Triplejump in $1m leap
Government technology grants agency Callaghan Innovation has awarded $1 million to 14-person Auckland firm Triplejump.
Triplejump is six months away from a planned junior stock market listing and has some wealthy minority shareholders, including Sir Stephen Tindall, former Air New Zealand boss Ralph Norris and investment banker Rob Cameron.
The company was founded in Auckland in 2007 as a specialist, franchised insurance broker that helped small businesses insure themselves against the loss of key staff. The idea was to ensure businesses could carry on in the event, for example, that their owners fell sick or died.
It morphed into a software firm two years ago after recognising there was a broad international market for the software it had developed to help its franchisees' collect and analyse the information that insurers needed to assess their risks.
Chief executive Ian Black, who previously managed the New Zealand subsidiary of German software giant SAP, said Triplejump intended to float on a junior market in New Zealand by June and might also seek a secondary listing in Australia or Britain.
Although that would give Triplejump access to capital, Black said receiving a large grant now was useful as it "needed to keep everything rolling in the meantime".
The grant would help Triplejump build new features into its cloud-based software and sell to more overseas markets, he said.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce last week announced the creation of a new grants scheme, the Digital Technology High Impact Programme, which will grant $3m over the next three years to help cloud-software firms grow exports and expand overseas.
That programme is being jointly managed by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Callaghan Innovation, but the grant to Triplejump will come from Callaghan Innovation's separate, main research and development grant pool, a spokesman said.
Black said the market for insuring the key staff of small businesses was a hugely under-developed $650 billion global opportunity.
"Triplejump is creating significant interest among large overseas accounting firms and financial institutions that understand the needs of small and medium-sized businesses but have been frustrated in finding a . . . means of servicing that market," he said.
This story has been updated to show the company was founded in Auckland, not Timaru as previously reported.