Article | The Abletech story — part two

The Abletech story — part two

In the second part of Abletech’s story, the company has grown. It has invested in a diverse team with a broad knowledge base. The result? A multitude of skills and experiences to approach each project with cutting edge innovation and tailored solutions.

People matter

Following on from The Abletech story — part 1 we pick up the narrative at the point where Marcus and Nigel had begun hand-picking developers.

Marcus and Nigel have always been discerning. They’re selective about their technology choices. They’re able to select the clients they work with. They also pride themselves on their choice of staff.

“The people we have on the team are so important,” explains Nigel. “We are careful to have a good balance of skills, seniority, experience, diversity and people who share our values.”

“It’s crucial,” Marcus agrees. “We are intentional about how we grow and what sorts of hires we take on.”

Nigel explains that they are always on the look-out for people. “We prefer to be in ‘constant hire mode’ so we have the right mix available when we need them.” Abletech doesn’t wait to find the right people at the right time. “The chances are slim that the best person will be out there looking for a job at exactly the same time as we’re needing them,” says Nigel.

Abletech offers company shares to its staff and involves everyone in the company’s strategic moves. The team enjoys a relaxed, positive atmosphere and have regular team events such as knowledge and skill sharing tech-sessions.

“We don’t want to grow too quickly,” Nigel explains. “It’s more important to us that we have the right people on the team and that they can genuinely take part in the business.”

Able Technology Ltd became Abletech

In 2010 Carl Penwarden joined the directorship. With a background in engineering and telecommunications management, he foresaw an increasing demand for marketplace choice. Carl had worked on national broadband mapping for the government, and was managing fibre optic cabling at CityLink.

**Cloud computing **“I loved it but I could see there needed to be a disaggregation of the networks and services,” explains Carl. “There was going to be more and more demand for cloud technology done well.”

Carl had known Nigel for ten years. They got chatting with John Clegg, who owned an online mapping and addressing business. “John was wanting to go overseas,” explains Carl. “But he had new customers and he wanted to leave them in a safe pair of hands.” Carl joined as Managing Director, they became Abletech, and acquired ProjectX Technology.

This acquisition included the staff, products and systems of ProjectX’s core business, minus the name. At the time, Marcus explained that the move was, “a natural progression for Abletech as an influential member of Wellington’s growing Ruby on Rails software development community”. He was right; it was another good choice.

The service, AddressFinder, is now enjoying growing success in both NZ and Australia and Abletech are key players in the Ruby on Rails community.

**Developing in an agile environment **Abletech was able to transition AddressFinder customers like NZ Post and GWRC into clients of further software services. This side of Abletech has also grown in popularity. Carl says the ethos of Abletech has always been quite simple. “We deliver awesome solutions.” He says it doesn’t get more complicated than that.

“We’re big on delivery, people decide what they want and how much they’ll pay for it. That’s what they get: exactly what they want.”

Abletech are also experienced at getting a minimum viable product out into the marketplace, fast, in front of customers. “The key thing is getting feedback and using that to inform further iterations,” Carl explains. “Ruby on Rails is the perfect tool for testing and analysing a new business idea.”


These days Abletech builds and grows its own SaaS businesses and the team identifies new opportunities together. As organisations move from larger centralised technology stacks, they approach Abletech to integrate modern micro-technologies that scale to their needs. Abletech are known for having a solid development process and technical goodness.

Marcus and Nigel are still fired-up about what they do. “I love the atmosphere,” says Marcus. “Every day we’re getting stuff done, pleasing clients and controlling our destiny.” Nigel agrees, “people say they’ve seen what we’ve done for others and want us to do it for them”.

Although they’re also directors, Marcus and Nigel love nothing better than to roll up their sleeves and get stuck into code, while Carl enjoys promoting and maintaining the growing business and team. Enthusiasm for cloud technologies is alive and well. Abletech’s culture thrives as the team advances the mission to deliver innovative solutions together.

There’s no shortage of work for the talented developers at Abletech but they take it all in their stride. They pace themselves with a healthy balance of activities including cycling, conferences, community good, food and crazy hobbies.

Everyone’s happy that everyone’s happy Marcus and Nigel have found great team-mates who also love cloud tech. Clients are equally excited about Abletech developing ideas into reality using the latest web and mobile technologies.

The Abletech Story — Part One explains the initial ideas and people who started the company.

Watch the Abletech story in a minute in this animation.

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