Agri-tech company Halter says it has focused on growing its core business, and research and development after securing $85 million in capital.
The company, which was founded in 2016, creates electronic collars that use sound and vibration to guide and contain individual cows without the need for fences.
The Series C funding was led by US venture capital giant Bessemer Venture Partners, known for backing companies such as LinkedIn and Rocket Lab.
Bessemer joined existing investors DCVC, Blackbird, Promus, Icehouse and Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck.
Halter founder and chief executive Craig Piggott - who once worked for Rocket Lab - said the company's main growth objectives revolved around its existing product.
"How do we continue to be more efficient - in terms of helping farmers to be more efficient, how do we keep increasing the benefits for them," he said.
"The key priority is more about improving the product and success for our farmers rather than any big expansion plans. They are there but they come second."
Piggott said any overseas expansion would be anchored on countries that farm in a similar way to New Zealand.
Bessemer partner Tess Hatch said Halter was a company that revolutionised livestock farms.
"The company's suite of software as a service products manages everything from pasture grazing and livestock movements to animal health, ultimately reducing labour costs and increasing revenue, while at the same time decreasing farm emissions," she said.
Halter's collars were leased under a "per-cow subscription model" that was based on the features required by farmers.
The company would own and maintain the collars.
Entries open for 24th AmCham – DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards for companies doing business with the USA, in conjunction with United Airlines.
The American Chamber of Commerce is delighted to announce the launch of the 2023 AmCham – DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards in conjunction with United Airlines. 2023 is the twenty fourth year these awards have been held and they celebrate business achievement between New Zealand and the United States. The US is New Zealand's third largest trading partner with bilateral trade now worth around $20 billion – goods exports to the USA $7.8b and imports from the USA $7.8b.
To allow us greater flexibility there are no set categories for the three exporter awards. Once applications are in the judges will decide on three categories.
With United Airlines returning to flying back to NZ and post Covid, we are bringing back the Contribution to Tourism with the USA award.
As Sustainability and Climate Change are such an important issue we will select one for the finalists to receive a Commitment to sustainability/Climate Change award.
Commenting on the awards, Mark Foy, Managing Director, New Zealand & Pacific Islands, DHL Express, said “DHL Express is proud to partner with AmCham to deliver the 2023 AmCham-DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards. We know that the USA remains as one of the top exporting destinations for New Zealand businesses, who we see using ingenuity to improve business processes. Innovation and Kiwi ingenuity are at the heart of numerous Kiwi export success stories and we look forward to seeing the high calibre of this year’s finalists”.
Awards categories are:
3 Exporters of the Year to the USA
Bilateral Connections with the USA
Investor of the Year to or from the USA
Contribution to Tourism with the USA
This year we will also select a finalist from the above categories for a Commitment to sustainability/Climate Change award.
The Supreme Award winner is selected from winners of each of these awards. AmCham also presents an award to the Member/Supporter of the Year.
Entries close 5pm on 30 May
Week of 26 July finalists interviewed by awards judges
29 August Awards dinner in Auckland
If you require any other information about entering the 2023 awards please contact Mike Hearn, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 09 309 9140.
2023 © Am
Microsoft has received Overseas Investment Office (OIO) consent to purchase additional land, enabling it to expand its cloud infrastructure in New Zealand.
As recognised by the OIO, this investment will benefit Aotearoa by introducing additional capital into the country, creating approximately 50 new full time equivalent (FTE) jobs once the datacenter on this site is operational, plus 300 temporary FTE jobs during construction of the datacenter.
This development is a recognition of the long-term opportunity we see in Aotearoa, and a sign of commitment from Microsoft to continue to assist in powering the country’s digitalisation journey. New Zealand’s economy proves to be resilient despite global macroeconomic challenges and its growth potential, underpinned by strong democratic foundations and the rule of law, creates a favourable business environment. This additional investment aims to meet anticipated customer demand for our cloud services in the future.
