Morgan invests in Chch software provider

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 08:56 31/01/2013
sam morgan
SLI SYSTEMS INVESTOR: Sam Morgan.

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Trade Me founder Sam Morgan has invested $1 million in new equity in Christchurch-based software provider SLI Systems.

SLI co-founder and chief executive Shaun Ryan said the equity would be used to boost employee numbers and growth for the company, which provided search and navigation services for websites, particularly in the retail sector.

He met Morgan at a Morgo Conferences entrepreneurship event in Queenstown in September and talked about opportunities.

The equity transaction was agreed late last month.

SLI provides site search technology for a growing number of e-commerce sites around the world, improving the e-commerce experience and increasing online conversion rates and sales.

"We're probably doing around $17 million of recurring revenue across all of our customers, " Ryan said.

The company runs search functions for about 600 e-commerce sites around the world.

Morgan said the potential for growth in global online sales made SLI Systems an exciting investment.

"Online sales are such an important segment for all retailers now, and SLI simply helps customers find things and buy them more easily," he said.

Since selling Trade Me, Morgan has been involved in a number of other investments, including sharemarket darling Xero, though he has sold down some of his initial stake in that company.

The NBR Rich List 2012 estimates Morgan's worth at $315m. He sold his stake in Trade Me for about $227m in 2006.

Ryan said Morgan's investment fitted with the company's expansive growth vision.

SLI was founded in 2001.

"We are currently looking at a number of interesting growth opportunities," said Ryan.

"New regions for SLI, such as South America and Asia, as well as our existing markets, offer exciting possibilities."

About 95 per cent of SLI's clients were based outside New Zealand.

They included Boden in Britain, and Jelly Belly, Ulta and Hard Rock Cafe in the United States.

Ryan said SLI Systems had about 20 investors, including friends and family, as well as venture capital group Pioneer Capital, which had built a stake to nearly 20 per cent.

GLOBAL REACH

SLI's New Zealand main office is in Christchurch with offices in the United States, Britain and Australia.

SLI has averaged almost 30 per cent growth year on year for the past five years.

About two-thirds of SLI's revenue is from the United States. The rest is from Britain, Australasia and South America.

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SLI has 107 staff, half of whom are based in Christchurch.

Domestic customers include Noel Leeming, The Warehouse and Mitre 10.

International retail customers include Interflora, B&Q, Harrods and Hot Topic.

- The Press

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