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Done Deal: Recent fundings secured, contracts inked and deals did, for the tl;dr crowd

Tuatara Brewing Company has been sold to DB Breweries.

Although under new ownership, Tuatara will continue to produce its craft beer from its current premises located on the Kapiti Coast and at pilot brewery The Third Eye in Wellington.

Tuatara founder and master brewer Carl Vasta says he continues to be passionate about the New Zealand craft beer industry and is committed to being part of Tuatara and its future growth.

“We’re changing the shareholding, we’re not changing the recipe,” he says. “Brewing beer and talking about beer is my passion. With the support of my family, we have been able to grow Tuatara into a successful business. In order to take things to the next level we need assistance. That’s why we’ve teamed up with DB. Now, I intend to get back to the brewing and step out of the business end.”

Andy Routley, managing director of DB Breweries , says the acquisition makes perfect sense for DB. “Craft beer is an exciting segment of the Kiwi beer market,” he says. “Tuatara is the champion of Kiwi craft breweries. We are excited by Tuatara for three reasons. Firstly, Carl and his team are passionate about making great beer and their customers are equally passionate about enjoying it. Secondly, they have a focus on quality and innovation. And thirdly, we believe that the beers they produce have all the characteristics for their continued success in the wider local and global marketplace. We want to see Tuatara achieve its full potential, so we’re not going to mess with a winning formula.”

One of New Zealand’s largest craft breweries, Tuatara have been in operation since 2000. DB Breweries is one of New Zealand’s leading brewers and cider makers.

New Zealand based ad-tech company Postr has attracted $3 million from investors to expand into telecommunications markets in Australia and Southeast Asia.

Postr builds telecom branded white-label apps, which let people hire out their Android lock screens for advertising in return for mobile data or airtime from major mobile carriers. It has recently launched Optus Xtra with Australian telecom giant Optus, and will soon launch telecom-branded apps in major South East Asian markets.

The investment was lead by a group of private investors in. Other investors include Gunung Sewu Group from Indonesia, K1W1, NZVIF (New Zealand Venture Investment Fund), individuals from Singapore and New Zealand, and senior leadership from PayPal in the US.

“We are delighted to welcome a few new names and well aligned groups and individuals to our small shareholder base,” says Milan Reinartz, the company’s founder and CEO. “The investors involved have deep knowledge, an applied understanding of the industries we play in and high expectations of the team. It was important for us to find the right investors and to build a board that has an understanding of the telecommunications and advertising industries – people who are in a position to provide the right governance to help myself and our exec team achieve our goals in 2017 and beyond.”

Postr was founded in 2014, and first created a B2C app by the same name and then teamed up with Skinny Mobile in New Zealand last year to create its first white-label app, Skinny Collect. Collectively these apps have generated over 60,000 downloads since their inceptions.

In a letter to investors, Auckland-based AFT Pharmaceuticals founder and CEO Hartley Atkinson said sales for the 2017 financial year are expected to increase to 74 million tablets, a 339 percent increase on the prior year. Much of the growth is being driven by the company’s Maxigesic product, he said, adding it is currently licensed in 111 countries.

“Additional licensing agreements in markets of significant size, for example the United States, are aimed to be negotiated in the next 12 months pending successful progress of regulatory applications through the US Food and Drug Administration,” he wrote. “Larger markets will also generate more significant upfront licensing payments and subsequent milestones in addition to greater sales. “

But Atkinson also predicts the company’s recent financial losses could continue. “We continue to target break-even within the FY2018/2019 financial years,” he wrote. “However, the current losses are also necessary in order to rapidly advance both development of Key Innovative Products and Australian OTC product launches in a timely manner.”

A Kiwi-made app is getting global attention after securing a strategic partnership with technology giant Bosch to bring email into cars. Bosch featuring Speaking Email as part of their stand at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas from January 5-8. Speaking Email is an app that reads emails aloud so people can safely check their email while driving.

Bosch is incorporating Speaking Email into their mySPIN platform, which enables drivers to use authorised apps on their iPhone or Android smartphone via a touchscreen integrated into cars and motorbikes. “We are very happy that Speaking Email joined the mySPIN eco-system and are convinced that their existing solution will add further value to our customer’s offering to drivers” says Kay Herget, global head of marketing at Bosch Softtec, Bosch’s business unit that develops mySPIN.