We already see strong uptake of cloud computing in New Zealand and high interest in the next generation of artificial intelligence-powered technologies. According to a recent IDC White Paper, commissioned by Microsoft, Public Cloud Services Opportunities and Dividends to the Australian and New Zealand Economies*, public cloud adoption generated $23.9 billion in new revenues for New Zealand businesses in 2022 – around six per cent of GDP. By 2026, cloud delivery is expected to add $21 billion to the economy above this level and generate 134,000 new jobs as a result of new capabilities and growth.”
Following the initial disclosure in 2020, announcing Microsoft’s intention to construct a datacenter region in New Zealand, Fonterra, the Accident Compensation Corporation, BNZ and Auckland Transport have decided to move to Microsoft Cloud. We’re also working alongside partners such as TupuToa, Rea, PwC and DXC to equip students, jobseekers, and workers with digital skills to ensure Aotearoa thrives in a digital future. We announced a micro-credential programme alongside national vocational training provider, Te Pūkenga, and TupuToa, aimed at filling the need for skilled cybersecurity experts, while boosting diversity. Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand has already committed to welcoming paid apprentices as part of the programme.
We also have sustainability firmly in mind as we build our hyper-scale cloud. With around 80 per cent of NZ’s electricity currently generated from renewable sources, we are well-placed to make New Zealand’s datacenter region one of the most sustainable on the planet. Microsoft has an ongoing commitment to supporting organisations on their decarbonisation journey through platforms such as Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, but that starts with ensuring our own cloud is net carbon neutral. One of our global sustainability commitments is to execute power purchase agreements equivalent to 100% of our energy needs by 2025. Last year, we signed an agreement with sustainable electricity retailer, Ecotricity, to ensure our datacenter region is powered by 100 per cent carbon free energy. Microsoft will only be using Toitū net carbonzero certified electricity sourced from solar, wind and hydro.
We look forward to continuing to empower every New Zealand organisation and all New Zealanders to achieve more.
Maciej Surowiec, Government Affairs Lead New Zealand, Corporate, External & Legal Affairs (CELA)
A US multinational digital communications technology giant is celebrating a decade long partnership with New Zealand software specialist Company-X.
Cisco Systems Inc, in San Jose, California, became a client of Company-X, in 2013 shortly after the software specialist was founded by Jeremy Hughes and David Hallett in Hamilton, Waikato.
Cisco asked Company-X for help and expertise with several international projects and the relationship continues today.
This makes Cisco one of Company-X’s first and oldest clients.
"We've been working with Company-X for several years now and they are a top-notch development and technology partner,” said iTalent Digital Cisco Account Manager Maritza Quintanilla.
“Their team has amazing talent, a great mix of innovative and creative developers, project managers, business analyst and quality assurance team members who strive to deliver results and value.
“They've helped our fortune 50 client company execute a cutting-edge platform, leading the efforts from concept to execution and they are a genuine pleasure to work with . . . flexible, engaged and responsive.”
Quintanilla’s comments echo those of Cisco project manager Ashela Webb.
“They handle themselves professionally internally with peers and leaders. Every resource provided to us, from program management to development, has the ability to think on his or her feet and get the job done.”
"Company-X manages to find resources that keep updated, continuously bringing new technology and development insights to our organisation.”
Hamilton City Council was Company-X’s first client by a few months.
The council involved Company-X co-founder and director David Hallett in the architecture of its eServices Portal. The job required integration with existing regulatory information systems and various payment gateways. The council was one of the first local government services to use the RealMe identify verification service.
The New Zealand Police National Road Policing Centre Calibrations Services in Wellington was also an early client.
Police Calibration Services asked Company-X to build a system to record and audit speed testing devices and calibration results as well as assess legal tolerances across a range of devices.
Due to the nature of law enforcement, all equipment used to assess legal tolerances in New Zealand must be regularly calibrated for accuracy, while ensuring every individual device is always accounted for.
The devices are complex in number, type, and technology, and include laser guns, radar, speed cameras and static speed test sites, passive and evidential breathalysers, and weighing scales.
It was also critical to ensure an ISO 17025 quality process was followed, recorded and auditable.
