In June 2016, Verizon Communications Inc. entered into an agreement to purchase Telogis Inc. in what will most likely be an extremely lucrative deal for co-founder and entrepreneur Newth Morris IV.
Morris, president of Telogis Route and co-founder of Telogis Navigation, shared his experiences during a Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS) event held October 19 at The Paul Merage School of Business, including his thoughts on entrepreneurship:
- Secure good strong technical talent
- Ideas can come from anywhere
- Everything is enabled by technology
- Identify what can you disrupt or change
- Don’t get “blindered” by certain ideas
- Connect everything that moves to the internet
Utilizing a unique discussion format, Morris was interviewed by Michael Wong, CEO and president of Genea and leader of the Beall Center DSS committee. Morris told the story of how he ended up in Southern California and the journey he and his partners took to develop Telogis.
Armed with a degree in engineering, Morris spent much of his time in the late 1990s focused on developing useful software based on GPS technologies. Fortunately, not many other companies were interested in GPS.
“Naiveté was an asset,” said Morris. Because of regulations at the time, the use of GPS was tightly controlled by the government. “Regulations changed in 2000 and the changes brought a lot of competition,” said Morris.
During 2007 and 2008, Morris took advantage of opportunities resulting from steep increases in fuel prices, to introduce GPS software products that could help transportation businesses save money on fuel. The rest is history.
“We grew our business to No. 3 in the industry in just three years,” said Morris. However, he cautioned the audience that most new companies don’t find success overnight. In fact, it took the Telogis team nearly 16 years before they really hit it big.
“In the early days, we got funding from angels. We looked for high net worth guys who could make $100,000 investments.” Morris continued, “During my first five years of business, I was making less under $100,000.”
By 2013, things started looking up. The Telogis executive team secured $93 million in its first round of financing from venture capital company Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers. The investment enabled Telogis to work with automotive OEMs, developing GPS products for fleet vehicles.
Today, Telogis offers a full line of GPS-enabled software products. For Morris, with the pending Verizon purchase, who knows what the future may hold.
The October DSS was hosted by the Merage School’s Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in an effort to connect the Merage School student body and the entrepreneurial business community. The next DSS event, featuring Allergan’s former Chief Executive Officer David Pyott, is scheduled for March 9, 2017. Visit merage.uci.edu/go/dss for more information.