Grant Dalton embarks on fundraising swing

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 05:00 05/11/2013
Cup
SPARE CHANGE? Grant Dalton has a foot in the door with Team New Zealand's sponsors moving forward.

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Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton is encouraged by initial responses from his syndicate's major sponsors as he sets off on a fundraising drive to launch another America's Cup challenge.

Dalton heads to Europe and the United States next week for meetings that will be crucial to the future of the syndicate and another tilt at the Auld Mug.

It appears the massive exposure Team New Zealand got in their enthralling tussle with cup holders Oracle and the subsequent outpourings of goodwill, haven't been lost on the companies that have been major backers.

Dalton says his energy levels are ramping up and he has been busy organising his overseas trip.

Contact with established sponsors had produced positive responses. They have first rights over renewing deals and are Dalton's immediate targets.

"I've been getting great response offshore for meetings," Dalton said, delighted to be able to get a foot in the door again to push the Kiwi cause.

Before he leaves, Dalton intends meeting controversial internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom.

Dotcom cheekily said he would help fund another campaign in the immediate aftermath to the gut-wrenching loss to Oracle in San Francisco. He reiterated that last weekend, saying he was genuine about wanting to be involved, believing his company could offer valuable technology to enhance boat performance, as well as "a couple of million [dollars]" in funding.

Taking on Oracle's billionaire backer and technology guru Larry Ellison in an "intellectual challenge" clearly appeals to the larger than life German.

Dalton has cleared the meeting with the Government given the continued reliance on public money and John Key's tense relationship with Dotcom.

"We'll have a discussion and see where it goes," Dalton said of sitting around a table with Dotcom, emphasising a need for transparency through this process.

Clinging to a $5 million government grant to act as bridging finance to keep the syndicate alive until May, Dalton said the first positive effects of that handout were being felt.

The "critical" Team New Zealand design people were being locked in first and discussions were opening with the sailing crew.

The funding is to ensure key personnel are retained rather than poached by a growing number of rival syndicates who are keen on being involved in the next cup after seeing the success of the final in San Francisco.

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At this stage entries from Australia, Sweden, Italy and Britain all look likely to materialise and the pressure for design and sailing expertise is increasing.

- Fairfax Media

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