“New Zealand Police Calibration Services were extremely happy with our iterative rapid prototyping approach and the speed with which we delivered the final application,” said Company-X co-founder and director Jeremy Hughes. “Without heavyweight analysis and program specification, we were able to deliver speed to market along with significant cost savings.”
Calibrations Services Manager Senior Sergeant David Martin said police had enjoyed a long-term relationship with Company-X.
Company-X offers world-leading software savvy delivered with a can-do attitude.
Founded in 2012 by software specialists David Hallett and Jeremy Hughes, Company-X immediately won contracts with New Zealand government departments and a US multinational.
The team has grown to more than 50 New Zealand-based software specialists, with only the best and brightest passing the Company-X interview and assessment process.
The Company-X team prides itself on experience in a wide range of technologies and languages and loves challenging problems.
Company-X ranked on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500™ Asia Pacific, a list of the fastest-growing technology companies in the Asia Pacific region, in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Cerulean Labs, a New Zealand startup with a sketch-based conceptual design tool for architects, is moving its headquarters to Atlanta. The announcement comes after the early-stage startup landed a seed investment round led by Atlanta-based Shadow Ventures.
Shadow Ventures is known as a venture firm focused on using tech to transform the built environment (think architecture, landscape, urban planning, and the like). KP Reddy, Shadow Ventures’ Founder and CEO, told Hypepotamus that while specific numbers about funding and hiring plans will not be disclosed at this time, Atlanta will serve as the “beachhead” for Cerulean and the team will be “hiring sales and marketing resources in Atlanta.”
The move will be about “developing and commercializing” the startup’s iPad-based design tool, Spaces, according to a press statement by Cerulean Labs.
“It’s been a long process to get to this point, but I am thrilled to have Shadow Ventures lead our Series Seed round,” said founder of Cerulean Labs Campbell Yule in a statement. “For a start-up like Cerulean Labs, it was essential to find an investor who understands our market. I have been impressed from day one by the entire Shadow Ventures team and I’m excited about partnering with them in 2023.”
Mr. Reddy added that “unlike many VCs that prioritize warm introductions, we prioritize meritocracy. Like most of our portfolio, [Cerulean Labs] first met us by applying via our website. From first meeting to close, we generally take 12 weeks on average. This deal was slightly longer due to some of the holiday slow down at the end of the year.”
Shadow Ventures makes investments around the globe, but has Southeast companies like PropTech startups Ecobot, Kairos, and Green Badger in its current portfolio.
Cerulean Labs’ move to Atlanta comes as the Southeast has seen more momentum in the overall PropTech, ConstructionTech, and built environment tech scene recently. Some of the bigger headlines over the last two years include Louisiana’s Levelset being acquired for $500 million, Nashville’s Built Technology closing a $88 million funding round, and Atlanta’s cove.tool securing a $30 million Series B.
That momentum could mean more opportunities for startups like Cerulean Labs.
“While residential construction has slowed, commercial construction is still growing. With talent shortages and supply chain challenges, the industry continues to seek innovation to execute on record project backlogs,” added Mr. Reddy.
Mark Wahlberg has shared a special message for his Kiwi fans after the opening of his first Wahlburgers restaurant in New Zealand last week.
The actor took to Instagram to share a video message for his New Zealand customers, saying, “Kia ora! Massive congratulations to the New Zealand Wahlburgers team and the Mustaca family for opening our first ever Wahlburgers in Viaduct Harbour at Princes Wharf at Shed 22.
“Our first ever restaurant in New Zealand, what an honour.”
The Hollywood star went on to say that he “cannot wait” to visit New Zealand and enjoy a cold beer and a Kiwi-style burger with his fans.
“God bless you and your beautiful country, I cannot wait to visit soon,” he added, before recalling his time in Aotearoa filming The Lovely Bones with Sir Peter Jackson.
“I had the most remarkable time in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. I can’t wait to see you again, God bless you and thank you.”
Wahlberg spent some time in Wairarapa in October 2007 shooting the film at several locations near Greytown and Masterton. He starred in the film alongside Saoirse Ronan and Rachel Weisz.
