High-tech firm IndraNet Technologies is continuing its involvement with its first commercial project, the Virtuhalls project in Nice, France, but whether the venture has generated any revenue for IndraNet is unclear.
Virtuhalls is the company’s first commercial application and involves establishing a small IndraNet network for the French city.
IndraNet’s technology, which the company describes as fourth-generation wireless, is based on self-managing and self-routing networks maintained by terminals called “minders”, which also act as routers and “advanced computers”, and will be capable of performing security and electricity management functions.
The company claims its mesh network architecture will allow scalability not possible with existing wireless networks, opening up the possibility of connecting hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions, of users at a fraction of the cost of present broadband networks.
Virtuhalls is a joint venture with French firm Sigma Technologies, one of several partners IndraNet is working with.
When asked about the status of the Virtuhalls project and whether any revenue has resulted from the project, IndraNet managing director Louis Arnoux would only claim success to date. “IndraNet successfully completed the first of two stages of its first commercial project in Europe in July 2001 and we are presently negotiating with the City of Nice the next phase, as they have expressed an interest in the expanded programme.”
If that can be taken as a “no”, it would seem the Christchurch-based wireless telecomms start-up’s only revenue after its initial public offering in 1999 has been $37,483 (for 1999) and $30,340 (for 2000) in interest and $124 in dividends from IndraNet’s investments in other companies during the 2000 financial year.
IndraNet is in the process of raising $A5 million in Australia in what will be its third public offering, following a $5 million offering in 1999 in New Zealand and another here this year which raised $4.25 million.
The company was listed on the informal number two board of the NZ Stock Exchange, but shares were withdrawn pending the second NZ public offering and have not been relisted.
However, IndraNet is looking at a non-exchange facility to allow investors to sell and buy, saying its listing on the number two board did not provide enough liquidity.
According to IndraNet’s Australian IPO prospectus, the new share trading arrangement will “operate independently from the company under a strict charter”. The facility will be run by a professional investment banker and IndraNet does not plan to list on any formal Australian exchanges when the offering is completed.
Besides the almost $NZ10 million raised so far and the proceeds of the Australian offering, there have been several private placements in IndraNet, of which Arnoux declined to give details.
The Australian offer prospectus notes that despite the money raised so far and that which will come from the Australian offering, “the continued development of IndraNet’s products are entirely dependent on its ability to raise capital in the future.”
In 1999, IndraNet made a loss of $1.6 million and by the end of the 2000 financial year accumulated losses were $3.4 million.
IndraNet has filed 49 international patents which have been accepted as having “novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability” by the PCT, the international patent body, though the full patent process will take several years.
IndraNet has created four “core application ventures,” WinIT, ZenIT, SunIT and ThinkIT, which focus on telecommunications, transport, energy and advanced computing respectively.
Other projects besides Virtuhalls in the pipeline include a medical application in Australia, in which IndraNet has signed a joint venture agreement with Australian company Optum.
Dislaimer: David Watson is an IndraNet shareholder.