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The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

ikeGPS edges closer to IPO with Christie news

ikeGPS managing director Glenn Milnes with the firm's new Spike device, which attaches to a smartphone.
ikeGPS managing director Glenn Milnes with the firm's new Spike device, which attaches to a smartphone.

Wellington-based technology firm ikeGPS has secured a heavyweight chairman to lead its board in a likely sign that work towards a sharemarket listing is gathering steam.

Managing director Glenn Milnes said Rick Christie, who also chairs NZX-listed healthcare distributor Ebos Group, had extensive experience in a range of growth companies.

IkeGPS has developed a more than $10,000 device that is used by a range of businesses - including electricity utilities - to photograph, measure and GPS locate objects such as telegraph poles.

The company has launched a new product, called Spike, which attaches to a smartphone and offers similar technology to the main device but at the more affordable price of about $500. Tradespeople such as painters could use the device to measure buildings when giving quotes.

The company has been meeting fund managers to gauge interest in a sharemarket float and the listing is likely to take place in July, according to sources.

An iKeGPS spokesman declined to comment on the listing speculation.

Milnes told the Business Herald last month that the company was looking at "a whole range of growth financing options", but he wouldn't rule out an NZX-listing.

He said the company was looking to raise up to $40 million in expansion capital.

IkeGPS raised more than US$200,000 through crowdfunding website Kickstarter, which it used to fund Spike's development.

The company won a lucrative licensing deal with GE Digital Energy, a subsidiary of US conglomerate General Electric, which is marketing the measurement device under the GE brand.

"IkeGPS is in the transition from being development and partner focused to aggressively expanding and growing the business by building out the sales and marketing of GE MapSight and Spike around the world with the backing of globally recognised partners such as General Electric," Milnes said.

Christie also chairs NeSI, which provides high performance computers and support systems to New Zealand researchers, and the Science Media Centre.

He joins Bruce Harker, the current chairman of TrustPower, and Peter Britnell, the founder of GE Small World, as ikeGPS's third independent director.

IkeGPS was founded in 2003 by Leon Toorenburg, who got the idea for the technology while maintaining communications networks in Kenya.

Its shareholders include Jenny Morel's No8 Ventures, the government-backed New Zealand Venture Investment Fund and General Electric.

New Zealand Software firms Serko and Gentrack are gearing up to list on June 24 and 25, respectively.

The success of online accounting software developer Xero has encouraged many privately owned technology firms to look at listing.

Other technology companies on the listing radar include data warehousing provider Wherescape, healthcare software developer Orion Health, transport software firm Eroad and wireless charging company PowerbyProxi.

Read also:
Stock Takes: PowerbyProxi talks set scene for market listing
Stock Takes: Profit vs. growth in tech IPOs

- NZ Herald

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