Adelaide-based MGM Wireless has secured a distribution alliance with US education software specialist, VIP Tone, to take to market a co-branded, SMS-based school attendance suite in the US and Australia.
Prior to the distribution deal, MGM and VIP Tone serviced a number of mutual government school customers in Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia. VIP Tone's student management systems interfaced with MGM's attendance analysis application but were not part of a consolidated suite.
The new co-branded suite, School MATRIX messageyou, blended both products together into an integrated module to help schools keep track of student attendance and to manage workflow activities for students and teachers alike, MGM Wireless executive chairman, Mark Fortunatow, said.
"This is a significant step forward for MGM Wireless and will provide an instant channel to market for our suite of school attendance products," he said.
The deal will see MGM's products sold by VIP Tone to more than 7000 schools in the US. Expansions in Australia will focus on schools in NSW and Victoria.
"VIP Tone is an excellent choice of partner for the rapid deployment of MGM Wireless products into one of the biggest education markets on the globe, the USA, which has 90,000 schools," Fortunatow said.
MGM's foray into the US hasn't been without its share of risks though, as the establishment of the company's US presence in California resulted in a financial loss for the last six months. In its half yearly report to the ASX, the company posted a loss of $278,935, but after tax cuts, amortisation, depreciation and a government kick-back from the export development grant, the loss came to $37,439 for the period.
"Although we hit a number of milestones in 2006 - in particular a 50 per cent rise in operating revenue and a 39 per cent rise in the number of schools using MGM's product range - the opening of our office in California contributed heavily to our financial loss," Fortunatow said. "It's a necessary step and it's very strategic and important to us and hopefully the first of many similar deals in both the US and Australia."