Taken over by the US - and happy

Adam Clark is pleased he sold out. Photo / Supplied
Adam Clark is pleased he sold out. Photo / Supplied

New Zealanders' fears about selling companies' assets to foreigners are unfounded, says the founder of M-Com, a mobile-banking start-up that was bought by US financial services technology company Fiserv in March last year.

Adam Clark said the move had enabled the company to increase its workforce in New Zealand, and the expertise and backing of the much bigger US company had brought positive benefits for the industry and the country.

"If everything shut down and was taken offshore it would not be a good outcome. But we have grown our staff [in New Zealand] by more than 100 per cent. It creates huge opportunities for spin-offs for New Zealand."

The Auckland office is now 200-strong, from 100 staff at the time of acquisition.

Recruitment efforts continue.

Clark said every goal set at the time of the acquisition had been achieved.

The company had increased its client base from 300 financial institutions this time last year to 800, including US Bank.

"We are the fastest-growing part of Fiserv."

Its software enables bank customers to check their balances, transfer money and pay bills using their mobile phones.

Clark said the acquisition was not the only course of action available to M-Com at the time, but it was a logical one. "New Zealand is a very small market," Clark said. "Many of our banks have more customers than there are people in New Zealand.

"In New Zealand, either you become a generalist or you seek bigger markets. We sought to be the best in the world at providing mobile financial services. The US was the obvious market and Fiserv the obvious partner."

He said the Auckland office provided most of the intellectual property work for relevant Fiserv products - and the size of Fiserv enabled it to provide everything else that was necessary for success.

"Fiserv brings the maturity of process and governance you might not have in a smaller organisation - and capital."

Clark said he had become used to people saying that anyone who sold a company was a "greedy entrepreneur, selling New Zealand down the road".

But without Fiserv, M-Com would not have been generating the export dollars or employment opportunities it was in New Zealand.

- Herald on Sunday

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