Hi-Tech award winner Straker Translations to list this year
Technology company Straker Translations plans to float on the NZX's new NXT exchange before the end of the year.
Founder and chief executive Grant Straker said it would raise between $5 million and $20m through the initial public offering (IPO) and a separate funding round now under way under which it is seeking money from private investors.
The Auckland company operates an online marketplace matching translators to translation jobs and won the Grow Wellington "innovative service product award" at the Hi-Tech awards on Friday.
Grant Straker grew up in West Auckland and later served in the British Army's paratroop regiment.
He said Straker Translations had appointed Christchurch-based investment bank Northington Partners as its adviser for the float and the pre-IPO funding round.
Straker has roughly doubled its staff and revenues over the past two years. It employs 48 people and turned over $8m last year, almost half of which was generated from clients in the United States.
Grant Straker, who celebrated his Maori heritage during a spirited acceptance speech at the Hi-Tech awards, said he planned to sell a small amount of shares through the float to pay off his mortgage.
But the main purpose of the IPO would be to raise growth capital rather than to provide an exit for shareholders, he said.
The NXT exchange, which has yet to launch, is intended to cater for smaller, high-growth businesses.
Translation was a $40 billion global industry and Straker's online marketplace was making a mark by increasing the speed at which clients could get jobs done, he said.
Straker uses software to match jobs to the 5000 regular translators on its books. As all translations were carried out on its platform, rather than download and emailed, it could monitor their quality and speed, he said.
"That allows us to leverage their individual skills, machine translations and 'big data'. We thought it was all about cost but what we have found is the biggest driver for clients is speed, he said.