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  • 18 Feb 2020 3:26 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organisation, and Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) today signed a first-ever official tourism agreement between the two cities.

    The new two-year partnership will enable ATEED and NYC & Company to promote their respective destinations and focus on attracting visitation through an economical and collaborative exchange and includes reciprocal marketing and promotion over two years.

    The new tourism partnership between New York City and Auckland comes as Air New Zealand prepares to launch a new non-stop service between Auckland and New York City, beginning in October 2020.

    The agreement was formalised this afternoon at an industry ceremony at Ōrākei Marae in Auckland, New Zealand, with Associate Minister Hon. Peeni Henare, Auckland’s Mayor Phil Goff, ATEED Chief Executive Nick Hill, NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon.

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  • 14 Feb 2020 4:38 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Two significant business developments which will see its wastewater recovery technology being used in the US oil and gas sector and industrial wastewater applications in Europe.

    Aquafortus’ US licensee has entered into a joint venture with Pilot Corporation, a Berkshire Hathaway backed company and the tenth largest private company in the US. In addition, Aquafortus has signed a second, Europe-based licensee.

    Daryl Briggs, CEO and founder of Aquafortus Technologies comments,

    “These developments represent significant milestones and reflect both the quality of and environmental potential for Aquafortus technology to improve how wastewater is processed on a global scale.”

    “As a kiwi-start up founded only five years ago, and launched internationally last year, we are incredibly proud of this early stage momentum that has seen us partner with two well-capitalised licensees in the recognised and reputable markets of Europe and the U.S.”

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  • 13 Feb 2020 3:50 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    PredictHQ's founders did not predict their giant Series B round would happen, but they're not complaining.

    The Auckland-based software startup has just closed a US$22 million ($34m) raise, led by Sutter Hill Ventures, with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Aspect Ventures, and Rampersand VC.

    PredictHQ, a company that aggregates data sets from myriad events and public holidays to help companies forecast demand for their services, has raised $22 million in a series B round of funding led by Sutter Hill Ventures, with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Aspect Ventures, and Rampersand VC.

    The San Francisco-based startup taps myriad sources for data related to concerts, sports, public holidays, and more and then adds in proprietary and “hard to find” data. It throws all of this into a big melting pot, channels it into an API, and licenses it to companies like Uber, Domino’s, Quantas, and

    So why is this data so useful? Well, it all comes down to predictive insights — knowing how much demand a service is likely to see. During a major music festival or sports event, for example, Uber often employs surge pricing, a mechanism to manage supply (and make more money) when demand is high. But surge pricing often kicks in with little to no warning, as the pricing mechanism simply reacts to a surge in demand. Knowing when to expect a spike in ride requests could help Uber alert drivers to be at a location at a certain time.

    PredictHQ’s secret sauce is the way it combines data. For example, knowing there’s a rock concert on a specific date in San Diego is useful, but adding in the fact that the American Society of Hematology is holding an exposition in the same area on the same day might suggest an even greater demand for rides. Moreover, Uber could tap other independent data sources — including hyper local weather forecasts — to fill in the picture. If a torrential downpour is anticipated as the two major events are about to finish, for example, drivers can be standing by to cash in.

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  • 05 Feb 2020 3:20 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    The New Zealand Government and Wisk, an Urban Air Mobility (UAM) company, have announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a passenger transport trial in Canterbury, New Zealand. Wisk’s self-flying, all-electric air taxi, called Cora, is the aircraft selected for the trials.

    In October 2019, the New Zealand Government announced that it was establishing an industry-wide Airspace Integration Trial to work with leading, innovative domestic and international industry partners to safely test and demonstrate unmanned aircraft. Wisk, based in the United States and New Zealand, was announced as the first industry partner to join this program.

    Wisk CEO, Gary Gysin, said: “We are delighted to now have a signed agreement with the New Zealand Government, which will propel Cora’s entry to the air taxi market. We see this agreement as a sign of confidence in our product and abilities to develop and deliver a safe and reliable air taxi service, starting in New Zealand. As the Minister of Research Science and Innovation Hon. Dr. Megan Woods said in her announcement:

    “This trial is the first of its kind and Wisk’s innovative technology and commitment to New Zealand make them an ideal partner for advancing the future of travel in New Zealand and the world.”

    “Wisk has been working with the Government and people of New Zealand since 2017, said Gary Gysin.

    "We are excited about what this agreement and trial represents in our journey to bring safe everyday flight to everyone. New Zealand values innovation, excellence and technology that is safe for people and the environment. Being selected as the partner for this program is an honor and testament to our hard work and steady progress.”

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  • 31 Jan 2020 11:08 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Shuttlerock the mobile digital advertising firm has today announced a $7.5M funding round in the form of a convertible note. The participants in the note include Jasmine Holdings, GD1 and T Station.

    As part of the round Sam Morgan joins the Shuttlerock board. Sam is a very well known investor and has been involved in some of New Zealand’s most successful tech companies including Trademe, Xero and Vend.

    Chairman Paul Bingham said

    We’re delighted to welcome Sam to the board. He’s a very highly respected investor and has helped scale some of NZ’s best technology companies. It’s perfect timing with Shuttlerock ready for its next big leap forward’

    Shuttlerock intends using the funds to bolster its global presence and is committed to growth in its core markets of North America and Europe as well as the APAC region.

    2019 saw the company grow its team from 53 to 135 globally and in the past year it opened offices in Paris, Austin, Chicago and London, joining Los Angeles, New York, Berlin, Singapore and Tokyo.

    It’s also boosting its tech team primarily based in Nelson, New Zealand.

