Following the CTRM and related software space, we are aware of almost all of the solution providers in the space (an odd one pops up now and then that we have never heard of and that certainly keeps our job interesting). Having performed this analyst role for the past 15-years or so, we also see vendor’s come and go. A few years ago, iRely was on very much on our radar screens, at that time primarily in North America, as a CTRM vendor. Then, the company made a number of acquisitions some of which, at the time, seemed to us to lie outside of the typical CTRM space. It then went extremely quiet in terms of communication between iRely and ComTech. We simply assumed that iRely had chosen to go in a different market direction. Roll the clock forward a few years to just a couple of weeks ago, when we received an email from Alexander Bjorkheim of iRely wanting to update us on its activities. The briefing call that followed was a pleasant surprise.
Mr. Bjorkheim wanted to advise us of iRely’s new i21 platform – an all new, modular, web-enabled offering that iRely has been quietly building investing “millions of dollars” in the process. The company had basically consolidated all its products onto this single platform, readied it for market and has already converted or is in the process of converting, over 50% of its existing customer base. “We are the only vendor that can offer such a broad solution on a single platform in the Ags space,” Mr. Bjorkheim told us. In fact, a quick look at iRely’s new website shows the range of functionality of the product from agricultural functions like grain origination and feed management, for example, through Commodity Management and into convenience stores and into areas of petroleum distribution.
The solution’s scope covers from the farm to point of sale and is primarily targeted at ags companies along the value chain, cooperatives, food and beverage firms and so on. It is a true commodity management solution. Based on the new platform, it is available for cloud or traditional deployment, we were told.
iRely has over 340 customers including 15-20 across Europe. Its main customer base remains in North America but Mr. Borjkheim has been hired to head up iRely’s efforts in Europe and the middle East. With around 140 employees globally, iRely is now ready to expand and is already implementing its solution in Germany for a large coffee roaster.
Mr. Bjorkheim, who has worked for other CTRM and CM vendors in the space, told us that having just joined iRely, he was impressed by the company and how it works with its customers. It holds Customer Advisory Board meetings four times a year coinciding with major product upgrades where it can and does get feedback and ideas for new functionality.
We will talk with iRely again in the near future as there is a lot to learn after a 4+ year communication gap. However, it is always good to know that sometimes vendors that go quiet can come back even stronger than before.