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  • 26 Nov 2021 5:01 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Data wrangling startup Segna is today announcing they’ve raised seed funding from US startup accelerator Y Combinator, following investment from Hillfarrance Venture Capital, Icehouse Ventures and Australian-based fund, CP Ventures.

    Segna uses machine learning to aggregate and clean data from multiple sources in under a minute. Its software platform helps businesses of all sizes unlock value from their data faster and more easily by automating the time-consuming, administrative tasks of curating and organising it.

    In January, Segna will begin Y Combinator’s three-month startup accelerator programme, which also provides $US125,000 seed investment, and culminates in a Demo Day where between US$1-5 million dollars is raised in the weeks following.

    Segna is among 1.5% of startups selected from over 30,000 other applicants who apply to Y Combinator each year, and they now join a prestigious list of alumni, including Airbnb, Dropbox, Twitch, Stripe, Reddit, and CoinBase. Only three other New Zealand start-ups are understood to have previously completed the Y Combinator programme since it launched in March 2005.

    This is the second startup for Segna co-founders Will Haringa and Aryan Lobie, who’ve raised $880,000 since launching the platform 16 months ago. Will also co-founded Zenno Astronautics, winners of the University of Auckland Velocity challenge in 2018, and Aryan developed the first scientific satellite that launched with RocketLab last November. He then went on to work as a data scientist at smart cow collar company Halter.

    The new funds are being used to expand the team and further develop the Segna platform, which the co-founders say can unify and restructure data streams hundreds of times faster than legacy methods.

    Will says businesses want simple, timely, actionable insights from their data but many are not equipped with the tools, expertise and resources to make it happen: “We are on a mission to democratise access to data, to break it away from being an arcane art for experts housed within large enterprise, to a being simple, intuitive and affordable for smaller businesses. And we can do this for businesses at warp speed.”

    A beta version of Segna is being used by a wide range of small and medium-sized businesses, which include accounting and financial firms, an online retailer, and a number of local startups. Businesses will pay a monthly subscription fee when the product is officially launched next year.

    The World Economic Forum predicts that 133 million new jobs will emerge in 2022 from the field of data and artificial intelligence, and Segna believes that a massive surge in demand for these roles can disadvantage smaller businesses, which might not be able to afford them.

    It’s estimated 80% of a data analyst’s time is spent being a ‘data caretaker’ - cleaning it up and getting it into the right shape - leaving only 20% time to derive value through analysis.

    Will says the use of machine learning not only expedites Segna’s data wrangling, but also continuously improves the way data is presented based on the users’ previous actions, helping them uncover new insights with unprecedented accuracy.

    “More businesses - big and small - are realising that the true value of their enterprise is in the data they collect, not just the sales they generate,” says Rob Vickery, Managing Partner of Hillfarrance Venture Capital. “At Hillfarrance, an AI-focused early-stage venture capital fund, we believe that Aotearoa New Zealand entrepreneurs are creating the next wave of AI innovation, and Segna is one of the leaders of that charge!”

    Icehouse Ventures CEO Robbie Paul says: “Many of the startups we back have been led by young founders with extraordinary ambition and intellectual firepower, such as Halter, Sharesies, Dawn Aerospace, Partly, and Astrix. Will and Aryan are equally exceptional and we are excited to back them alongside Y Combinator.”

  • 26 Nov 2021 11:30 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    After Covid delayed the opening of its new multi-million dollar Auckland factory, Shott Beverages is now battling logistics lags in order to make its long-awaited entry into the American market.

    Its New Zealand-made coffee syrup products were scheduled to launch into foodservice in the US this month, according to chief executive David Shearer, but were “caught in the logistic woes” en-route to Los Angeles.

    “It’s only shipping up there now as we speak. It was supposed to be a 1 November launch but there’s a three-week waiting line at the port of Los Angeles before it even gets trucked to where it needs to go,” said Shearer.

    He expected the stock to be available for sale in American cafes and restaurants by January 2022, with two new sales and marketing hires at the company’s newly-opened US office expected to hit the ground running with distributors as soon as the product was on the ground.

    Shott Beverages opened a multi-million dollar factory in Auckland in August, which was originally scheduled for May 2020 but came 14 months later after crucial equipment built in China and Germany was caught up in factory and then shipping delays.

    The opening of its second factory, alongside its original Wellington base, boosted production capacity by 300% unlocking the volumes that were required for its entry into the US market.

    “We’ve had a lot of interest [from America] over the years, but we’ve turned it down literally because we haven’t had the capacity,” said Shearer, a 4.9% company shareholder.

