Trinity trio full of beenz

The 'e-currency' beenz is to be introduced here by a new company whose founders met last year finishing their MBAs at Trinity College in Dublin.

The "e-currency" beenz is to be introduced here by a new company whose founders met last year finishing their MBAs at Trinity College in Dublin.

Trinity Ventures has been appointed the New Zealand representative for beenz, a system of earnable and spendable digital currency which has already found some success in Australia, where 270,000 people have signed up as users.

The parent company, formed in the US in 1998, claims 4000 participating merchants - although most of those only dispense Beenz on a loyalty basis, rather than accept them as payment - and more than two million users worldwide. "mints" beenz at a cost of one US cent each and pays half a cent for each beenz spent by a consumer.

Trinity will run beenz alongside a localised version of, an online ad service that pays Internet users to view full-screen commercials.

Trinity's marketing manager Anthony Ford, the New Zealander of the company's found trio, says he and Australian David Sowerby and Zimbawean Conor O'Beirne, who is CEO of the new company, have often been asked why they chose to come to New Zealand

"One of the joys of doing an MBA is that it gives you a chance to sit back and think about what you're going to do at the end of it. We'd been exposed to the Internet and marketing and a lot of leading edge technologies and what was happening in Europe and the US," says Ford.

"We thought, well, that's what we want to get into - now where do we do it? The lifestyle was a factor in choosing New Zealand, but so was timing - there's a very definite time lag between the US and European markets and here and we felt that gave us the time to get back here and establish ourselves."

Ford says the three friends arrived in New Zealand earlier this year "and spent the first few months screening endless numbers of products. We were targeting a pretty specific type of products and Beenz evolved out of that list as being one of the more successful ones that we'd seen. We thought there was huge potential in the whole concept of an e-currency application."

Trinity now works works with Beenz' Australian office. A site will go up later this month, with a full launch planned for November or December. Marketing for BePaid will begin within two weeks.

Ford says the three partners in Trinity have so far funded the business out of their own pockets, but "without going into detail, we do have backing but we haven't had to utilise it yet."

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