Guitar pedal maker Red Witch seeks new investor

JAZIAL CROSSLEY
Last updated 13:29 27/11/2012
Red Witch

SWEET SOUNDS: Guitar pedal maker Red Witch's revenue ballooned by almost 70 per cent in the last financial year.

Bono
FAMOUS FANS: Red Witch's analog pedals are used by stars including U2's Bono.

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Half of Kapiti Coast guitar pedal maker to the stars Red Witch is up for sale as the business has outgrown its start up investor.

The analog pedals that musician Ben Fulton created in his Paekakariki garage a decade ago are used by U2's Bono and The Edge, John Mayer and Andy Summers from The Police.

Red Witch's revenue ballooned by almost 70 per cent in the last financial year. At a factory in Taiwan, there were 7,500 of Fulton's pedals produced to be sold worldwide.

Investor Geoff Matthews is selling his 48 per cent stake in the firm as the business has moved beyond the start up phase.

''It requires expansion capital to sustain its growth trajectory,'' Matthews said, adding that one local party had expressed interest but he believed it was likely to sell to someone overseas.

''I believe the obvious exit strategy is a trade sale to a larger musical instrument company. Often these larger companies can't extend their brands into the high-end premium market and need to acquire a premium brand to have a presence."

Red Witch's sexy marketing has won several awards including two 2012 TVNZ NZ Marketing Awards and Best Emerging Business Award at the 2010 New Zealand Marketing Awards.

Its Seven Sisters range of pedals each feature a racy drawing of a different female character named to reflect the audio qualities the pedals produce.

The Scarlett overdrive pedal is referred to as the passionate redhead. ''She delivers smooth creamy break up with delicious front end clarity. When you need an uncluttered, concise overdrive, come and knock on Scarlett's door,'' the marketing material states.

Matthews also has an investment in Mt Cook Alpine Salmon which is undergoing a $20 million expansion. He said watching Red Witch grow had been rewarding.

"Red Witch started as one guy in his garage building something that was the best in the world, and all it required to flourish was some capital and good business disciplines, as well as some drive and vision.''

Contact Jazial Crossley
Wellington business reporter
Email: jazial.crossley@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @msbananapeel

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- The Dominion Post

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