Two Christchurch software entrepreneurs have caught the eye of US investors after a week-long sojourn to Silicon Valley.
Appsecute's Mark Cox and Tyler Power have spent the past year building tools for an emerging area of cloud computing, known as platform as a service, that they hope will get more traction with big companies.
After dealing with overseas developers on Skype, the pair headed to California last month to see if there was a market for their product. They have returned buzzing about Appsecute's prospects after securing funding and getting support from the industry.
"It was really fast-paced. The people over there, the people in San Francisco, in Silicon Valley, are our sort of people, they get what we're doing. It's tremendous," Cox said.
"We were over there for a week and in five days we'd progressed our business by about three months," he said.
The 40-year-old could not disclose how much the investment was worth, but said it came from a vice-president at a Silicon Valley company.
"The investment will work towards us opening an office in San Francisco, it will get us through to the next stage where we need to raise a substantial amount more money than we have so far and expand," Cox said.
As well as getting financial backing, Cox said a lot of industry players approached them wanting to lend a hand, including from a "very high-profile Silicon Valley executive".
"I don't want to give names ... I was out, he was sitting beside me and he just kind of lent over and said 'I'd like to help you out, I've done this kind of thing before and I think I can help you' ... a lot of that sort of stuff happened," he said.
"We managed to get quite far with not a huge budget. If you look at a company like Xero, they were the first generation of cloud out of New Zealand and they had to spend quite a lot on marketing to become known. But it seems to be possible now through social media and the right introductions to get noticed in Silicon Valley."
Cox formed Appsecute with Power after the pair worked together at Jade Software. Although there was some risk to giving up full-time work, Cox said he felt compelled to move with the venture, particularly once it got some attention: "It's exciting to see people blogging and tweeting about how much [they] love what we're doing and seeing the growing momentum."
- Silicon Valley has become synonymous with the technology scene in the United States and is home to the headquarters of giants such as Google and Facebook.
Sprawling across the Santa Clara Valley, Palo Alto, San Jose and other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, the technology hotspot earned its name from the silicon-chip makers that set up shop there.
iPhone maker Apple is also based in the valley and is looking to build a four-storey, 260,000sq m R&D hub.
While it's often conflated with the city of San Francisco, the traditional heart of Silicon Valley is closer to San Jose to the south. However, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year this was beginning to change, and tech firms were gravitating further north towards San Francisco.
According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report from 2010, the area makes up around 30 per cent of all venture capital investment in the United States.
As well as being the base of software and hardware giants, the region also hosts offices of social networking firms such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
Up until the 1960s it was known as the Valley of Heart's Delight because of its orchards and was believed to be the largest fruit packing area in the world.