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KIWI STORY: Mixing technology and marketing to taste success

Sathya Mithra Ashok | April 24, 2014
You would have had a hard time missing VMob in the news over the last few weeks.

"So we decided to go to the public market in 2012. We had to get a reverse listing to do that, and what that allowed us to do was to access capital far more quickly than we were able to do as a private company.

"The reasons for that is that as an investor it becomes easier for them to trade stock, and that's a key fact driving the business. The other is transparency.

"It is very difficult to attract an international investor to some company in NZ where there is no visibility to governance, compliance and audit trail. But when you are a public company, international investors understand the regime and the level of sophistication that the business has to have to be in the public domain. And that is why we are able to attract business out of Australia as a public company far more easily than as a privately held company," says Bradley.

Over the last year alone, the firm has been able to raise nearly $7 million, through a combination of placements, investor options and institutional investors. Most of the funding in the last 12 months has come out of Australia and around 30 per cent of the firm's current investors are from the country.

"The NZ market is far more buoyant now and more supportive of tech companies with the success of the likes of Xero and Vend. Professional investors have more of an appetite for those kind of companies. So we are likely to see more capital base coming out of NZ investors going forward. But we think we will have a mix of Australia and NZ investors going forward," says Bradley.

The going gets no less tough

Growth has come the firm's way, but with it has come its own set of challenges.

"You have got those growth challenges of bringing in mid-management, scaling the business, putting in discipline around your development process, your sales and marketing strategy and others. Those are the challenges that any business has, and I reckon it is the same for us. But we are just growing at a far more rapid rate than most companies.

"Scaling a business globally is an expensive job when you are located in NZ. So everytime you hop on the plane to go overseas it is a $5,000 to $10,000 exercise, so very effectively managing your investment is key. You don't want to run out of money and it is a key for any business, regardless of how much equity you have got in the bank," says Bradley.

VMob takes time to qualify a market and looks into how it can build a sales funnel without putting extensive resources on the ground each time. The company also uses reference clients, builds a profile for itself and uses automated marketing systems to develop qualified opportunities before entering a market with direct personnel.

 

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