburg, Sweden-based Volvo takes in more than $45 billion a year.

A month later Telogis signed a deal with Manitowoc Co. to power its upgraded telematics offering, called Global CraneSTAR, which monitors crane operation data and transmits the information back to the company’s Wisconsin headquarters. Manitowoc has annual sales of about $3.9 billion.

Telogis’ first significant contract came in 2011 when it embedded its telematic software in Ford Motor Co.’s commercial trucks and vans, allowing its fleet customers to manage vehicles remotely through a website.

The deal with the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker helped put Telogis on the map with serious investors.

Now the fast-growing company is exploring other cash infusions to meet customer demand and international expansion, including an initial public offering.

“An IPO is certainly an option for us,” Morris said. “We are constantly evaluating financing options and market conditions to develop our best path for growth.”

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