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  • 20 Dec 2018 11:50 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Serko Acquires InterplX to Expand North American Market Capability

    Serko Limited (NZSX:SKO, ASX:SKO, “Serko”), a leader in integrated travel and expense management, today announced that it has acquired 100% of the ordinary shares in InterplX Inc, a provider of SaaS expense management software in the United States.

    InterplX was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, providing business expense management solutions including expense audit, payment processing and receipt processing to a range of organisations including several Fortune 500 clients.

    The acquisition provides Serko with a North American customer service and technology development capability to support market expansion in the Northern Hemisphere, and augments Serko’s existing global support centres in providing a global 24/7 support footprint.

    The InterplX suite of solutions includes strategic software assets for Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment, full audit and fraud detection software and capabilities which we expect to be of benefit to Serko’s existing customers.

    It will continue to be run by its founder Chuck Buckner and existing management team, who will now report to Serko’s Vice President of North America, Tony D’Astolfo.

    “We are very excited to be joining forces with a global leader in corporate travel and expense technology innovation,” said Mr. Buckner. “Our two companies are well aligned in terms of technical architecture and a high degree of customer service. The North American market is demanding a user-friendly alternative to the legacy providers and we are pleased to join Serko to create an integrated travel and expense offering that will fill that void.”

    Announcing the transaction, Serko CEO Darrin Grafton, said this was an investment to support Serko’s global growth strategy, “We’re delighted to announce this acquisition, and to welcome the people and customers of InterplX into the global Serko family. We were deeply impressed by the quality of the technology and the high service levels and customer retention that Chuck and the team have achieved, and we look forward to further building on InterplX’s strong pedigree in market.”

    While the exact terms of the agreement are confidential, the consideration payable of US$2.5 million is to be fully satisfied via the issue of Serko fully paid ordinary shares, with 50% of the stock issued at completion (573,922 shares issued at NZ$3.30) and the remainder issued subject to revenue targets being achieved through to December 2019. The first tranche of shares to be issued are subject to an escrow period restricting the shares from being sold before 30 June 2019.

    This transaction will add to Serko’s revenue through the continued provision of expense management solutions. Due to the completion date being close to the end of the current financial year the expected revenue contribution remains within Serko’s existing guidance of 20% - 30% revenue growth and EBITDA guidance for FY19. The revenue uplift impact in FY20 associated with this acquisition is expected to be between $2.5 million to $3.5 million NZD. Serko will provide guidance for the FY20 year when it releases its FY19 results in May 2019.

    The first and second tranche of shares will fall within Serko’s placement capacity and will be issued pursuant to NZX Listing Rule 7.3.5 and, in the case of the second tranche, new NZX Listing Rule 4.5.

  • 13 Dec 2018 10:25 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Our colleagues in Singapore did some member research and their findings are reported in full here.  Notable statistics include

    • 26% already report increased difficulty trading in SE Asia
    • The first round of tariffs negatively affect more firms trading with US (40%) than China (35%)
    • 57% of US owned larger firms expect the second round of tariffs to affect them disproportionately
    • Delayed investment decisions are the leading strategic response 

    Read the full research reports 

    AmCham Singapore US-China Trade War Survey 2018 FINAL PDF.pdf 

    US-China Trade War Summary Report FINAL.pdf

  • 06 Dec 2018 11:56 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Vista Group has welcomed Marcus Theatres® as a customer, signing a new long-term agreement. Currently with 68 sites and 890 screens across 8 states, Marcus Theatres is the 4th largest theatre circuit in the United States.

    Vista Cinema offers a diverse cinema management product set to meet the needs of movie theatres, ranging from box office ticketing and concessions Point of Sale to corporate dashboards, analysis and reporting, to loyalty solutions and white-label web and mobile applications. Marcus Theatres has licensed numerous modules under an enterprise agreement and intends to fully utilise Vista’s end-to-end suite with the goals of improving customer offerings and creating efficiencies throughout their business. Included is Vista’s new cloud-based Cinema Manager product, which enables theatre managers’ mobility and provides them with everything they need to streamline their entire working day and that of their cinema staff.

    “Partnering with Marcus Theatres is an inspiration for us,”

    says Leon Newnham, Chief Executive of Vista Cinema.

    Across all our Vista Group businesses we’re committed to reimagining the future of cinema management technology and to continuing to design and execute solutions that exceed the needs and wants of both exhibitors and moviegoers.

    Rolando Rodriguez, Chairman, President and CEO of Marcus Theatres says.

    “Vista is the industry leader, consistently moving their product forward for exhibition in unprecedented, innovative ways. With strong market share and product leadership, Vista understands how to support cinema exhibition. Marcus Theatres and Vista are better together enabling us to make our cinema experience even more memorable.”

  • 15 Nov 2018 4:15 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

     TaleFlick - a digital story content platform that connects content creators with film studios and producers.