    “We’ve heard horror stories of businesses going to America, winning a contract and not being able to supply them. We wanted to ensure we had ample capacity before entering that particular market.”

    The company first sent stock abroad in 2014 into South Korea, “a coffee-drinkers market”, where it found success when global cafe chain Starbucks started using its syrups for speciality drinks in its premium Starbucks Reserve cafes.

    Exports now delivered around 70% of the group’s revenue, and South Korea was still its top export market, followed by the United Kingdom and Australia.

    “An export-motivated brand”, Shearer hoped to expand its global distribution beyond its current distribution into around 20 countries across Asia Pacific, Europe, the UK and now the US.

    “Our job is to make sure we have enough manufacturing capacity in New Zealand to keep up with what those four offices are doing.”

    While the Auckland plant pumped out export products, its eight-year-old Wellington factory continued to manufacture its retail brand, QuarterPast, for at-home coffee drinkers.

    By channel, foodservice was 60% of Shott’s group revenue, with the balance coming from retail largely under its QuarterPast brand, which has been a boon for business during lockdown.

    “It’s been one of the things that offset how hard the poor old foodservice channel has been doing. A lot of coffee consumption went to home consumption,” said Shearer.

    “[Australian sales saw] double-digit growth last year, even though one of the quarters we were down over 50% we still managed to get double digit growth by the end of the year.

    “Our Australian business is growing at three figures, 100s of percent growth at the moment.”

    Shott’s domestic business made up around 30% of annual revenue, the “backbone of the business still”, but Shearer said an export push over the next five years – particularly in North America – could see the percentage of New Zealand revenue come in at closer to 10%.

    Shearer added that unlike many of its competitors, the company does not heat-treat its products which allowed them to market the fruit syrups as free of artificial flavours, colours and sweeteners. This hybrid of fruit juice and jam manufacturing without the heat, was the company’s “point of difference”.

    “We believe we pioneered a new way of manufacturing these syrups and the category’s open for disruption and that’s what we’re working towards,” he said.

    “That means high growth for a number of years if we play our cards right and hopefully that will stimulate more jobs in this country and create what we hope will be another successful New Zealand brand.”

    Source: https://www.foodticker.co.nz/

  • 25 Nov 2021 10:40 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    The following is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

    Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken welcomed New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta to Washington, D.C. today and congratulated the Foreign Minister on New Zealand’s successful APEC Chairmanship in 2021.  The Secretary and Foreign Minister reiterated our shared values and commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.  The Secretary and the Foreign Minister discussed the global importance of acting on the climate crisis and underscored our close scientific cooperation in Antarctica.  Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Mahuta also discussed New Zealand’s new Pacific Resilience approach to the region and coordinated efforts to support Pacific partners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Source: https://www.state.gov/

    Minister Mahuta comments on Twitter - A warm kōrero with @SecBlinken today. Our two countries enjoy a deep, long-lasting friendship that is based on shared democratic values. We discussed a number of significant issues, including Pacific resilience, the Indo-Pacific regional agenda and our shared concerns to ensure greater stability in the region.

  • 23 Nov 2021 3:26 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Blerter is an event delivery platform which has worked with the America’s Cup, USA Triathlon National Championships and the Kansas City Marathon. They are raising up to $10 million to drive their growth in the US. Led by Founder and CEO Richard Gill, they have just signed a partnership with St John in New Zealand that will see Blerter rolled out at over 4,000 outdoor sports events and festivals each year. They are now planning to do the same throughout America. If you are interested in investing in this kiwi company. ENQUIRE NOW

    Source: https://www.keanewzealand.com/

  • 22 Nov 2021 5:18 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Marlborough Wine Estates has appointed Winesellers its exclusive USA importer for its OTU Estate brand.

    MWE said Winesellers was already a business partner and it would now import and market OTU Estate wines in all 50 US states, available in the market from February 2022.

    “MWE is excited to be working with Winesellers and is looking forward to growing our business together in the largest export market for NZ wines,” said MWE chief executive Catherine Ma.

    Illinois-based Winesellers imported and marketed fine wines from around the world to the US market.

    Winesellers co-president Jordan Sager said New Zealand has been “trending very positively over the last several years in the US market, and ripe for higher-quality, estate produced wines from unique growing regions”.

    “We see a tremendous opportunity to grow our partnership with OTU who produce top estate wines from Marlborough’s Awatere Valley sub-region.”

    Source: https://www.foodticker.co.nz/

  • 21 Nov 2021 2:06 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    SYDNEY (Nov. 4, 2021) –– California-based Impossible Foods has arrived in Australia and New Zealand, marking the company’s third and fourth international market launches in 14 months. Impossible Foods’ flagship product, Impossible™ Beef Made From Plants (known as Impossible™ Burger in other markets), is now available on the menus of top chefs in Auckland, New Zealand, the greater Sydney area, and nationwide across Australia at Grill’d — Australia’s leading national burger brand.

