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Tech innovator IMS announces big growth plans in Waterloo

IMS, a Waterloo-based tech company that was in receivership just two years ago, has announced significant growth plans.

What a difference two years make. In September 2018, IMS – an autotech innovator specializing in connected car technology – was placed in receivership.

A few months later, the company emerged from receivership with a new owner: Trak Global Group from the United Kingdom.

This week, the company announced plans to double its workforce in Waterloo. IMS currently has 70 employees in Waterloo, which serves as the company’s North American HQ.

The rapid growth is, surprisingly, the result of significant changes in driving behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic. IMS specializes in telematics technology that collects and interprets vehicle and driver data, which is critical for fleet management and usage-based insurance programs.

With workplaces and recreation opportunities closed, people were driving less, which spurred increased interest in “pay-as-you-drive” insurance programs that help account for less time behind the wheel.

“There has been an uptake across the board for usage-based programs, notably mileage-based programs, which are seen by policyholders as providing a smarter and fairer approach versus refunds and rebates which tend to under-reward those who have stayed home and driven little — and over-reward those who have continued to drive the same during these times,” said Brian Halk, IMS senior director of marketing, in a Waterloo Region Record story.

In between receivership and this new growth announcement, the company has hired a new chief executive officer, Nino Tarantino, and opened a new office at the David Johnston Research + Technology Park.

“Designed as a modern and collaborative, open concept environment, it sets the tone perfectly for our new direction and future growth,” said Tarantino in January, 2020.

IMS is just one example of a flourishing autotech business community in Waterloo. Driven by research assets like the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR) and unmatched tech talent, the community has added global companies like Ford and BorgWarner over the last couple of years, joining homegrown innovators like Acerta Analytics and DarwinAI.

For a full list of Waterloo-based autotech companies, download our Waterloo AutoTech Cluster Map.

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