Malta is a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean, not far from Sicily. It enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate with over 300 days of sunshine per year.
Malta is the smallest member of the EU using the euro as its currency. Whilst Maltese is the national language, English is spoken by 99% of the population. The Maltese people are also extremely hard working, so its no surprise that Malta has become a very popular location for multi national companies.
With over 50 non stop regular flights, its on average only 3 hours from most major european cities.
Let me explain. For almost 30 years, VME Retail has provided grocery epos software to retailers in the UK and Ireland.
We focus on grocery; supermarkets and convenience stores. That's all we do - no hospitality, no fashion, no non food - just grocery.
Our ambition is not only to be the best and most obvious solution for any retailer running grocery shops, but to have the best people developing new and exciting functionality that can ensure our customers are at the forefront of grocery retailing - using the latest technologies and best systems.
Our customers deserve to have not just the best systems to compete in their local market, but the best technology possible from any epos supplier in the entire world.
To help achieve this, we have just opened a development centre of excellence in Malta. We are employing the best software engineers and technical architects; people who want to make a real difference to systems where even a few milliseconds delay on a keypress can lead to longer queues in-store.
I absolutely agree - its an extremely brave statement to make.
Here's why I made it. We only write systems for grocers. Stores that sell fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) is our only business and that is exactly the way it will remain. The requirements to run a FMCG business are not the same as a fashion store, or hospitality, and never will be. Retailers know this, and EPOS companies should too.
Mark Zuckerburg made his name for not wavering from his plan to grow Facebook, not getting distracted along the way by easy money making avenues that would have grown his bottom line but hurt his growth, and I am exactly the same as Mark. I believe only niche companies can survive in this day and age; companies that focus on one thing and do that one thing extremely well.
Diversifying your team, regardless of how big they are, only dilutes the knowledge and you end up making compromises across the board in an attempt to satisfy multiple markets.
The only alternative is to split your teams into different products, one for each market (grocery, fashion, hospitality etc) but then you're no longer a large company - you're lots of smaller teams with all the red tape of a larger company. I see this often; larger companies competing against us make a lot of noise about their larger size being a good thing, but when you discover how many of their employees will actually be working on the grocery solution that you need as a retailer, they are the same size as ourselves, and sometimes a lot smaller!
So our centre of excellence is 100% focussed on building solutions with the latest technology for grocery retailers across the world. We have the best technical people working solely on solutions to solve grocer's problems.
Our ambitions are large. Not only do we intend to become the largest development team focussed on writing software exclusively for grocery retailing (we're not far away from that milestone) but we're on track to become the largest .NET employer on the island.
We're taking the best technologies (naturally, cloud based is at the centre, as is .NET core that you'll hear a lot about over the next few years), combining it with the best grocery retailing practices from across the world and making it available to all of our customers.
These are very exciting times. I'm really looking forward to this journey.