    Earlier this year, Australia and New Zealand's regulatory body, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), approved Impossible Foods’ key ingredient, heme (soy leghemoglobin), for use in plant-based meat products, paving the way for Impossible Foods’ commercial launch in both markets. To date, the ingredient has been approved for sale in every market that has completed its regulatory review.

    “Our launches in Australia and New Zealand are another huge step towards bringing delicious, sustainable options to every market in the world,” said Dennis Woodside, president of Impossible Foods. “Both countries are home to some of the most devoted meat-eaters on earth, and we know consumers there are going to love Impossible Beef.”

    Australia and New Zealand are two of the highest meat-consuming countries in the world per capita, alongside the U.S. and Argentina. Both countries are known for their meat-centric culinary scenes and cultural pastimes centered around meat-based dishes — like barbecues, roasts and festivals.

    In addition to Australia and New Zealand, Impossible Foods’ products are available in the U.S., Canada, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and were recently launched in the United Arab Emirates, the company’s first market in the Middle East. Impossible Foods’ mission is to be sold in every major market globally where conventional meat from animals is sold.

    GLOBAL MISSION

    Impossible Foods' innovative approach to transforming the global food system via compelling plant-based products has the potential to be a powerful part of Australia's ambitious goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The production of animals for use in food is responsible for up to 17% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, and animal farming destroys vast swaths of natural habitat that would otherwise be vital in removing CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. Impossible Beef has a far lower environmental footprint than conventional meat: 96% less land, 87% less water and 89% fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to beef from cows produced in the U.S. An ISO conforming comparative Life Cycle Assessment commissioned by Impossible Foods to compare Impossible Beef to cows produced in the Australia-NZ region is expected to demonstrate similar environmental benefits.

    Impossible Beef also contains no animal hormones or antibiotics and is packed with nutrients. Each 113-gram serving of Impossible Beef delivers 18.8 grams of protein and is a good source of iron, fibre and B vitamins (Niacin and B12). In its approval of Impossible Foods' key ingredient, heme (soy leg hemoglobin), Food Standards Australia New Zealand noted that the decision "supports greater consumer choice for meat analogue products with a source of iron which may benefit consumers wanting to reduce or eliminate animal products from their diet." The body added that approval of the ingredient "supports greater consistency with international food regulations, industry innovations and creates trade opportunities for Australia and New Zealand."

    AVAILABILITY

    Australians are now able to try Impossible Beef at all 150+ locations of the country’s iconic burger brand, Grill’d, and at Chef Julian Cincotta’s popular restaurant Butter — a fried chicken concept with several locations in the greater Sydney area. Simon Crowe, founder and managing director of Grill’d, said of the launch: “We’re incredibly passionate about creating healthy, sustainable and — most importantly — delicious burgers, so we’re thrilled to be the first national restaurant group in Australia to add Impossible Beef to our menu. They're unbelievably mouth-watering and made for people who love meat; you'll think you're eating the real thing! Impossible Beef is the natural next step for Grill’d in our mission to challenge the status quo with innovative, healthy and sustainable products. We can't wait for guests to taste the new Impossible range at Grill'd.” In New Zealand, Impossible Beef will debut at burger chain Burger Burger and the Middle Eastern restaurant Fatima’s, two popular local spots founded by hospitality entrepreneurs and sisters Mimi and Sophie Gilmour. It will also debut at the modern bakery Ashby, the French-inspired restaurant Cantine and at Waiheke Island’s iconic restaurant Vino Vino, helmed by Chef Connie Aldao.

    To learn more about Impossible Foods’ launch in Australia and New Zealand, and to find a participating restaurant, please visit impossiblefoods.com.au or impossiblefoods.nz Impossible Beef is also available to order via Impossible Foods’ local importers Beak & Johnston (B&J) in Australia and Integrity Food Distributors (IFD) in New Zealand. Any restaurant operators looking to bring Impossible Beef to their menu can reach out to australiasales.inquiries@impossiblefoods.com  or newzealandsales.inquiries@impossiblefoods.com

    ABOUT IMPOSSIBLE FOODS:

    California-based Impossible Foods makes delicious, nutritious meat and dairy products from plants — with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals. The privately held food tech startup was founded in 2011 by Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., professor emeritus of biochemistry at Stanford University and a former Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Investors include Mirae Asset Global Investments, Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates, Google Ventures, Horizons Ventures, UBS, Viking Global Investors, Temasek, Sailing Capital, and Open Philanthropy Project.

