Interesting news for Kiwi entrepreneurs and angel investors alike: a) it shows that good IP with appropriate patent protection can be be worth millions to a business. b) it shows that Kiwi entrepreneurs can build a successful business straight in China go below the radar of many Kiwi investors.
At FKA we have seen our first return from StretchSense, an IP-rich company and defensible IP is an import factor in our selection of portfolio companies. With our free ADI.Clinic advices session across New Zealand we engage early with budding and seasoned entrepreneurs on their path towards building a sustainable business. In this way we hope to be able to help the future Mat Mowbrays on their journey.
Patents are the last great legitimate monopoly. They give the holder twenty years of exclusivity in the market, to exclude others from making, using or selling the patented item and thus allowing a successful patent to help a company reap the rewards of inventive genius. Unfortunately there is a deeper reality to patent ownership. While the patent is presumed valid when it is granted, this does not stop competitors from entering the marketplace with a copy-cat infringing product. Generally the more commercially successful the product, the more likely another company will swoop in and make a market play, risking an infringement lawsuit in an effort to reap commercial rewards. These competitors hope that either the original patent owner will not have the funds or ability to pursue a lawsuit, or that the owner will be forced, due to the cost and time involved in patent cases, to settle for minimal compensation. This is where enforcement of a patent rights becomes a very important strategic decision. (Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig)
Mat Mowbray, Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Mat with his envisioning force and innate entrepreneurialism is the driving force behind ZURU. He has directed and inspired the company from creating ZURU’s first toy to building the multinational organisation that it is today. Mat is based out of ZURU’s Guangzhou, China Headquarters and with the executive management team he guides the strategic development of the organisation. Mat additionally pioneers the direction for both ongoing and upcoming projects, focusing closely on new development with the design and engineering teams.
Born and raised in Cambridge, New Zealand, Mat’s foundation is his internal desire to build upon the world of toys through new, unique and novel concepts. Eight years ago, after studying mechanical engineering and automation at Massey University in New Zealand for just one year, Mat decided that it was never to early to get the ball rolling and moved his entire purpose to China to found ZURU.
Mat is self-motivated, pioneering, a leader and incredibly passionate. He has innovation and the future development of ZURU on his mind always. Mat would be a Spinnaz from our Crazies Brand if he were a ZURU toy as his head is always “spinning with new ideas”.
AUCKLAND, NOVEMBER 23, 2017 — StretchSense Limited, New Zealand manufacturer of wearable sensing systems, today announced that it has completed negotiation for a call option agreement that allows its investor StartToday Co., Ltd. to selectively conduct full acquisition of StretchSense in the future.
StretchSense’s New Zealand operations, encompassing two sites in Auckland with over 130 employees, will continue operation across all departments, with further growth to be supported by the resources afforded by the acquirer.
Ben O’Brien, StretchSense CEO, says: “This deal with StartToday is a great sign for New Zealand’s technology ecosystem. It proves it’s possible for a Kiwi technology company to build itself up from essentially nothing into a world-class operation capable of competing on the global stage.
“Our relationship with StartToday began because of our technology, but it’s the value of our people and Kiwi expertise that have led us to this point, as well as our compatibility with StartToday’s fantastic company culture.”
Recently placed seventh on the 2017 Deloitte Fast 50, StretchSense is one of New Zealand’s rising technology stars. This endorsement from StartToday is the next step in nurturing an innovation culture in New Zealand, developing the country’s technology sector and helping to create further opportunities in the future. StretchSense will continue to be a key part of New Zealand’s contribution to technology and innovation worldwide, leveraging the resources of StartToday to drive wearable technology forward.
StretchSense received a series of investments from StartToday in 2016 These investments helped StretchSense advance their stretch sensor technology to enable the ZozoSuit, announced yesterday by the Japanese fashion retailer. StartToday currently holds 39.9% ownership (fully diluted basis) of StretchSense, with today’s agreement securing its right to acquire 100% ownership should it choose to exercise the option.
The option price paid by StartToday for the proposed agreement is US$20 million. Should StartToday choose to exercise the option, it can acquire full ownership of StretchSense at a strike valuation of US$120 million, which equates to approximately US$72 million for the remaining 60.1% of the company. The option expires on September 30, 2018. The agreement is scheduled to be executed by the end of this month and is pending final approval by the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office.
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The best mentors don't say what to do but help setting empowering goals. John is very generous, personally and in his role at ACA, with sharing his knowledge and general resources to help other angel investors. Receiving his booklet of aphorisms titled "100 Hustonisms" in the post earlier this month was a lovely surprise and a little like an early Xmas.
A Big Thank you from FKA's CCH Rudi2Wings to the BowTiedAngel!
PS The first Hustonism has already been quoted in FKA's regular newsletter Another FKA Friday, issue 2017#41.
Tim Minchin is an Australian musician, comedian and actor. Last year he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Western Australia and asked to give some guidance to the students on things he had learnt travelling the world, being himself and his ideas on being a successful person.
For his speech he made a list of nine life lessons, to echo the nine lessons and carols of the traditional Christmas service. Some are simple and easy to achieve, some are harder and some will make you question your being and what you need to do to achieve a meaningful and successful life.