It comes after Aotearoa’s first-ever Wahlburgers restaurant opened last week at the former Euro restaurant site as eager diners queued up to experience the actor and his brothers’ joint venture.
Wahlberg, who has an estimated US$350 million net worth, founded Wahlburgers in 2011 with his brothers Donnie and Paulie Wahlberg. Two more Wahlburgers restaurants are set to open in Tauranga and Queenstown this year.
The NZ branch will be operated by the Mustaca family, which owns Australia’s largest independent cinema chain, United Cinemas.
Last year, Wahlburgers Australia and New Zealand chief executive Sam Mustaca scouted locations across Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch.
He said the team are “thrilled to bring Wahlburgers to guests in New Zealand”.
“We had been following the concept for years and with its natural ties to the entertainment industry, bringing Wahlburgers into the experience at United Cinemas just seemed like a perfect fit,” he said.
He said the decision to expand to New Zealand was motivated by their Kiwi staff overseas.
“They’ve always spoken so beautifully about the place. If it wasn’t for those people we probably wouldn’t have come here.”
Kiwi-based non-alcoholic drinks company Alcohol-Free (AF) is launching across the United States this April.
Founder Lisa King said the company has “just done a really soft launch online” on its website and Amazon US, and is now preparing for its launch with premium US grocery retailer Sprouts Farmers Market.
Set to market in the US as Free AF, King says, “We very much play to the meme. Sometimes we’re called curious AF, sometimes it could be sexy AF or posh AF. We wanted to make it really fun and not boring.”
King told the Herald: “From April 1, we are going to be arranged in almost 400 stores nationwide in the US.”
She said AF will be sold at 393 of Sprouts’ 400 outlets across America. She says Sprouts is similar to NZ-based grocery retailers Farro Fresh and Moore Wilson’s.
“That’s a really massive win for us,” King said.
Sprouts is an Arizona-based retailer that attracts smaller, health-focused suppliers in the US including food startups. The company reported US$1.6 billion in total sales in its latest quarterly earnings last November.
Kings said US retailers are “where New Zealand supermarkets were a couple of years ago”, having limited options for non-alcoholic drinks.
“AF will be one of the first products that they will stock in this new category.”
She said: “We always wanted it to be a global brand, and so the way we’ve kind of designed it and the business model around it was to always take it beyond New Zealand.”
AF drinks are available at most supermarkets in Aotearoa and on their website coming in at around $45 for a 12-pack of 250ml cans.
King said the AF team first visited the US last June to gauge the market.
“There was this big opportunity. There weren’t many products like ours and the supermarkets hadn’t quite got into it and so we just saw this window for us to get in there,” King said.
“Only six months ago, we were standing in LA with no plans. Now we’ve just made our first production of AF over there before Christmas.”
AF launched the Curious AF Bottle Shop in Ponsonby last year, which King said was initially a pop-up store.
She said the store gave Kiwis access to global brands “people hadn’t seen in New Zealand before”.
“There were alcohol-free beers, wines that actually taste decent, champagne, spirits.”
“We actually went and tasted about a hundred different products from around the world and we curated the best 30 and bought them in,” King said.
She said: “That was so popular that everyone asked us to make [the store] permanent. And so we opened up a permanent shop on Crummer Rd in November.”
“I’m still quite surprised with just the amount of people that are coming,” King said.
King started AF after she stopped drinking alcohol a few years ago.
“I was really missing my gin and tonic and I could see this trend was happening overseas, particularly in places like the UK,” she said.
King said the “sober curiosity movement” was gaining traction internationally and saw an opportunity to fill the gap in the market at home with products “that just tasted really good, were really complex, and not highly filled with sugar”.
“I just thought something that was ready to drink, really convenient, tasted really good and sophisticated was missing in the market, so it became a bit of a lockdown project,” King said.
She said a factor in the brand’s success is their pioneering Afterglow ingredient which AF’s website says “is a 100 per cent natural botanical extract that mimics the pleasant warmth of drinking alcohol without the alcohol”.
