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HP launches Garage Program to accelerate Internet

HP launches Garage Program to accelerate Internet start-up success Unique program offers innovative financing, mission-critical technical expertise and global marketing assistance

AUCKLAND, 28 June 2000 - Hewlett-Packard New Zealand today launched the HP Garage Program, a complete offering to facilitate the success of start-ups, dot-coms and other IT ventures that will drive the development of the Internet economy.

Complementary to existing forms of capital raising, the HP Garage Program provides a comprehensive package of innovative financing, IT infrastructure, mission-critical technical expertise and creative go-to-market programs.

Part of a world-wide initiative, the HP Garage Program offers debt funding assistance to start-ups that do not have the trading history normally required to obtain this type of financing.

"The Garage Program is another example of HP's commitment to industry development in Australia and New Zealand, and aims to identify and invest in those companies that are potential leaders in the global Internet economy," says Mark Bowman, general manager enterprise business Hewlett-Packard New Zealand.

"At this time in the development of the Internet, having this type of global support available to companies in New Zealand can only be of benefit to them and the industry as a whole," Mark Bowman says.

"The Garage Program is part of HP's vision of the proliferation of electronic services provided through the Internet. HP understands that time-to-revenue, capital preservation and rapid growth are vital to new and emerging Internet companies," says David Lenz, marketing director of Enterprise Computing, Hewlett-Packard Australia and New Zealand. "We're making it much easier for start-ups to grow by offering deferred payment financing, the industry's best range of services, and secure, scalable technology platforms.

HP has chosen Australia and New Zealand as one of three markets in Asia Pacific to implement the Garage Program. The other countries are Japan and Singapore. In Australia the program has three elements. Two of these will be launched in New Zealand.

* Garage Dot-Com Program: Funding and assistance for start-ups that have innovative ideas for Internet ventures that deliver on HP's e-services vision. Companies under consideration will have secured capital investment and have a solid business plan; * Garage E-Scholarship Program: This is a worldwide business plan competition. HP and co-sponsors will be awarding more than NZ$3 million in products and services to 10 winners, worldwide. HP is looking at rolling out a local e-scholarship program next year, where it will be targeting universities and developers in both Australia and New Zealand, offering similar rewards.

Globally HP will invest NZ$480 to NZ$600 million in the Garage Program in 2000, and has already invested in 60 companies in the first 60 days of the program. In Australia and New Zealand, HP will fund up to NZ$3.6 million per company and expects to invest in 15 to 20 companies through the Dot-Com Program alone.

"With venture capital flowing into the Australian and New Zealand markets in record amounts, there is enormous potential for the creation of leading global IT&T business enterprises built around innovative intellectual property," says Andrew Green, Executive Director, Australian Venture Capital Association Limited.

"The HP Garage Program will enable emerging venture capital-backed Australian companies in the Internet and related information technology industries to benefit from HP's extensive International expertise and will help create world-best companies in the shortest time."

HP has already provided debt funding and assistance to two Australian companies as pilot participants of the Garage Dot-Com Program. They are BOBS.com.au, a buyer-to-seller e-commerce infrastructure start-up, and iSelect, an online health insurance broking service.

BOB.com.au (BOBS) is planning to go live in New Zealand in November following its intended September Australian launch.

The strategic alliance with HP for support, infrastructure and emerging software with distributed architecture is designed to scale and globalise.

More information about the HP Garage Program and how to apply is available at www.hp.com.au

About HP Hewlett-Packard Company -- a leading global provider of computing and imaging solutions and services -- is focused on making technology and its benefits accessible to individuals and businesses through simple appliances, useful e-services and an Internet infrastructure that's always on.

HP aims to help people and businesses derive new value from the Internet by enabling a rich array of nimble, modular electronic services that are accessible by virtually any electronic device or appliance.

HP has 86,000 employees worldwide and had total revenue from continuing operations of $42.4 billion in its 1999 fiscal year. In Australasia HP reported revenue of A$1.6 billion for 1999 and has more than 1,000 employees. Information about HP and its products can be found on the World Wide Web at .

About the Australian Venture Capital Association Limited

Founded in 1992, the Australian Venture Capital Association Limited (AVCAL) represents Australia's major venture capital firms, who collectively have invested, or available for investment, $5 billion. AVCAL promotes the industry and encourages investment in growing business enterprises. It is the virtual hub for the industry in Australia.

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