    CEO Jonny Hendriksen

    We’ve worked hard to position Shuttlerock as a global leader in the mobile creative space and we’re poised for more growth in 2020. Mobile video channels continue to attract more eye balls and the challenge for advertisers to get it right has never been greater’

    ‘This latest round allows us to further invest in our unique platform and to grow our Nelson based tech team further. In addition we’re boosting our international market presence with additional resources in USA and Europe including a new office in London’


  • 31 Jan 2020 11:05 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Dietary supplement firm NZ Fulvic announced today its first exports to USA.

    In what is believed to be a first for the country, New Zealand exports of an organic soil nutrient discovered by accident in a Southland farm have launched into the US.

    A deposit of fulvic acid covering one square kilometre and believed to be worth millions of dollars in processed form was discovered following oil and gas exploration surveys in the 1950s.

    Deposits of this size are rare by international standards with only a few countries around the world able to extract fulvic acid for nutritional products.

    Fulvic acid is a water-soluble material found in a part of soil called the humus. It is the result of a combination of several acids that are created when organic matter decomposes.

    The refined humus is processed into a liquid and marketed as a dietary supplement designed to support immunity, nutrient absorption and natural energy levels.

    An initial export order of more than 1.5 tonnes of the supplement has left New Zealand destined for the US market and will be sold through Amazon - believed to be the first time this nutrient has been sold into the North American market.

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  • 27 Dec 2019 12:08 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Pushpay Holdings will add about 4,000 church customers to its books with the US$87.5 million ($132.2m) acquisition of rival Church Community Builder, although co-founder Chris Heaslip signalled his departure next year.

    Pushpay bought 100 per cent of the Colorado-based company's shares in an all-cash deal, and is bringing its founder Chris Fowler on to the NZX-listed company's board.

    Church Community Builder head Don Harms will continue with the enlarged company, reporting to Pushpay chief executive Bruce Gordon, with the two companies maintaining their existing platforms with other software providers to ensure a continuation of service of their customers.

    "This strategic partnership enables us to better serve our customers as we strive to be the number one partner to the US faith sector by providing a fully integrated church management system, custom community app and giving solution," Gordon said.

    Pushpay had 7,905 customers at September 30, meaning the acquisition will boost its business by about 50 per cent.

    The company said the deal won't have a material impact on earnings in the March 2020 year because of the work needed to integrate the products, but should lead to higher earnings in subsequent years.

    Pushpay shares rose 2 per cent to $4.05, having been halted for much of the day pending the announcement. They have gained 26 per cent year to date.

    Fowler also bought US$15m of shares from Pushpay director Heaslip at the market price of $3.50. Heaslip will resign from the Pushpay board on March 31, having left his executive role in May of this year.

    Pushpay said it will fund the acquisition through existing cash and a US$62.5m debt facility.


  • 23 Dec 2019 5:12 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Restaurant Brands New Zealand Limited (RBD) has today entered into an asset purchase agreement with a KFC US franchisee for the purchase of 70 stores in Southern California, USA. The purchase comprises 59 KFC stores and 11 combined KFC and Taco Bell stores, together with a head office facility.

    The agreement is subject to the customary conditions for transactions of this nature, including Yum! approval and landlord approval for the assignment of store leases.

    Restaurant Brands will be offering continued employment on existing terms to all 1,100 part time and 500 full time staff currently employed by the franchisee.

    Russel Creedy, RBD Group CEO said, “This acquisition brings with it some very experienced and committed employees who we welcome to the Restaurant Brands family and we look forward to building the business further with them in what is a market with considerable potential for future growth.”

    The transaction is for a purchase price of $US73 million plus capital expenditure reimbursements for recent store refurbishment and customary working capital adjustments. It will be fully debt funded. The company is currently completing a refinancing exercise to, amongst other things, add extra capacity to its borrowing facilities.

    The business generates an annual turnover of $US95 million and a 12 month trailing store EBITDA (pre- G&A) of in excess of $US12 million.

    Russel Creedy added, “This acquisition provides RBD with immediate critical mass and a capable and stable organisation in California from which we can further expand.”

    Settlement is expected by March 2020.

    José Parés, Chairman of RBD said “We are delighted to take the next step in Restaurant Brands’ growth strategy. This acquisition provides us with a solid beach head in the US with significant opportunities for further development."


  • 20 Dec 2019 9:20 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Very pleased to announce that GE will supply wind turbines to the Mt Cass project in New Zealand, owned by MainPower New Zealand Limited. This will be our first wind farm in my adopted country, and will utilize the Typhoon-class 4.2-117 turbines. We are glad to be working with MainPower to support NZ's goals in expanding renewable energy!

    Chris Holsonback, Onshore Wind Product Manager at GE Renewable Energy

  • 28 Nov 2019 4:34 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Straker Translations Limited will provide media localisation services powered by artificial intelligence for multiple TV series produced by a major US TV studio for the Latin American market.

    The NZ$1m deal for services that will be completed by March 2020 and will be the first time a television studio uses an advanced translation platform that incorporates artificial intelligence and machine translation algorithms to power automatic speech recognition to transcribe, translate and understand the nuances of actors’ dialogue while adhering to specific standards for sub-titling.

    This significantly increases translation automation before finally being edited by human translators through technical quality control and post-edition workflows.

    Straker’s fully integrated platform enables the studio, which is undisclosed for competitive reasons, to substantially reduce the time needed to localise TV shows by translating for the Latin America market, enabling quicker release times in those markets and decreasing the risk of piracy and associated security and authentication concerns.

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