Kiwi ex-SAP CEO’s high-tech startup raises $5 million capital funding

“We are delighted with the level of investor support and interest."

MyWave Holdings Limited, the high tech startup founded two years ago by New Zealander and former SAP North America CEO Geraldine McBride, has successfully over-subscribed a second round capital raise of $4 million to support rapid offshore growth.

McBride says the MyWave Board, chaired by former Xero chairman Phil Norman, resolved to seek new capital of $4 million, with over subscriptions accepted up to $5 million.

“We are delighted with the level of investor support and interest,” she says. “We quickly secured $4.5 million at a pre-money valuation of $50 million ($3.45 per share) and have extended the close date until the end of October to allow due diligence and other details required by prospective investors.

“We expect to close off the capital raise at or close to the $5 million oversubscription limit.”

McBride says the capital raise includes a $2.9 million personal investment by Andre Crawford-Brunt, global head of equities trading for Deutsche Bank - most of the balance has come from existing shareholders increasing their investment position.

According to McBride, the increase in valuation to $3.45 per share since MyWave completed its first round capital raise of $2.5 million at $0.50 per share in May 2014 reflects MyWave’s “rapid progress” in building an intelligent personal assistant platform and its sales success with major brands in New Zealand and Australia.

“MyWave’s intelligent personal assistant, called Frank, has a strong leadership position in the rapidly emerging digital personal assistant market,” McBride adds.

“Gartner Group estimates that by 2016 more than US$2 billion of online shopping will be done by mobile personal assistants.”

McBride says the first wave of enterprise customers will begin deploying a range of new services to their customers over the next six months.

First to be announced is New Zealand’s Saveawatt, which early next year will go live with a world-first service using MyWave’s Frank to help householders find the best power price, switch to the best retail plan without filling in forms, and constantly check that the household has the best electricity deal.

Other customers, yet to be announced but in advanced pilot development, include major Australian and New Zealand brands in the retail, real estate and banking sectors.

McBride says the new capital will be used to further expand MyWave’s 30-strong Melbourne-based software development team, and appointments and partnerships to build sales and implementation resources in the USA and UK required to support new sales currently underway.

McBride adds that MyWave, which was founded in 2013, is already generating significant customer revenue and could have adopted a self-funding model, however, she says, the decision has been to invest for growth, which requires greater software development resources and setting up US and UK subsidiaries.

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