News
0 Nine heavy-hitters join Stearne on capital markets

Nine financial markets heavy hitters have been named to join the steering committee of the capital markets review announced by stock exchange operator NZX and the Financial Markets Authority in January.

Review chair Martin Stearne, a corporate consultant and former managing director of merchant bank FNZC, says he’s pleased with the industry response and the quality of the lineup.

Those appointed are Rob Campbell, chair of SkyCity and Tourism Holdings, Rachel Dunne, a partner at law firm Chapman Tripp, Ross George, managing director of private equity firm Direct Capital, James Lee, chief executive of FNZC, Westpac chief executive David McLean, Forsyth Barr managing director Neil Paviour-Smith, Rebecca Thomas, chief executive of Mint Asset Management, New Zealand Superannuation Fund chief executive Matt Whineray and Geoff Zame, head of institutional equities at Craigs Investment Partners.

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0 Innovation spend celebrated

Increased spending on research and development by businesses is cause for celebration, says BusinessNZ.

New data from Statistics NZ shows a recent increase of around half a billion dollars over the last two years had brought firms’ total expenditure on research and development over to $2.1 billion last year.

The increase is significant because company-level R&D investment in New Zealand was previously lagging, BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope said.

“Over recent years business investment has been slightly less than the government’s investment in R&D, but the 2018 figures show business investment now reaching 55 percent of the total.

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0 Auckland chatbot startup Ambit raises NZ$1.75 million

New Zealand startup Ambit, which helps clients create custom chatbots, has raised NZ$1.75 million ($1.7 million) as it looks to grow globally.

Founded by Josh Comrie, Gareth Cronin, and Tim Warren in 2017, Ambit’s platform enables clients to design, build, integrate and analyse “digital employees”, or chatbots. It has worked with the likes of Vodafone, KPMG, and Glassons.

The funding, raised from investors including Lewis Holdings Limited, the investment arm of New Zealand business leader Sir David Levene, and K1W1, the investment arm of Sir Stephen Tindall, follows the company’s NZ$500,000 mid-2017 seed round.

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0 New Zealand-founded 90 Seconds raises $28 million Series B round

New Zealand-founded, Singapore-based video production startup 90 Seconds has raised US$20 million ($28 million) in Series B funding from a mix of new and existing investors, including AirTree Ventures, Sequoia India, Qualgro Venture Capital, and Right Click Capital.

Founded in 2010, 90 Seconds allows brands and agencies to tap into a network of over 12,000 creatives in 160 countries, from videographers to directors, editors, animators, producers, and more, to buy, plan, shoot, edit, and review video.

The startup raised a $10 million Series A round led by Sequoia and AirTree Ventures in 2016, opening an office in Australia later that year.

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0 Another big year in store for NZ mergers and acquisitions

Last year was a big one for New Zealand mergers and acquisitions and law firm Russell McVeagh expects to see more of the same in 2019, despite increased global uncertainty.

The firm said 176 deals, worth a combined $7.126 billion were announced in 9 months to 30 September 2018, representing a 172 per cent increase in deal value, and an increase of about 16 per cent in transaction numbers.

While figures for the full 2018 calendar year are yet to be released, activity was very high in the last quarter of 2018, and the firm expects this trend to have continued for the full year.

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