King said: “Afterglow is really unique in making you feel like you are actually drinking something alcoholic.”
She said her team has focused on food science and reconstructing the “depth and texture” of alcohol in their products.
“When you take alcohol out of something, it tastes quite thin and watery so we knew we needed something to give you that kind of complexity and mouth feel,” King said.
Strategic acquisition increases VerifyMe's service offerings, and geographic markets
LAKE MARY, Fla. , March 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- VerifyMe, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRME) together with its subsidiary PeriShip Global LLC ("PeriShip Global"), (together "VerifyMe," "we," "our," or the "Company") provides brand owners time and temperature sensitive logistics, supply chain monitoring, authentication, and data-rich consumer engagement services, announced today that it has acquired the assets of Trust Codes Limited, a New Zealand business specializing in unique item level codes for brand protection, data intelligence and consumer engagement technology with an expertise in the food and agriculture industry. This acquisition will strengthen VerifyMe's ability to deliver product traceability services to a global customer base.
Trust Codes Limited, founded in 2013, delivers cloud-based brand protection based on a unique per-item digital identity. Leveraging advanced algorithms and machine learning, the Trust Codes solution helps protect brand and product authenticity, increases data visualization of a product through the end to end supply chain, and creates a data-driven engine to inform and educate consumers of the product. Brand owners are able to engage directly with their consumer to build brand trust and connect to the provenance of a product. Trust Codes Limited currently has employees in New Zealand and Australia and an existing customer base with recurring revenue.
Patrick White, VerifyMe's Chief Executive Officer, commented, "With much of Trust Codes customer base being in the food space, it provides a great opportunity to leverage that with PeriShip's customers and service offerings. We believe the two organizations have significant synergies, and with the innovative and sophisticated proprietary platform of Trust Codes and VerifyMe's presence in the US and Europe we will continue to grow our existing market share and expand into new markets to include Australasia and China."
"Trust Codes Limited with its experienced management team and its proven brand protection solutions is excited at the opportunities this transaction creates for us to work with the VerifyMe team and expand our full suite of services into the US market and globally," said Paul Ryan, Trust Codes Limited, CEO.
About VerifyMe, Inc.
VerifyMe, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRME), together with its wholly owned subsidiary PeriShip Global, is a software driven logistics provider of high-touch, end-to-end logistics management. We provide logistics management from a sophisticated IT platform with proprietary databases, package and flight-tracking software, weather, and flight status monitoring systems, as well as dynamic dashboards with real-time visibility into shipment transit and last-mile events. In addition, VerifyMe provides brand protection and consumer engagement solutions allowing brand owners to gather business intelligence. To learn more, visit www.verifyme.com.
About Trust Codes Limited
Trust Codes, based in New Zealand, provides brand protection based on a digital identity for each unique item. Connecting brands to consumers, the use of unique QR codes or IoT, coupled with GS1 standards, enables transparency and traceability through a product's lifecycle. Trust Codes leverage advanced algorithms to protect authenticity and brand value. Data-driven storytelling allows visibility of the journey for each item through the supply chain to the consumer's hands. For additional information, please visit: https://www.trust.codes.
AFT Pharmaceuticals (NZX.AFT, ASX.AFP) today announces the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a rapid release tablet form of Maxigesic for the management of mild to moderate acute pain in the US.
The approval for Maxigesic Rapid® - a unique, patented combination of 325 mg of paracetamol and 97.5 mg of ibuprofen that deploys a patented rapid release technology1 – opens an analgesic market to AFT in the US that is worth around US$7.16 billion and is expected to grow by 5.8% a year between now and 2027.
AFT Managing Director Dr Hartley Atkinson says: “We are delighted with the FDA approval of this prescription medicine and excited about the growth opportunities it opens for the company. We have held talks with potential US licensees for the medicine and are evaluating US market entry plans to maximise its commercial potential. We also importantly see this as a therapeutic option to help doctors battle the opioid epidemic in the US.