    Utilising digital tools, Los Angeles based TaleFlick removes many of the traditional barriers to let original stories shine, and most importantly, be found.

    Published and unpublished writers upload their novel to TaleFlick; a digital searchable story library. Film and small screen producers and studios can then search the library and ideally a connection can be made to optioning and eventual screen production.

    Co-Founders  Uri Singer and George Berry are based in Los Angeles.

    “New Zealand stories have increasingly been taking centre stage globally and there is enormous appetite for original, engaging content. In every cinema there right now there will be at least one movie that started life as book. What we’re hearing more and more from small screen producers is their increasing demand for content that can be serialised; think Big Little Lies, Handmaid’s Tale, House of Cards - all of which started life as a book.”

    Read More

  • 15 Nov 2018 4:01 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Exciting news from Gough Cat the Caterpillar Dealer as they announce a new partnership with Weiler Incorporated to distribute its forestry product line in New Zealand.

    Gough Cat will distribute and service Weiler forestry products, including wheel skidders and track feller bunchers, while continuing to provide and service Cat’s forestry 500 series purpose-built forestry machines designed for log loading, harvesting and other New Zealand forestry applications.

    Chris Heaton, Executive General Manager said

    “These products complement the Caterpillar forestry machines that Gough Cat will continue to offer and we are excited about continuing to supply our customers a wide range of products.”

    Read more

  • 06 Nov 2018 12:53 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Canterbury based software company Seequent opens its doors in Denver, CO. 

    The company is a world leader in visual data science software, Leapfrog®. Applications for 3D geological modelling has led Seequent to increase its commitment to the US market, including the appointment of key staff in its Civil & Environmental division since its 

    “The United States has one of the largest infrastructure industries in the world,”

    says Daniel Wallace, General Manager of Civil & Environmental at Seequent.

    “There is a significant amount of infrastructure to be built, rebuilt and maintained. We have opened an office in Denver and have a local team on board to help support projects and show our commitment to this market.”

    Seequent is known worldwide for its Leapfrog 3D geological modelling solutions for the civil engineering, environmental, geothermal energy and mining industries, as well as other visualisation and collaboration technologies. These solutions enable geologists, engineers, and executives alike to create rich stories and uncover valuable insights from geological data, and ultimately make better decisions about their earth, environment and energy challenges.

    Read more

  • 30 Oct 2018 10:53 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    North Shore's Autogrow plans to shift CEO Darryn Keiller to California to drive next stage growth for #AgTech indoor farms. The #MultiGrow product enables farmers to optimise climate, control, fertigation, dosing, batching and irrigation. The firm is looking for investment now.

    The NZ Herald article says

    "Talking to plants can get you funny looks but data science company Autogrow is developing artificial intelligence so the world's indoor commercial growers can do the next best thing – talk to an avatar about the health and progress of their crops.

    Not content with lifting export destinations for its high-tech automated growing systems from 14 to 45 countries in the past three years, the Auckland-based agtech company is setting up shop in America's fresh produce-growing heart, California.

    It is also moving into artificial intelligence (AI) to help feed growing populations and improve the profitability of under-pressure indoor growers and farmers."

  • 12 Oct 2018 3:08 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Premium New Zealand wool carpets and rugs will soon be available to thousands more US consumers under a new distribution partnership between Carrfields Primary Wool (CP Wool) and J Mish Mills.

    Under the agreement, leading carpet business J Mish will design and manufacture carpets and rugs from yarn grown and spun in New Zealand. The products will then be distributed throughout the US via J Mish’s large network of dealer and designer relationships.

    Colin McKenzie, CEO of Carrfields Primary Wool Group, says the partnership will build on an existing relationship to increase the profile of New Zealand wool across the residential market in the US.

    “We’re very excited about expanding our relationship with J Mish, who have already been manufacturing carpets from CP Wool yarn at their facility in Cartersville, Georgia, for several years,” he says.

    “We’re confident that J Mish has the reputation, resources and scale needed to put New Zealand wool carpet in front of consumers across the US, as a highly desirable and sustainable choice for soft flooring.”

    Carpets and rugs made from CP Wool yarn will be included under J Mish’s Signature and Promenade ranges. The company’s strong focus on design means their carpets and rugs will showcase the beautiful, unique characteristics of wool, McKenzie says.

    “J Mish is widely recognised as a leader in styling, design and colour of wool carpet in the US, so they are in a great position to build the reputation and profile of New Zealand wool among US consumers.”

    More information.
  • 10 Oct 2018 3:25 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Kiwi-owned and operated burger chain, Better Burger, is in expansion mode and is determined to leave a lasting impression on jetsetters as they depart New Zealand.

    The company, which currently employs 63 staff and operates in four Auckland locations, is the latest of 21 new eateries to revamp Auckland Airport.

