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  • 06 May 2019 12:37 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    World’s First Non-Magnetic, Climbing Inspection Robot for Hazardous Environments Attracts Top-Tier Investors to Support Growth

    Invert Robotics, a leader in inspection robotics, today announced it has closed an US$8.8 million round of financing led by Finistere Ventures, an agtech/foodtech venture pioneer, with support from Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley (YMVSV), the corporate venture capital business of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. Existing investors such as Allan Moss, Inception Asset Management and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund also participated.

    Using the strategic investment to scale its team, open a U.S. office and expand its technology platform and industry-specific solutions, Invert Robotics aims to increase the global footprint of its climbing robot – the first specifically designed to inspect the integrity and safety of non-magnetic, hazardous environments.

    "The immediate value of Invert Robotics across the global food supply chain – from ensuring food and beverages are stored and transported in safe, pathogen-free environments, to avoiding catastrophic failures in agrichemical-industry containers and plants – is undeniably impressive,” said Arama Kukutai, co-founder and partner, Finistere Ventures. “However, we see the potential applications as almost limitless. With Invert Robotics, companies across a variety of industries will be able to deploy climbing robots to make asset inspection and maintenance easier and more effective to avoid life-threatening situations for their workers, their communities and their consumers.”

    Workers charged with inspecting and maintaining the high and confined spaces common in many industries frequently suffer deadly accidents on the job, but increased pressure from health and safety regulators and substantial fines are motivating companies to act. Invert Robotics offers precise, remote inspection of non-magnetic surfaces such as stainless steel, carbon fibre, aluminium and glass. Already used by some of the world’s largest food and beverage, dairy, aviation, pharmaceutical, oil and gas, and chemical companies, Invert Robotics will further expand its reach and open new international markets.

    “Our climbing robots go where other robots cannot and people should not,” stated Invert Robotics Managing Director Neil Fletcher. “We give our customers an easier, safer and faster way to inspect the safety and integrity of the most hazardous and toxic environments. Industrial accidents can be costly and sometimes even deadly, but they are often preventable. Remote inspection solutions that take into account chemical corrosion and high-pressure processing scenarios can help chemical companies improve worker safety, optimise maintenance and avoid future tragedies.”

    The Invert Robotics climbing robots can securely adhere to surfaces that other robots cannot and go into confined, treacherous spaces that would put workers’ lives at risk. Going beyond visual inspections, its robots can perform in-depth scans using surface-wave detection and ultrasonic probes to measure wall thickness, assess structural integrity and find defects on any surface.

    Headquartered in New Zealand with offices throughout Europe, Invert Robotics will also build out an artificial intelligence platform that will allow customers to take a proactive approach to asset management by predicting potential fail points and future maintenance needs.

    Read more


  • 06 May 2019 12:31 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Auckland based customer experience tracking firm AskNicely has raised US$10m (NZ$15m) in a Series A funding round led by US based Nexus Venture Partners along with NZ venture fund K1W1 and US based Blackbird Ventures.

    AskNicely was founded in 2014. It scored US$400k of angel funding from New Zealand’s Enterprise Angels in 2015. This was followed by seed funding rounds of US$1.9m in mid 2016 and US$2.9m in 2017 from Blackbird Ventures.

    Following the latest funding round the company has moved its headquarters from Auckland to Portland Oregon.

    Geekwire quoted AskNicely cofounder and CEO Aaron Ward saying: “Portlanders ‘get’ customer experience more than any other city I’ve seen in the world because the service culture here is so strong.”

    AskNicely claims to automatically collect feedback at any point in the customer journey on any channel (email, web, SMS) using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) framework and enable its users to rank NPS by location, segment, team and event  and use advanced text analytics “to see what customers really want from your brand”.

    Read more

  • 03 May 2019 11:22 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    For any New Zealand or Australian business selling internationally, a potential minefield of various tax implications awaits. 

    This is especially relevant when dealing with the USA and is something we frequently consult on.  

    When selling into the US using a foreign corporation, the main factor to consider, is whether there is “effectively connected income”. This is specifically referring to income which is effectively connected with a US trade or business (further reading is available in Section 1.864-4).

    You might now be wondering, “what is effectively connected income?”. While there isn’t a specific definition of the term, it generally does cover most types of income sourced in the US (by a foreign corporation). This may be sales into the US on a continuous basis (from outside the US), or sourcing and then selling your products into the US. Your tax advisor should be able to clarify whether you have “effectively connected income”. 

    Should a foreign company have “effectively connected income”, it may be required to file Form 1120-F, which is an income tax return for a foreign corporation. In many cases, this doesn’t result in any tax owing, due to the tax treaties in place between both Australia and New Zealand, and the US. 

