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Kiwi Technology Turns Heads In Singapore

Auckland, October 1, 2001 -- The 11 New Zealand technology companies that attended the Tech Venture forum in Singapore have reported strong interest from venture capitalists and potential strategic alliance partners.

Trade New Zealand and Investment New Zealand, the agency's investment division, were invited to take the group of companies to this year’s Tech Venture forum, which was also attended by Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Pete Hodgson.

Account Manager Richard Hall, who accompanied the companies to the event, says the feedback from the participants has been extremely positive.

“The majority of the companies are feeling very bullish about the contacts they made and their future prospects, both in terms of attracting venture capital to help develop and market their technology and forming strategic alliances to help them expand into the Asian region.”

Tech Venture is Asia’s premier high-tech venture capital event. It provides a forum for selected high-tech companies to seek funding, corporate partnership and networking opportunities with international investors to develop business opportunities in Asia.

Travelgate Technology Ltd Chief Executive Jay de Faro says Tech Venture was very successful for his company. Amongst other meetings, Travelgate represented the New Zealand contingent on a media panel attended by 25 international media agencies, ensuring huge global exposure.

“We identified several prospects not only for capitalisation of our expansion into Asia, but also some very important technology partners that we believe are going to add to the development of Travelgate.

“We were very, very happy with the way the whole trip was put together. Trade

New Zealand did an exceptional job. They add credibility to the process and facilitate the introduction of companies into foreign markets.”

GlobalPro’s Director International Operations Neil Dorset says Tech Venture was also successful for his company.

“We wanted to talk to potential distribution and integration partners and to find equity funding to assist its global expansion. As a result of Tech Venture we’ve got significant discussions taking place in both areas and I’m going to Singapore again next month to work those through.”

Mr Dorset says the interest is mainly from Singaporean companies, but also Indian, Korean and Japanese.

He says going to Tech Venture as a large New Zealand group generated an impetus and visibility the companies couldn’t have achieved individually. An unexpected benefit was the synergies that were identified between the participating companies.

“Out of this we are starting to negotiate and talk to other New Zealand companies that went up there about integrating our applications together so that we get a more dynamic process - that’s a spin off I hadn’t even thought of prior to Tech Venture.”

New Zealand’s Deep Video Imaging was one of the most popular exhibits at the event.

Chairman Keith Phillips says the company’s actualdepth„· monitors were described by one American venture capitalist as the “sexiest technology on show’, with the exhibit attracting more people than any other on show.

Mr Phillips says that Deep Video Imaging made a lot of good contacts at Tech Venture, but says the recent terrorist attacks on the USA did have an impact. “A lot of the American venture capitalists weren’t there, and while there was still a lot of money about, it’s cautious money given the international circumstances.”

Trade New Zealand’s Senior Trade Commissioner for South East Asia John Nicholson says while the reduced US attendance was noticeable, most of the Kiwi companies were looking for Asian partners and investors.

He says the large Kiwi presence at Tech Venture and the associated seminars breakfasts and one-on-one meetings that Trade New Zealand organised went a long way to building appreciation in the market of the high calibre, sophisticated technology products coming out of New Zealand.

“New Zealand’s profile was also boosted by the attendance of Associate Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Pete Hodgson at Tech Venture and by Trade New Zealand’s support for the companies - such Government support carries considerable weight in Asia," says Mr Nicholson.

Mr Hodgson said New Zealand and Singapore were natural partners.

"New Zealand's innovative capacity is well recognised and well respected in Singapore," Mr Hodgson said. "Singapore's proximity to the huge Asian market and the ability of Singaporean businesses to operate in that market make for valuable partnerships with New Zealand business."

The mission to Tech Venture and the associated programme are part of a long term strategy by Trade New Zealand and Investment New Zealand to position New Zealand as a high-tech-savvy country and a logical provider for Singapore’s technology hub.

Investment New Zealand's Nick Arathimos says it is important to leverage off the momentum created at Tech Venture. A number of venture capitalists were keenly interested in the companies that attended and want to know more about New Zealand opportunities.

"Some very specific conversations are underway. Many Singapore-based venture capitalists represent interests in the US as well as Europe. One VC has already committed to visit here this year to meet more companies and local venture capitalists. Investment New Zealand will facilitate his trip and make introductions," says Mr Arathimos.

Future initiatives could include a virtual office in Singapore, which will give the technology companies a local presence, critically important to developing that market, and a New Zealand industry presence at a technology park.

"Singapore is a good platform to the rest of Asia and beyond. Our relationship with Singapore's Economic Development Board means we can offer help with finding a cost-effective location to "springboard" North," says Mr Arathimos.


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