The worldwide recession has taken its toll on countless businesses in almost every sector of the economy over the past two years. But one local company, Harbinger Knowledge Products, has actually enjoyed sharp growth despite the strong economic headwinds.
Harbinger has quietly but steadily become a global leader in a special niche of the software industry - interactive e-learning products for corporations and educators. In the past year alone, the company, whose U.S. headquarters is in Redmond, has seen its revenue jump 50 percent and has expanded its worldwide workforce by 35 percent.
Fortune 500 corporations to universities and online colleges to police departments and even the U.S. Army have started deploying Harbinger's products. Among its customers are MetLife, Chase, Honda Canada, Abbot Laboratories, University of Kansas Medical Center, Indiana University, Kaplan University and the Los Angeles Police Department, to name a few.
Recently, Deloitte LLP named Harbinger one of the 500 fastest growing technology companies in the Asia Pacific Region and one of the 50 fastest growing tech firms in India, where its global headquarters is located.
Vikas Joshi, chairman and managing director of the Harbinger Group, said the company's cutting-edge products are addressing a growing demand for interactivity in educational and training software.
"E-learning is going through a sea change, both in terms of higher-education and corporate training programs," he said. "Static, one-way educational and training software is rapidly being replaced by interactive products that really engage students and employees and increase their retention."
Seema Chaudhary, president of Harbinger Knowledge Products, said interactivity is a key enabler for communicating ideas effectively. "Harbinger's cutting-edge technology unlocks the potential of interactivity to revolutionize the online educational experience for millions of people," she said.
The company's leading product Raptivity is a software that enables instructors to create highly interactive eLearning content with games, simulations, 3D objects, videos and even "virtual worlds" that bring subjects to life. The games test a student's retention of the content presented in the course and are modeled after popular TV game shows to bring the content to life.
"Interactivity makes learning fun and exciting for students, but even more importantly, our next-generation e-learning software serves as a much more effective way to ensure students are understanding and retaining the information being presented," Chaudhary said.
While e-learning software sales continue to rise, Harbinger is also leveraging its technology to move into two new market segments - presentation products and Web development products. Chaudhary says both sectors offer strong growth potential for the company and its state-of-the-art interactive technology.
Harbinger has already released products for both new markets. The presentation solution is called YawnBuster, which is designed to bring PowerPoint slides alive with group activities, such as audience polls, games, group exercises and competitions. And TeemingPod is a new product that enables Web sites to create more social interaction through such things as real-time user discussions, opinion polls, viewer rankings and do other things together.
Harbinger sees no letup in sales and revenue growth in the coming year, despite the sluggish economy. To meet rising product demand, the company has expanded its office in Pune, India and opened a new office in the United Kingdom, which will serve clients in Europe. The company is also upgrading its channel management programs to handle product distribution in 45 countries and manage future growth.