    In order to use the tax treaty to ensure that income is taxable in the home country of the foreign company, we refer to Article 5 (Permanent Establishment). As a broad overview, this defines the rules regarding the cases in which the US may tax the “effectively connected income”. A number of factors are taken into consideration, such as whether the foreign company has staff on the ground in the US, warehousing, offices, or any other presence. 

    Once these factors are considered thoroughly, we should be able to establish:

    1. Is there any “effectively connected income” and,
    2. Whether the foreign company holds “permanent establishment” in the USA.

    While point B above will be used to determine if there will be a tax obligation for the foreign company in the US, a filing obligation exists regardless if the answer to point A is “yes’.

    Even if the foreign company has no tax to pay, a tax return filing obligation will likely still exist (Section 1.6012-2(g)(1)(i) and (ii)).

    If your NZ or Australian company is considering selling into the US, or are already underway with such an endeavour, it is essential that you understand the tax obligations.

    Dave Tzimenakis, US Global Tax, www.usglobaltax.com +64 9 373 2949 


  • 03 May 2019 11:15 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    At ATPI Business World Travel we support Garden to Table, an outstanding charity which has the simple goal of changing the way children think about food. The functional side of GtoT is that they raise funds to put vegetable gardens into schools, teach the children how to grow vegetables and then have the children prepare and cook the resulting produce. They are now working with thousands of school age children throughout New Zealand and hopefully breaking a cycle of bad eating and obesity.  

    Why are we mentioning this? Well, we’re asking for your help as well by tuning into TV3’s Dancing with the Stars where celebrity chef Nadia Lim is dancing to raise funds for Garden to Table.  Keep the Nadia Lim votes flowing!  

    Airline update 

    We draw your attention to the small print! Air New Zealand has slipped in a rule for its long-haul Business Class and Premium Economy airfares that the lowest categories are only available if ticketed 60-days prior to departure. In Business Class for example there are generally four airfare categories – J, Z, D and the highest C with a limitation on the number of seats in each fare-category (eg Auckland to Los Angeles is J $4400 one way through to C $6500 one way).  So for the lowest fares you have to be sorted out over two months in advance. This may suit our Leisure Travellers but unlikely our Business Travelling clients who usually have short notice planning and continually evolving schedules.

    The Northern Summer schedule is upon us. Delighted to see United Airlines continues through the NZ winter reducing to three flights weekly between Auckland and San Francisco (Mon/Thu/Sat). Clients have been enjoying the flight schedule which departs Auckland 1330hrs and with an arrival into SFO at 0640hrs – meaning you’re in time for multiple morning connections to all parts of the US and Canada. You’ll be in New York early evening in time for cocktails, dinner and a good night’s sleep before starting business the next morning.  

    Hotels

    Travel better! At ATPI/Business World Travel we’re a member of the prestigious US-based Virtuoso, an invited group of the world’s leading travel agents and where we can achieve benefits over and above any other travel agent or booking site for our clients. For a similar level as any advertised rate included on the hotel site, Bookings.com or Expedia you’ll receive:

    • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
    • Daily Breakfast for two 
    • Food & Beverage or Spa services credit usually around US$100 
    • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi
    • Often some other kind of personalised in-room amenity
    • Take a look at www.virtuoso.com or call one of our BWT Travel Advisors

    Executive Leisure 

    We had a number of clients at Augusta watching the Masters Golf  in April. Be there yourself in 2020. Through our Sports Travel connections we have access to ticketing and accommodation for the Masters but you’ll need to start getting organised soon! Get a group of friends together for a golf tour with the Masters in Augusta as your centre piece.

    Our Sports Travel connections also help us secure access for our clients at events such as the French Tennis Open at Roland Garros (26 May-09June 19), Wimbledon (01-14 July 19), US Tennis Open (26 August – 08 September 19), Cricket World Cup, Monaco Grand Prix and many other events.  Tell your usual BWT Consultant about your bucket list! 

    Combining a family Disneyland holiday in Anaheim, California with something for the adults (and even young golfers) is highlighted with this impressive list of golf courses which are in the Anaheim neighbourhood. One of the top courses is Tustin Ranch Golf Club followed closely by the Robert Trent Jones Monarch Beach Golf Links. There are six or so to choose from in the area making a family/golfing combination ideal for family holidays or a company incentive, mini-conference or reward. 

    VISIT Anaheim has reported an increase in the desire to take multigenerational holidays, which it has called ‘Grandtravel’. According to a recent study of 1,000 Americans conducted by the destination organisation, 83% of millennials reported they wanted to take the kids on trips with their grandparents. Visit Anaheim suggested having trusted baby-sitters with them as one possible reasons  for the trend. We believe that most Grand-parents we know would be one step ahead of that notion and would want to be fully immersed on most rides with their children and grand-children in Disneyland! 

