Christopher Adams

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

Lateral still keen to list

The Auckland company has provided paid text voting systems for local television shows including New Zealand's Got Talent.
The Auckland company has provided paid text voting systems for local television shows including New Zealand's Got Talent.

Mobile technology developer Lateral Corporation isn't letting a downturn in investor appetite for high-growth technology companies slow its plan to list on the NZAX alternative market.

The Auckland company, which has provided paid text voting systems for local television shows including New Zealand's Got Talent, is targeting a compliance listing followed by a $1.5 million capital-raising from "qualifying investors" - wealthy individuals with investment experience rather than the public.

The company, which employs 13 staff, is waiting to be allocated a listing date by exchange operator NZX.

Lateral said the new capital would be used to finance its growth ambitions in markets such as Australia, Britain and the United States.

The company has developed mobile applications including the anonymous social network OZChat and the Qikflirt dating service which operate on smartphones.

Lateral makes money through subscriptions, and users pay for the services through direct carrier billing - charging to phone bills - instead of credit cards.

OZChat has been sold via telecommunications providers Vodafone, Telecom, Optus, Telstra, Bell Canada and several other networks.

Lateral chairman Dene Biddlecombe said that in today's market conditions - tech stocks have plunged sharply this year as investor appetite for high-growth companies with big promises of future profit has slumped - it made sense to raise money from eligible investors rather than the public.

The company would "get some runs on the board" before raising additional capital through a share purchase plan with existing investors.

He declined to disclose financial figures but said the company was close to breaking even and he hoped it would be profitable within the next 12 months.

Chief executive Roger Grice said OZChat and Qikflirt had advantages over free services such as Facebook and the popular dating app Tinder, and users were prepared to pay for Lateral's products.

Co-founders Grice and Bob McAuley now own more than 60 per cent of Lateral.

- NZ Herald

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