    Better Burger is officially opening its doors on Monday October 8th in partnership with global leader in hospitality, Delaware North, who recently announced an exciting new food and beverage concept at New Zealand’s main gateway.

    “Millions of passengers pass through the airport every year and it’s time they tasted something better,” says Better Burger general manager Rod Ballenden.

    The company has employed 20 new staff to man the restaurant, which will be located airside of the international terminal.

    Auckland Airport’s general manager of retail and commercial, Richard Barker, says the arrival of Better Burger is a sign of new things to come at the airport.

    Travellers tell us they want to sample the best of New Zealand’s food and experiences so we’re re-shaping the food and beverage offerings at both Domestic and International terminals. Better Burger fits really well with that plan.”

    With an ethos firmly set in doing fast food better, Better Burger boasts 100 per cent plant-based, commercially compostable packaging – a claim unmatched by any fast food chain in Australasia.

    “Our customers are conscious consumers. With us they count on a good feed that doesn’t come from a freezer and isn’t filled with preservatives. They also know that they won’t be leaving behind any unnecessary plastic waste, We’re putting ourselves on the global map – just starting at home by giving international travellers something decent to remember New Zealand by as they jet off.” says Rod.

    Kneaded into shape by the team of five behind the Britomart Hospitality Group, the burger chain’s 2020 growth ambitions project group turnover of $20 million.

    “It makes absolute sense to partner with Delaware North for our airport restaurant. They are leaders in their field and we are ready as a local company to take the next step.”

    The Better Burger recipe was conceived to provide all the conveniences of a conventional fast food chain, but one that prides itself on a commitment to fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. None of the burger chain’s restaurants has a freezer on site and Rod says the airport eatery will be no different.

    Better Burger’s values appealed to Delaware North, says Mark Owens, the company’s executive director of travel & hospitality services.

    “We’re excited to be collaborating with Better Burger as we help Auckland Airport bring the best of New Zealand to the world,” says Mark. “Better Burger’s commitment to using fresh and locally sourced ingredients, combined with the team’s ability to consistently deliver high-quality, delicious food made them a natural fit to partner with us.”

    Earning a cult-like following in Auckland, the Better Burger chain offers a simple menu of four burgers (beef and vegetarian options), fries and shakes complete with secret code words that unlock loaded options for those in the know.

    Rod says the simple offering and promise of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients is proving popular and that the airport restaurant will have a couple of extra breakfast options for early travellers.

    “Early birds will see a breakfast burger and orange juice on the airport menu.

    “With all the right ingredients in place, we’re ready to upsize this order,” says Rod.

  • 05 Oct 2018 9:09 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    LeoLabs, Inc., the leading commercial provider of low Earth orbit (LEO) mapping and Space Situational Awareness (SSA) services, today announced a broad-based agreement to build its next space radar in New Zealand. This establishes New Zealand as the site for the first radar of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. As the third radar in LeoLabs’ network, the New Zealand radar will be the first to track debris as small as 2cm in low Earth orbit. The company also announced an agreement with New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to promote the creation of applications and services that enhance New Zealand’s contribution to the space industry. In addition, LeoLabs is pleased to announce that the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) participated in LeoLabs’ recently completed Series A round of financing. 

    Low Earth Orbit is rapidly emerging as the focus of commercial activity in space, with thousands of satellites spawning new generations services, ranging from broadband internet to Earth imaging. LEO represents both a new economy and a critical ecosystem shared globally by governments, space agencies, regulators, commercial satellite operators and insurance. Against this backdrop is the risk to satellites and astronauts posed by space debris, especially from the estimated 250,000 dangerous objects which are untracked today. 

    “New Zealand is a multi-decade strategic decision for us,” said Dan Ceperley, LeoLabs CEO. “The threats posed to a viable LEO economy and a sustainable space environment escalate with every launch. Our goal is to build out the LeoLabs global space radar network at a pace to match that threat. New Zealand represents the ideal location and partner to take that next step forward.” 

    LeoLabs’ announcement is ground-breaking in two respects. First, establishing a unique presence in the Southern Hemisphere enables LeoLabs to more accurately track objects and provide earlier notification of important events in space. Second, the phased array radar LeoLabs intends for New Zealand will be capable of tracking objects as small as 2cm, and address 95% of the risk that has never been tracked. “The New Zealand LeoLabs radar represents the future of commercial SSA”, added Ceperley. “We could not be more pleased with the support of the government here, and the future prospects for engaging the New Zealand space community.” “We are thrilled to welcome LeoLabs to New Zealand to be part of our Innovative Partnerships programme,” said Dr. Megan Woods, New Zealand’s Minister for Research, Science and Innovation. “Innovative Partnerships is all about helping future-focused companies collaborate, innovate and connect here in New Zealand.”

    Read the full press release