    Cruising update 

    The new venture Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection is now a member of Virtuoso.  This is of course without having their sophisticated first yacht even in the water! The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will offer bespoke voyages onthe first of three custom-built yachts in 2020. Most voyages range from seven to ten nights, offering many overnight calls and uniquely curated experiences ashore. Each yacht will feature 149 suites, each with its own private terrace. The new cruise option will endeavour  to replicate Ritz-Carlton’s high standards of hotel service into cruising. 

    Martha Stewart never lets the dust settle on her innumerable activities and interests before she’s on to her next venture. In conjunction with MSC Cruises Caribbean cruise series, Martha Stewart has created a programme within the cruise called ‘Celebrate, Discover, Experience’ where she has created a series of culinary experiences, gift packs and shore excursions that marry Stewarts personal passions. Guests will be able to partake of a number of Martha-centric activities and ‘passion points’ including full-day excursions with hands-on culinary classes and tastings, garden tours, visits to craft marketers and hikes to scenic spots as well as her personal favourites, horse back riding excursions.  Martha Stewart has been a huge cruise fan over many years and she is passionate about this form of holiday. 

    General news

    Welcome to Rosie McDermott, our new Client Relationship Executive. Rosie joins us from Air New Zealand and has replaced Marie Easton-Myers who is taking a sabbatical for this year before seeking out project work in 2020.

    The most child friendly airport in North America has been voted as being Boston Logan Airport. Boston has multiple ‘Kidsport’ play areas which were designed by the Children’s Museum  of Boston. Portland Airport ranked second and San Francisco International third. San Fran is noteworthy for us as a gateway from NZ for many family holidays and has ‘Kids Spots’ in every terminal, with weather –related ‘Exploratorium areas’. 

    North American travel bulletin BTN has sent us their updated per-diem corporate travel index. The study measures the average price for sending a corporate traveller to any of 100 cities around the world. It measures a four-star hotel rate, taxis to and from the city and meals (continental breakfast, lunch and dinner). It takes averages for year-round hotel rates. This study provides a useful guideline to set your own employee travel expenses. 

    The priciest US cities (for the US they substitute taxi for one-day car rental): 

    1. New York – US$645 per day
    2. San Francisco – US$534 per day
    3. Boston – US$490

    The 5 priciest destinations for global business in 2019 are:

    1. Tokyo  – US$598 per day
    2. London – US$540 per day
    3. Paris - US$492 per day
    4. Tel Avis – US$462 per day
    5. Zurich – US$4456 per day 

    In the Aspac region Sydney sits at 29th most expensive globally at US$347 per day, Auckland is 43rd globally at US$308 per day, Singapore 45th at US$307 per day and Melbourne 46th at US$305 per day. Least expensive cities to send business travellers to sitting at 99th is Cairo Egypt at US$180 per day and 100th is Bangalore, India at US$171 per day.   

    A plea to remember that your US ESTA must be applied for more than 72 hours prior to your departure! 

    Call us to discuss your business travel! 0800 508 580 ATPI Business World Travel 


  • 01 May 2019 2:00 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Following consultation with members, AmCham sent in a submission to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For a copy of our submission see

    Letter to MFAT 25.3.19 Re WTO ecommerce.pdf



  • 26 Apr 2019 3:52 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    New Zealand tech business Biomatters, a global leading provider of DNA data analysis solutions, announced today that it will be acquired by US company GraphPad, a leading provider of data analysis and visualization software for the life sciences industry. The acquisition creates a life sciences software platform with technology and data analysis at the core of scientific research around the world.

    Biomatters was incubated in Auckland’s Icehouse accelerator and launched with seed funding from the Ice Angels and NZ Venture Investment Fund. Over the last decade the company has established its Geneious software as the premium brand for DNA data analysis, used by leading academic institutions, and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide.

    Brett Ammundsen, CEO of Biomatters, is proud of the international success the company has achieved, and enthusiastic about joining forces with GraphPad. “We have built a team with world-leading expertise and domain knowledge in applying computation and graphical visualization to the challenges faced by life sciences researchers working with DNA data,” he said. “The combination with GraphPad will further accelerate our mission to enable technologies based on molecular biology to advance critical research in medicine, diagnostics, and agricultural and environmental science.”

    “The acquisition of Biomatters is an exciting opportunity to better serve our customers and the scientific community,” said Thomas Swalla, CEO of GraphPad. “There is a critical need for scientists and researchers to leverage technology in a way that enhances—not impedes—innovation. As a unified company, we can invest further in these software solutions allowing scientists to stay focused on advancing their research.”