Dr Atkinson said the FDA approval for Maxigesic Rapid release tablets represents the first step for the family of medicines in the important US market. The company is awaiting approval for the intravenous form of the patented medicine Maxigesic IV and is also considering the release of other dose forms in the market.
The US approval follows on other commercial successes with Maxigesic. Maxigesic Oral Liquid, a patented unique combination of 160mg paracetamol and 48mg ibuprofen per 5ml oral suspension for children, has recently received approval in an additional 12 European countries via the European Union’s decentralized registration procedure.
The approval clears the way for registration approvals of the medicine in Estonia; Hungary; Lithuania; Latvia; Slovenia; Bulgaria; Cyprus; the Czech Republic; Romania; Slovakia; Greece and Poland.
AFT Managing Director Dr Hartley Atkinson says: “The Maxigesic commercialisation programme continues to make steady progress and the increasing regulatory approvals and consequent launches will contribute to our international sales going forward.”
Tracksuit, a New Zealand-based brand tracking startup, wants to take on traditional market research players by offering a more affordable, accessible brand insights tool.
“Market research and brand tracking has been around for a long time, and it usually consists of a consultant coming in on a quarterly or biannual basis with a 100-page slide deck and a lot of complex data that looks behind not forward,” Matt Herbert, co-founder and co-CEO of Tracksuit, told TechCrunch, noting that most market research services have been reserved for enterprise-level companies, leaving smaller and mid-sized companies with less access to such insights.
“With Tracksuit, we wanted to make an affordable, always-on, easy-to-use way of accessing these insights.”
Tracksuit launched in 2021 with an intuitive dashboard that tracks metrics like brand awareness, consideration, preference and usage, and measures them against a company’s competitive set. It’s a software-as-a-service product with a flat fee that Herbert says is 10x cheaper than the current standard.
Tracksuit’s tool now tracks insights for more than 1,300 brands across New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and, most recently, the United States. The company recently closed $5 million in its first external round, and will use the money to expand further into the U.S. market. Tracksuit made its first hire in New York City in November, and is building a 10-person team there to support expansion.
The round, led by Blackbird, also included participation from Shasta Ventures, Icehouse Ventures, Ascential and brand consultant Mark Ritson.
“Strong brands are the difference between good companies and great companies – whether they’re selling physical products or software,” said Phoebe Harrop, a partner at Blackbird, in a statement. “The magic of Tracksuit is giving companies across every industry a common language for measuring, talking about and investing in brand health.”
“A common language.” That’s what Herbert told TechCrunch Tracksuit is trying to achieve — a standard for evaluating, understanding and communicating the value of brands.
The startup is targeting mid-sized, growing consumer brands across food and beverage, FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), retail, direct-to-consumer and financial services. Herbert said half of its customers come from the existing brand tracking market, but the other half is a new segment entirely that has previously not been served by the market research industry. Some key customers today include Made by Nacho, Charity: Water and Athletic Brewing Company.
Herbert says the strong demand for the company’s product suggests a shift in how consumer businesses approach marketing. They’re focused “less on immediate conversion and more on building long-term growth through highly effective, creative marketing,” he said.
Tracksuit gathers insights by surveying target customers around the globe. It uses those surveys to set up a brand’s fundamentals: What’s the total addressable market? How well is the brand known, how well is it considered, where is it most preferred? What do people really think and feel about the brand, and how does that shift over time?
From there, Tracksuit goes deeper.
“Each brand will have strategic pillars or value propositions that they want to own, so we help those brands track how well they are performing against those brand pillars and how well their comms and advertising and marketing is shifting the needle on those perceptions and attributes for the consumer,” said Herbert, as he showed me a demo of Tracksuit’s “unprompted imagery” feature, a word cloud that shows which words come to mind for a specific brand, positioned next to a similar word cloud for that brand’s biggest competitor.
All of these insights help brands ask the big question of What’s the job to be done? It’s hard to sell to someone who hasn’t heard of your brand, so maybe Tracksuit’s insights could help a brand learn that it has to increase awareness before anything else.
“What is the opportunity to grow and where should that be focused in your advertising, communications and marketing strategy?” said Herbert.