Red Witch seeks new investor as Matthews bows out

Red Witch seeks new investor as Matthews bows out
Entrepreneur Geoff Matthews' stake in award-winning Kiwi guitar pedal maker Red Witch is up for sale after a boom year for the boutique company.

Entrepreneur Geoff Matthews' stake in award-winning Kiwi guitar pedal maker Red Witch is up for sale after a boom year for the boutique company.

PHOTO: Hamish Trounson

Red Witch was literally born in guitarist Ben Fulton’s Paekakariki garage, and Matthews was intrigued by what Fulton had built up from scratch.

Fulton learned to make pedals the old school way, from off-the-shelf hardware, producing the retro sounds musos strive for with modern, innovative methods. Red Witch pedals have been used by The Police, U2, John Mayer, and a host of other big-name musicians, thanks to Fulton's chutzpah. Early on, he called up TrueTone in Los Angeles – shop to the stars – and then sent over a sample, quickly winning over the owner.

“It’s a combination of classic sounds, plus some innovations that you can’t get anywhere else … some sounds that are unique and specific to our products and our products only,” he told Idealog in 2009.

Investor Matthews, however, is selling up as Red Witch moves beyond the startup phase, and believes it's likely to sell to an overseas party.

According to Fairfax, he said Red Witch required more capital to sustain its growth trajectory.

Red Witch has expanded at a phenomenal 365 percent over four years, and recently added to its premium range with a more entry-level offering in the form of the Seven Sisters line – the world’s first rechargeable guitar pedals, each with a female name (Grace, Ruby, Ivy, Scarlet, Eve, Iris, and Amelia) and a saucy story to accompany.  This year, it won both the Transformational and Technology categories at the Marketing Awards for its efforts.

A host of international artists have voluntarily endorsed the Seven Sisters and leading guitar magazines rank them up there with the best in the world. As the editor of Premier Guitar magazine said: “The Seven Sisters are a pioneering innovation, and founder Ben Fulton deserves a Boy Scout medal for the work he’s done.”

As a result, Red Witch turnover was up 67 percent this year compared and, as a result of reaching business targets, the company has raised another $600,000 in new equity from investors.