    Impossible Foods was Inc. Magazine’s company of the year  and one of Time Magazine’s 50 Genius companies. The flagship product, Impossible Burger, was named top plant-based burger by the New York Times and received the Food and Beverage (FABI) Award from the National Restaurant Association.

  • 17 Nov 2021 4:10 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Joint U.S. Embassy, NZ Defence Force Media Release. 16 November 2021.

    A United States Navy ship is due to visit New Zealand later this month, arriving in Wellington to take part in a range of activities with the New Zealand Defence Force.

    Chief of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN), Rear Admiral David Proctor, said the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and RNZN were looking forward to the visit. The vessel will berth in Wellington.

    “New Zealand and the United States (US) share a strong security and defence relationship, close economic links, and shared interests and values. The NZDF and the US Navy have a long history of engagement and working together; the latest example of which was the interaction by HMNZS Te Kaha and HMNZS Aotearoa with US Navy and other partners’ ships off Guam last month”.

    While in New Zealand the ship and her crew will train and interact with the New Zealand Defence Force including taking part in interoperability exercises and official engagements.

    “Ship visits like this are a demonstration of the US’ active engagement in our region. They present opportunities for improving interoperability between our forces and building trust and understanding between partners”, said Rear Admiral Proctor.

    “NZDF ships and aircraft have also regularly participated in US-hosted exercises such as RIMPAC, and it is nice to be able to return the courtesy and show goodwill as we host a US Navy vessel and her crew here in New Zealand again.”

    Further details of the ship and the visit are yet to be released, but the vessel is an Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer, the same class of ship as the USS Sampson, which visited in 2016 for the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th Anniversary and International Naval Review.

    During that visit the USS Sampson became involved in the response to the Kaikōura earthquake.

    “When the US Navy last visited New Zealand, that earthquake had just hit, and the importance of interoperability was underscored in a completely unexpected way. But that’s the reality—tomorrow our navies could well be working together to solve problems that don’t exist today. The friendships and understanding between our sailors and their Kiwi counterparts, matter in everything from crisis response to a routine refuelling at sea,” said US Embassy Defense Attaché, Colonel Ian Murray.

    The ship will have at least 14 days isolation at sea prior to entering New Zealand, and prior to disembarkation all crew will have tested negative for COVID-19 and will be fully vaccinated.

    A visit by a US Navy ship has been under consideration by the US since last year.

    The ship will not be visiting any other New Zealand port besides Wellington.

  • 17 Nov 2021 11:42 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Makers of The World’s Best Heat Transfer Open 5th International Facility in Atlanta, GA.

    Atlanta, GA. November 16th, 2021 – Supacolor, an international leader in the garment decorating industry, is continuing their ambitious expansion efforts with the opening of a third facility in the United States. Responding to booming consumer demand, Supacolor has opened this new facility to better serve the US market east of the Mississippi.

    In addition to improved production and fulfillment capabilities, this milestone also means that Supacolor’ will now employ over 100 people in the United States. “One of our mantras here at Supacolor is that we exist to help people grow”, said Rum Walia, President of Supacolor USA. “Adding this new location not only helps our customers grow by providing them with better, faster service, but it also gives our organization an opportunity to help our employees continue to grow in their careers. We couldn’t be more thrilled about the future of Supacolor right now, and we look forward to being a member of Atlanta’s business community”.

    With five total locations in the US, UK and New Zealand, Supacolor manufactures a proprietary heat transfer product, revolutionizing the garment decorating industry by empowering professional printers, clothing brands, brokers, crafters and entrepreneurs.

    For more information, visit https://supacolor.com/ or watch this video

  • 16 Nov 2021 5:40 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Rocket Lab has made another acquisition with the US$750 million war chest it raised through its Nasdaq listing.

    The Kiwi-American company says it has bought Planetary Systems Corporation (PSC), a Maryland-based spacecraft separation systems, for US$42m ($59.5m).

    The two-decade old PSC has 25 staff, and counts its new owner among its customers - along with Nasa, the United Launch Alliance and Japan's national space agency.

    The deal was announced this morning NZT with the ink barely dry on Rocket Lab's purchase of Advanced Solutions, a Colorado-based maker of mission simulation systems, and navigation and control solutions, for US$40m - plus a potential US$5m on top if it reaches performance targets for this calendar year.

    And last year, Rocket Lab bought Canadian satellite component maker Sinclair Interplanetary for an undisclosed sum to bolster its "Photon" platform for placing satellites into the right orbit around the Earth, or ferrying them between planets.

