2016 New Zealand Innovation Awards Emerging New Zealand Innovator: Auror

The winner of the Emerging New Zealand Innovator of the Year is... Auror!

It’s every business owner’s worst nightmare: getting your products stolen from you – and not getting them back or be compensated for their theft.

And it’s not an unfounded fear, either. Theft costs New Zealand businesses about $2 million per day, but since most thefts are of low value items, they go unreported due to the cost and labour required to report and follow up with police.

Kevin Ptak and the team at Auror know this, which is why they’ve developed a software platform that allows police and businesses to share information about crime and to work together to identify offenders. “Crime is clearly a global problem,” explains Ptak, Auror’s marketing and communications lead. “Retail crime alone accounts for about $100 billion globally per year.”

Auror’s easy-to-use software helps streamline the crime reporting process to reduce response times and increase the likelihood that offenders are caught. Once incidents are uploaded, Auror’s software is abl to 'connect the dots', linking offenders and vehicles, tracking theft trends, generating reports on theft activity, and allows interactivity between different users. The software also has tools, including automatic Number Plate Recognition, to alert police when offenders are spotted.

Although the way Auror works sounds an awful lot like Batman working in the background to reduce crime in Gotham City, unlike the Caped Crusader, it hasn’t been met with skepticism at all from law enforcement. Auror has already entered into a nationwide partnership with New Zealand Police to have its software available nationwide, after it was first tested with Canterbury and Counties Manukau Police.

Police deputy commissioner of operations Mike Clement certainly has good things to say about Auror. “We have seen significant time savings in the incidents we process from retailers,” he says. “On top of this, we have access to actionable intelligence on high-volume crime, enabling retailers and Police to better prevent crime.”

And there’s evidence that the technology works. In one incident, Auror and Counties Manukau Police were able to identify an offender linked to more than 44 incidents worth more than $25,000 in total across 18 different shops. The man had more than 20 associates and seven vehicles associated with him.

Auror has also made inroads into the Australian market, with more than 150 petrol stations signing up since May, including BP and Caltex in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

“We believe a collaborative partnership between industry and police needs to be underpinned by fast, accurate, and powerful information,” explains Auror head of product Tom Batterbury. “We’re transforming how police and businesses work together to prevent and solve crime in real-time, and remain committed to providing the best crime prevention platform in the world.”

Then there’s the accolades. In August, Auror won a competition organised by SaaStr, the largest community of Software as a Service (SaaS) founders and entrepreneurs, to attend their annual conference in San Francisco in February 2017. Startups from around the world submitted 90-second videos about why their company should receive $5,000 in travel expenses, four tickets and VIP access to the conference. Auror beat out 20 other competitors from five continents to win the competition.

The win, Ptak says, is somewhat similar to how the company first got going. “It’s as homebrew, New Zealand No. 8 wire as you can get.”

EVALUATOR'S COMMENTS

It’s a very compelling story, with a simple solution to an age-old problem. Clear time and labour savings make this crime combating solution an easy sell to retailers.

This story first ran in Idealog 63.