CES showcases the latest in innovative devices, gadgets, software and services and draws vast crowds. Last year 175,000 people attended the show.

Speaking Email was developed by small Auckland web development company beweb, after director Mike Nelson got frustrated with the lack of such a product on the market. Speaking Email differs from other alternatives in that it enables users to focus on important email content by avoiding reading out clutter - including signatures, disclaimers, reply chains and junk mail.

A premium version features the ability to archive, flag, trash or even reply on the move. Recently released features include voice selection and multilingual mode which detects emails written in other languages and reads them with native pronunciation. Speaking Email can be downloaded free from the App Store or Google Play and works with all email platforms.

Kevin Roberts has been appointed chair of sports tech company CricHQ.

Headquartered in Wellington, CricHQ is a digital platform for sport which combines competition management and administration software with live scoring and statistics for cricket clubs.

Roberts is the former Saatchi & Saatchi chair and CEO. Serving in that role from 1997 until December 2016.

Wanaka-based Dream Doors, which last year turned over $18 million throughout Australasia, says they expect to open 100 US franchises within the next five years, which will lift their annual revenue to over $150 million.

CEO Derek Lilly says they have spent recent years researching the North American market and refining their business model, which allows customers to reuse existing plumbing and joinery infrastructure when renovating. Lilly says this method of construction offers greater efficiency, reduces waste and cost, and shortens average installation time from around a week to one day.

He says the company’s rapid growth of 1,200 percent in five years has led to the in-house development of a cloud based franchise management system. “The off-the-shelf franchise software we looked at originally did not have the feature set we needed, and was primarily focused on aggregating financials,” he says. “Our ideal system was one that could also integrate continuous feedback from our customers and so we built our own bespoke cloud based system from the ground up. This has been a critical part of managing our growth as it allowed us to capture our IP and disseminate knowledge to our extended team, at the same time measuring their business performance in real time.”

Lilly says since entering the Australian market, the company has secured 22 franchises in 18 months. He says the company’s innovative approach and trans-Tasman expansion was recently recognised with the business securing the Export Award at the New Zealand Franchise Awards.

“Understanding the psychology which underpins the connection we have with our homes has been a key part of our success so far. While we seeing a global trend towards people eating out of home, a renovation of the kitchen in particular tends to elicit an emotional response and brings them back to cooking for themselves.”

Fintech alternative lender Spotcap has come to New Zealand. The company officially opened its Auckland office on Tuesday. The company plans to shake up the commercial lending space and help lead New Zealand’s innovative, growing fintech community. With Spotcap primarily lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), they stand to be the biggest beneficiaries of this expansion. The company claims there are more than 400,000 SMEs in New Zealand, with many of those have likely had difficulty accessing finance to help grow their businesses. The company also says that, with its favourable regulatory framework, New Zealand is on the front foot, boasting a 1,117 percent year-on-year growth rate for alternative finance funding, making it  one of the fastest growing markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

Wellington brewery Garage Project, has announced the next step in their plan to remain relentlessly experimental and independent. To help free up Aro Street in Wellington where the company’s main oeprations are, Garage Project will also be brewing select beers in a brand-new state of the art brewery called bStudio, which is being built in the Hawkes Bay.

This brewery will be home to brewing equipment that Garage Project itself specified as they worked closely with the two founders, Simon Gilbertson and Rob Godwin, to plan the facility from the ground up.

Garage co-founder Jos Ruffell says this is the ideal situation for Garage Project. “We never set out to be owners of the most stainless steel, so this is perfect for us. bStudio is built entirely to our specifications, with the very best equipment. It will be an incredible facility for the entire industry. And it means we get to play more often in our Aro Street homes, and remain independent.”

bStudio co-founder, Simon Gilbertson said he was delighted to have Garage Project as their foundation brewers. “We approached them before we started to seek their advice on what we should do, and what equipment we should invest in. They have turned into foundation partners and we are very excited to help brew their wonderful beers”.

Garage Project has already taken their famous 50 litre brew kit to bStudio and brewed the very first beer on site. It will be released locally. And they expect to be brewing select beers at bStudio properly from April with the bulk of production to remain in Wellington at their Aro Valley and Marion Street locations.

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