Acting Business Editor for the NZ Herald

Software firm seeks $3 million from local backers

Paul Cameron, CEO and co-founder of Booktrack. Photo / APN
Paul Cameron, CEO and co-founder of Booktrack. Photo / APN

Kiwi software firm Booktrack, which is backed by Facebook billionaire Peter Thiel, is tapping local investors to raise up to $3 million.

Booktrack offers readers a "movie-like sound experience" by adding music and other ambient audio to novels or short stories being read on a computer or tablet device.

The company picked up honours at the NZ High Tech Awards last month and chief executive Paul Cameron said Booktrack was now focusing specifically on New Zealand for its latest round of capital raising. "From the outset we've been big on saying this is a New Zealand company," Cameron said.

"We want to drive a lot of the creation of our IP and of our audio creation from New Zealand and create jobs for New Zealanders.

"What we're doing is unique, it's got real New Zealand edge about it and so we would really like New Zealanders to get on this investment round now."

After tallying up more than 100,000 downloads for one of its titles this year, Cameron said the company was approaching the titans of the e-book world in an attempt to integrate its software with different e-reader platforms, such as Amazon's Kindle or Barnes & Noble's Nook.

"The next stage is how do we make [Booktrack] really, really big?

"The way you do that is you get strategic partnerships in place with the biggest e-book providers in the world and sell our content alongside [theirs]."

Cameron could not comment on what stage these discussions or negotiations were at, but did say "there was a high level of interest" from those in the marketplace.

Founded in August last year, the company is backed by tech heavyweights such as Thiel and Facebook's director of global creative solutions, Mark D'Arcy, as well as co-founder of the Hyperfactory Derek Handley.

Thiel is one of Booktrack's lead investors, while D'Arcy is a company director and Handley is its chairman.

The company has worked with authors such as Salman Rushdie and John Psathas is among its composers.

Despite having sales staff in overseas markets, Cameron said most of Booktrack's R&D was done from New Zealand.

- NZ Herald

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