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

Our regular roundup of recent deals done and/or did.

Tauranga-based technology incubator WNT Ventures has announced portfolio company Onesixone (SoundSwitch) has been acquired by American based company Denon DJ, a leading manufacturer of premium DJ products and solutions.   

The team behind Onesixone have developed an innovative software-hardware solution, SoundSwitch.  SoundSwitch enables DJs to seamlessly integrate DMX lighting with live audio, providing the ability to dynamically enhance the visual and lighting elements of their performances. 

Beppie Holm, Chair of Onesixone, reports that the acquisition, made through a New Zealand entity, will see Denon DJ retain Onesixone’s employees and the company’s existing base in Tauranga.  

“This is a great outcome for Onesixone and it is a significant achievement. It represents the first full realisation for both WNT’s first fund and the Callaghan Innovation Technology Incubator Programme”, says Carl Jones, CEO of WNT Ventures.  “Along with the retention of employees and base in Tauranga, Denon DJ will increase R&D spend and will attract more talent to the region, ensuring continued positive economic outcomes for the Bay of Plenty and New Zealand as a whole”. 

Denon DJ forms part of parent company, inMusic, alongside leading music industry brands such as Akai Professional, Numark and Rane. “We are excited to be a part of the Denon DJ team and look forward to working together to develop the next generation of technology," says Zak Meyers, CEO of Onesixone.

WNT Ventures’ first round of investment into Onesixone was in August 2015, and made two further investment rounds alongside investors such as Enterprise Angels, Angel HQ and NZVIF. Through WNT Ventures, Onesixone was also able to access a repayable loan from Callaghan Innovation as part of the Technology Incubator Programme.  

Elena Higgison, Startup Manager at Callaghan Innovation, says: “The Technology Incubator Programme was set up to support companies in their commercialisation of disruptive technologies, and this acquisition is a successful outcome for all involved. Not only will operations and R&D remain in New Zealand, the loan will be repaid in full and recycled back into the programme. The funds can then help more hi-tech Kiwi businesses to commercialise successfully and go global.” 

WNT Ventures recently announced their second fund of $4.4 million and are actively seeking to invest further into pre-revenue companies throughout New Zealand. 

China's Tencent Holdings, the world's largest online games company, has bought a controlling stake in West Auckland's Grinding Gear Games.

Founded in New Lynn in 2006, Grinding Gear moved to Titirangi in 2008. As reported by the New Zealand Herald, Grinding Gear Games managing director Chris Wilson said the deal means the company could expand within the next year from about 114 full-time employees to more than 130.

Grinding Gear is perhaps best known for its online game Path of Exile. More than two million people are estimated to play the game monthly.

A Kiwi creative director was part of the team that just won the world’s first Sports Emmy ever won by an eSport.

Robin Rawstorne was one of the lead creatives for League of Legends’ World Final Opening Ceremony, hosted in Beijing’s National Stadium (the "‘Bird's Nest") in November.

This is the first time that an eSport has ever won a Sports Emmy. The Emmy was for Outstanding Live Graphic Design - for an augmented reality dragon which flew around stadium during the broadcast. Rawstorne and his team have worked closely with Riot Games on several opening ceremonies around China and Europe over the last couple of years.

Rawstorne was the design director for the 2011 Rugby World Cup Opening Ceremony at Eden Park, which was the start of his studio’s journey in opening ceremonies and large-scale live events around the world. The team at Rawstorne Studio have been working in China since 2013

Moss Patterson, artistic director of Auckland’s Atamira Dance Company was also the choreographer for the ceremony.

This is the first time an eSport (rather than a ‘traditional sport’) has won such an Emmy - up against sporting giants like ESPN and the NBA.


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