    In 2017, GraphPad received an investment from Insight Partners. Insight is a leading global venture capital and private equity firm investing in high-growth technology and software companies.

    “This is a strategic and exciting acquisition in the life sciences sector, which continues to see exponential growth in the adoption of technology,” said Jeff Lieberman, Managing Director at Insight Partners. “By creating a platform that delivers technology solutions to enable better data analysis across various aspects of the scientific workflow, we can empower more customers to further scientific innovation. We will continue to invest in products and solutions to complement the platform and further this mission.”

    Following the acquisition, both companies will continue to operate and serve customers under their respective brands. 


  • 26 Apr 2019 3:46 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Air New Zealand’s Gas Turbines business has won a third significant contract to service US Navy LM2500™ Power Turbines, worth more than USD$17 million.

    The contract will see the Auckland-based Gas Turbines team carry out maintenance on LM2500™ Gas Turbines which power the US Navy’s cruiser fleet.

    Work on the 10 power turbines under the new contract is expected to commence in August 2019 and the overall body of work is expected to conclude in late 2021.

    The contract was competitively bid for and Air New Zealand’s Chief Ground Operations Officer Carrie Hurihanganui says the contract win further builds on a longstanding relationship dating back to the late 1990s the airline has with the US Navy.

    “This is the third consecutive US Navy contract Air New Zealand has been awarded. This latest successful bid is testament to the efforts of our Gas Turbines team. The contract is a significant body of work for our business and demonstrates the robust working relationship we have built with the US Navy.”

    Since 2017 the Air New Zealand Gas Turbines business has secured USD$38 million worth of confirmed work covering 22 engine units. This latest contract brings the total committed US Navy work to date to USD$55 million.

    Air New Zealand Gas Turbines is a business unit of Air New Zealand and a General Electric “Authorised LM2500™ Service Provider” providing LM2500™ gas turbine overhaul and repair services to clients across a range of industries. The business began sourcing work in the industrial and marine sector more than 35 years ago and has since supported several of the world’s navies, offshore oil and gas platform operators and power generation companies.


  • 04 Apr 2019 11:34 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Fast-food multi-national McDonald’s is spending $5.4 million on a 9.9 percent stake in NZX-listed technology minnow Plexure after being a customer off and on since at least 2012.

    McDonald’s says this is its first-ever investment in a mobile app vendor and will provide it with enhanced access to Plexure’s technology in the quick service restaurant space, including access to greater back-end and front-end features, customer functionality and customer targeting.

    “Across all markets, we’re using technology to elevate and transform the McDonald’s customer experience,” says group president and chief executive Steve Easterbrook.

    “This investment is a testament to our belief in Plexure’s ability to deliver strong results for our business as well as the talent and technology they’ve cultivated.”

    Plexure designs and builds software allowing other businesses, mainly retailers and fast food outlets, to target customers via their mobile phones.

    Plexure chief executive Craig Herbison says the funds from the placement of 13.8 million shares to McDonald’s will be used to expand his company.

    Read more


  • 02 Apr 2019 11:13 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Mike Hearn announces the 2019 AmCham Innovation Awards

    The American Chamber of Commerce is delighted to announce the launch of the 2019 AmCham – DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards, held in conjunction with United Airlines. The Awards celebrate business achievement between New Zealand and the United States.

    With the growing tourism and air freight volumes with the USA, AmCham is delighted to welcome Auckland Airport as a silver sponsor of this years awards.

    Full details on the Awards Page including entry forms

    Categories for awards 

    Entries close May 31st and the Awards Dinner is on 22nd August 2019.

  • 28 Mar 2019 11:06 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Air navigation services provider Airways New Zealand and global science and technology provider Leidos have agreed to work closely together on future air traffic management (ATM) opportunities under an agreement recently signed in Washington.

    The two organisations have already been working together on the  SkyLine-X air traffic management system, a $58 million system that will replace Airways’ two existing ATM platforms. 

    This latest agreement, signed by Airways International CEO Sharon Cooke and Leidos Vice President Fran Hill, lays the foundation for Airways and Leidos to cooperate on several customer opportunities spanning the air traffic management sector, including a joint flow management solution anticipated in the near term.

    “The co-development of the SkyLine-X platform really does provide a launch pad for an exciting and much broader collaboration with Leidos,” Airways International CEO Sharon Cooke says. “We value the long-standing relationship we have, and we’re excited about this new commitment to work together, where Airways will complement Leidos’ ATM capability with our training, simulation, and technical support expertise.”

    More information