Oztera lands in Napa

Few visitors to Napa Valley truly understand the deep complexities of the grape-to-glass process. But Napa’s newest neighbor, Oztera, does. The company specializes in making wineries more productive and efficient in all things business, from grape to consumer.

Founded in 2001, Oztera creates industry-tailored software solutions for businesses. Though it started with supporting agile manufacturing companies in the high-tech industry, for the last five to six years Oztera has found a welcome home in the agriculture and wine industries, which has become its focus.

TeraVina is Oztera’s all-in-one, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution for wineries. TeraVina allows wineries to integrate all aspects of their business, from production to sales, on a single application. This allows employees to focus on the most important parts of the business, and allows management to have a more accurate, real-time view of their business.

“They were asking for all in one. They didn’t have clear visibility over their business when they had to go to separate systems to get different bits of information,” said Oztera president and founder Minou Barabi on the needs of her initial winery clients.

After identifying the need for a more seamless system, Oztera partnered up with Microsoft to build its system within Dynamics Nav (formerly known as Navision), which combines business software with the Microsoft tools employees use daily, and LS Retail, one of the most widely used POS (point of sale) providers in the world. The system can integrate with a myriad of other outside applications as well.

The high-tech company’s home base in Fremont keeps its employees in vital close contact with Silicon Valley, but as Oztera continues to make its mark on the wine industry, Napa was the obvious spot for an expansion office. The business recently opened in a space on Napa Valley Corporate Drive.

Currently, the company employs more than 20 people and the new office has two employees. With plans to hire some additional local talent, they will likely have three to five by the end of the year.

The company’s name is a combination of a “Wizard of Oz” reference combined with “tera” of “terabyte.” To match the name, employees all dressed up as “Wizard of Oz” characters one Halloween, said Barabi with a laugh.

Barabi hopes Oztera’s local presence can truly benefit Napa Valley, and she has plans for both her and the company to get very involved in the community. One of the items on her personal to-do list is to join the Chamber of Commerce.

“We really feel part of this close-knit community and we feel the best way to protect it is to make it stronger. By bringing our knowledge and experiences from other industries and regions, we hope to make a big impact,” she said.

In fact, it’s that prowess that separates TeraVina from other winery software applications and what Barabi values even above the product itself.

“The software is definitely one part of it, but what makes us unique is our team and expertise,” she said. “We have the tools, but what we do with the tools is our advantage over other software providers. The vast knowledge of business processes, our team’s passion to make a difference and our accessibility are what give us an edge. We deeply care about our clients and we have vested interest in their success and growth as it directly relates to ours.

The feeling is evidently mutual. In 2006, Oztera’s very first client was named the fastest-growing private company in Silicon Valley and continues to grow at an impressive rate today, in part thanks to Oztera’s help. Oztera’s 95 percent client retention rate speaks even louder to the efficiency of not only its products, but also its staff. Barabi prides herself on the close relationships the company has built with its clients, who in many cases she says have turned into friends and mentors.

“It’s the solid relationships and partnerships we develop with our clients. They put their trust in us to improve their business systems and processes to help them achieve their business objectives and goals. The best compliments we receive are referrals from our clients. That makes all the efforts well worth it.“

Word of mouth has been so successful that Oztera doesn’t have a marketing or sales department, and has had to put very little bandwidth into those initiatives.

In the same way that we support our clients, our clients have been very supportive of us as well,” said Barabi. “As business owners, we all have challenges and hardship. What’s really made it such a pleasure for us amid the hard work and long hours, is really the people we come across. The people in Napa Valley, and all of our clients really, have been just so welcoming and great to know as friends.”

Moving forward, Oztera hopes to increase the support available to their clients and essentially grow with them as it adds on more and more users to their system. The company is also looking to focus on creating a simplified solution tailored for smaller wineries.

“We are thrilled to play a small role in bringing business-enhancing technologies to the wine industry,” said Barabi. “It’s extremely rewarding to be able to contribute to the efficiencies and growth of our clients’ businesses, and to be able to actually see the fruits of our labor.”

Pun intended.