Friday, August 19, 2011

QlikTech plans growth, doubles office size

"When Qlik Technologies Inc. first set up shop here in 2006, its office was 4,000 square feet.

One initial public offering and a lot of growth later, the business-intelligence software developer recently more than doubled the size of its latest office, taking it from 10,000 to 23,000 square feet.

The immediate reason for the move was so the 100 people in the office “don’t have to sit on top of each other,” QlikTech CEO Lars Björk said.

But although QlikTech isn’t planning an immediate hiring binge, it does plan to fill the space “in two years or three years,” Björk said.

If the company can continue its growth to date, that shouldn’t be a problem.

QlikTech, which was founded in Sweden in 1993, had revenue of $44.2 million the year it opened its office here to take advantage of the U.S. market for its products. Last year, its revenue was $226.5 million and the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is that it will post $318.7 million in revenue this year.

As is often the case for fast-growing companies, QlikTech hasn’t been consistently profitable. It has lost money three of the last four quarters and lost $6.7 million, or 8 cents per diluted share, in the first half of this year.

But Björk isn’t worried.

“We feel that the best thing we can do is just to continue to invest and grab as much market share as possible in the shortest period of time,” he said.

“We are going to be profitable, but our focus is not on maximizing short-term profit. That wouldn’t be wise.”

QlikTech’s growth has been made possible by its flagship product, QlikView, which allows users to see whatever information they are allowed to see about their business or organization in the way that’s easiest for them to understand on whatever device they want to see it on.

“You don’t really require much, if any, training to navigate through this QlikView interface,” said Dan Vesset, the program vice president of business analytics for International Data Corp., the Framingham, Mass.-based market-intelligence firm.

QlikView isn’t all QlikTech has going for it.

Its strategy has been to go after midsize businesses that some of its larger competitors in the business-intelligence space, including Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle Corp. and Walldorf, Germany-based SAP AG, which has its U.S. headquarters in Newtown Square, haven’t traditionally focused on as much.

“They have a very strong and very localized partner community within all the different countries that they operate in, so they are able to really provide that service and hand-holding to the midsize companies that maybe some of the larger companies will ignore or not treat as they want to be treated,” Vesset said.

Other analysts feel the same way.

In a January report, Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. put QlikTech in the “Magic Quadrant” of business-intelligence vendors based on its ability to execute its strategy and the completeness of its vision. Other BI vendors in that space included Oracle, SAP, Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM Corp. and Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft Corp.

QlikTech is “the poster child for a new end-user-driven approach to BI” and QlikView’s “ease of use” is driving its adaptation, Gartner said.

Björk thinks the company can grow well beyond the nearly 1,000 employees it now has worldwide.

The BI market is growing at 6 percent annually and QlikTech only has from 2 to 2.5 percent of that market in the United States and Europe, he said.

“Most of our market opportunity is still definitely ahead of us,” he said."

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