Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Entrepreneur hopes start-up will lead the way

Start-up business focused on smartphone and tablet computer advertising markets.

Derek Handley says Snakk is looking to target India and Australia. Photo / Paul Estcourt
Derek Handley says Snakk is looking to target India and Australia. Photo / Paul Estcourt

Kiwi tech entrepreneur Derek Handley hopes his latest start-up will become a blueprint for companies looking to raise up to $5 million of capital.

Handley's firm Snakk Media, which helps companies get their advertising in front of smartphone and tablet computer users, yesterday said it planned to list on New Zealand's alternative market.

Snakk is taking advantage of the rapid rise in the use of mobile devices and more than tripled its operating revenue to $1.99 million in the year to March 31.

The media start-up is Handley's second foray into the mobile space.

The 34-year-old's first effort, mobile marketing company The Hyperfactory, was scooped up by US-based Meredith Corp in 2010 for a sum thought to be over US$20 million ($24.5 million).

The former Selwyn College student said listing on the NZAX would help Snakk raise capital quickly when needed.

Given the rise of angel investment groups such as Ice Angels, Handley said it was relatively easy for a New Zealand start-up to raise $1 million if it had some early success.

"But when you get beyond $1 million or $2 million it's very, very hard," Handley said.

"I think if Snakk works it should prove that gap - the $2 million to $5 million gap - can be filled if you can efficiently, cost-effectively do an [NZ]AX listing.

Handley said the start-up would also look to acquire other small firms in the mobile advertising space.

While Snakk intends to launch on the local stock exchange in the coming months, its growth has predominantly come across the Tasman where most of its 17 staff are based.

The company is not particularly focused on New Zealand, where the mobile advertising market is estimated to grow to $2.5 million by the end of this year.

Handley said Snakk is looking to target Australia and India where mobile advertising is forecast to be worth more than $100 million annually within the next three to five years.

- NZ Herald

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