The downtown Schenectady tech firm, which specializes in fleet route management software, primarily for school buses, also added clients and employees, President and CEO Antonio Civitella said.
“It was a lot of sweating, a lot of hard work. We had a very good year for that reason,” he said.
Transfinder recorded $16.75 million in 2019 revenue, up 15 percent from 2018. It added 149 clients and it surpassed 120 employees: 85 in Schenectady, 30 in Shanghai, and a handful in Austin, Texas. It’s in the process of opening a fourth office, in Hyderabad, India, also with a handful of employees, and expects to have 10 people working there by the end of the year.
Transfinder also has as many as 30 contractors working for it at any given time on a temporary basis.
With multiple offices, the company has overcome the shortage of employees that hinders the high-tech sector and caused Transfinder to fall short of its growth targets in previous years, Civitella said.
“We didn’t have the resources. We could have gone faster if we had the staff we had today.”
Transfinder occupies a sleek headquarters at 440 State St. that it built in 2013; Civitella purchased 438 State St. in 2018 to allow for future expansion. He said Thursday that he added three more cubicles to the service department’s space at 440 State St. and cannot fit any more people there.
2019 marked the first time Transfinder drew more than half its new clients from its competitors. This suggests a maturation of the market, Civitella said: There are fewer and fewer school districts still using paper maps and push pins to route their buses, and those that do are harder to make successful pitches to.
So while Transfinder continues to pursue their business, it needs to look beyond them to assure continued growth.
“That takes a lot of work on our part, to educate the client” of another company, Civitella said. “We have to convince these clients that it’s worth the effort, worth the money” to switch over.
His selling points: “We have 30 plus years of experience, keeping up with technology. We also are selling a full, complete solution.” Customers increasingly want not only the best tools, they want all of the best tools provided by a single vendor, he explained.
“We’re able to present to potential clients that we are that vendor,” Civitella said.
The idea that bus routes designed by computer are more efficient and less expensive to run is more widely accepted now than in years past, and needn’t occupy as much of the sales pitch.
Transfinder says that its software allows a district to cut its mileage by as little as 11 miles a day, the software pays for itself.
A typical suburban school district with 3,000 students and 50 buses can typically save enough miles to eliminate an entire route and shorten the rest of the routes at least a little with routing software.
The majority of American school districts have fewer than 1,000 students, however, and these are typically the districts that don’t yet use software routing, so they are becoming a focus of sales efforts by Transfinder.