    Rocket Lab shares fell 0.6 per cent today to US$14.29 but perked up to US$15.00 in post-market trading for a US$6.41 billion market cap.
    The stock is up 50 per cent since its August listing.

    Despite pandemic disruption pushing Rocket Lab to a wider loss this year, investors have cheered developments including a fatter pipeline of contracts, an expansion of space systems manufacturing capacity, its US$45m acquisition of Colorado mission simulation and guidance system maker Advanced Solutions, and Rocket Lab securing US$24.35 million ($34m) in US military funding towards development of the crew-capable neutron, which will be able to lift an 8-tonne payload into space (or around 20 times the payload capacity of the Electron).

    Founder and CEO Peter Beck told the Herald in August that while some of the cash from the listing would go towards developing Rocket Lab's new, much larger Neutron rocket, some of the funds were also earmarked for acquisitions to expand the company's space systems business - or making satellites and spacecraft.

    Rocket Lab's aim is for space systems to generate 40 per cent of its revenue by 2027 - a year in which it has forecast operating earnings of US$505m on US$1.57b turnover.

    Beck told the Herald that the space systems sector was ripe for consolidation, with dozens of players who were capable, but also small, slow and financially inefficient.

    Being rolled into Rocket Lab gave them scale, and reduced lead times for the Kiwi-American company, which is aiming for a full-service space transportation offering.Meanwhile, Rocket Lab's latest launch - which will include helicopters shadowing the falling first-stage in preparation for a mid-air retrieval - was had to be abandoned last Thursday. The company says with weather around Launch Complex 1 at Mahia improving, it should be able to have another shot tomorrow.

    Source: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/

  • 12 Nov 2021 12:11 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    QJumpers, a cloud-based Sourcing and Applicant Tracking System founded in New Zealand and growing in the US and Australia, have won the title of ‘Most Innovative Recruitment Software Provider – USA’ in the 2021 New World Report Software and Technology Awards. Simon Oldham, Co-Founder, talks about his first-hand experience of the business’ success.

    “Utilizing the innate culture of New Zealand, QJumpers use a collaborative approach to understand and deliver client needs. Company values are centered through this collaborative model, and I have seen the positive effects this culture has on the business.”

    “Clients come first, and we do whatever we can to ensure that our customers feel that they are listened to. This carries over to the recruitment of our own team – nurturing our strong company culture is essential. We look for people who work well in our team, where they support others and go out of their way to get a successful outcome. We want open communication so that nothing is swept under the carpet. Everyone in our team contributes to innovation and so we look for people who are happy to talk openly about their ideas or find ways to improve what we do.”

    With the onset of the COVID pandemic, adaptations needed to be made in the way that the world recruited. Remote hiring technology became essential. QJumpers was already designed for remote hiring and collaboration but to stay ahead of the competition, QJumpers made significant changes to improve the services offered to clients. Simon explains, “Being able to recruit for skilled candidates from anywhere and ensure that they are a good match for their business is more critical than ever – but now it also needs to be done remotely. AI, automation, and collaborative tools are essential to enable this, so during the global pandemic we released our new product – AI Talent Sourcing.”

    “We wanted to make finding and hiring talent as fast and painless as possible for clients through AI and automation. Competition for top talent is hotter than ever so having technology available to source those roles that can’t be filled by traditional means or finding people who are not already in your existing database is now key.”

    “During this time, we also developed new (patent pending) technology to collect confidential candidate information to make it easier to onboard new employees remotely and we enhanced our employment agreement/offer letter electronic signing module.”

    Always on the lookout for new opportunities for betterment, QJumpers ensure new ideas are embedded into their business to constantly evolve. Ultimately, QJumpers are a perfect example of a honed and perfected collaborative business culture.

    ENDS


    ABOUT QJUMPERS

    Hailing from down under, QJumpers’ cutting-edge technologies blaze new trails in the search of the best global talent. We are on a daring mission to make the job of filling jobs as sweet and smooth as a New Zealand pavlova (the best dessert on the planet). Backed by our technology and tenacity, you can find tomorrow’s candidate today. With customizable workflows, seamless system integration, and an intuitive interface, we make collaborative, remote hiring a breeze. When it comes to the best candidates, we put you first in line.

    ABOUT THE NEW WORLD REPORT SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGY AWARDS

    New World Report is a US based insights and information business news platform, providing readers throughout the Americas with business advice to aid business progress, success stories aimed to inspire and trends and innovations to support business growth and continuity.

    Their Software and Technology Awards look to acknowledge the efforts of the pioneers and disruptors of modern technology, as well as those who have sustained excellence and exhibited long term dedication to their commitment to the development and advancements in technology.

    https://www.qjumpers.com/