Syl Semantics: Search for capital helps win the race against time

(From left) Syl Semantics chief executive Sean Wilson, chief technology officer Adrian John and chairman John Selby. Photo / Mark Mitchell
(From left) Syl Semantics chief executive Sean Wilson, chief technology officer Adrian John and chairman John Selby. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Everything you do is a marketing exercise, says Sean Wilson, chief executive of Syl Semantics.

Wilson is looking to raise between $500,000 and $1 million to fast track Syl's sales, development and intellectual property protection in the hot computer technology area of "search". But within a few months of deciding to raise some capital, Wilson and his team had surpassed their lower threshold and were going to close the round. But then a couple of other angel groups and the showcase found out the company was seeking outside capital and asked it to present.

Wilson was happy to oblige. "All presentations are good for us. As a result of things like this we've had other technology companies contact us about working with us and all sorts of people expressing interest in what we're doing, so the more people who know about us and understand us, the better."

To date, the company has been funded to the tune of more than $2 million by its founders, all of whom have more than 20 to 25 years of experience in technology and business development. It has taken Wilson and his team more than 2 years to build the company's clever search engine technology, which is aimed at large organisations and isn't limited by jargon, file size or company-specific acronyms.

This year the company announced the New Zealand police had adopted its system at the end of 2011. It reduced the average time of critical field-staff searches from 2.5 minutes to between three and five seconds.

Search is a hot area of development, with many organisations growing increasingly frustrated by the generic search engines' limitations as online data growth outstrips their abilities to cope. In the past year, 61 per cent of organisations say they have filed and subsequently lost data in their systems. "They simply can't find it again," says Wilson.

"We're at post-revenue stage, but the two things you are always racing against as an entrepreneur is time and capital. So if you can use some of your time to create more capital you can go faster."

Wilson wants to use the capital he raises in this round to boost Syl's overseas sales and marketing capability to drive penetration and thus growth and revenues quickly, before anyone else can challenge the company's technology. "We've just got to move as fast as we can to stay in front of that wave."

- NZ Herald

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