Christopher Adams

Christopher Adams is the Markets and Banking reporter for the New Zealand Herald

CricHQ pushing into India with new BlackBerry deal

Kiwi sport software developer signs content deal with mobile phone-maker Blackberry.

Chief executive Simon Baker says there is potential for CricHQ to list on a sharemarket within 12 months. Photo / APN
Chief executive Simon Baker says there is potential for CricHQ to list on a sharemarket within 12 months. Photo / APN

New Zealand sport software developer CricHQ doesn't consider BlackBerry a has-been of the technology world.

The Wellington-based company, whose online system allows cricket scores and statistics to be displayed live on smartphones, has sealed a deal with the Canadian mobile phone maker that will see its content become accessible on BlackBerry's new BBM Channel messaging service.

CricHQ chief executive Simon Baker said millions of people around the world used the service.

"It means people don't have to use texting, which costs people from a telco point of view," he said. "It's a direct, BlackBerry-specific messaging platform, which is free."

While the mobile phone firm's sales have declined as a result of competition from Samsung and Apple smartphones, Baker said BlackBerry remained strong in cricket-mad India, particularly among businesspeople.

"And while we're focusing on the Indian part of it, around the IPL [Indian Premier League], a large part of our business is in Africa and BBM is the dominant messaging service in Africa as well."

Krishnadeep Baruah, of BBM, said the messaging service provided an effective platform for companies like CricHQ to connect with fans and establish communities.

"We expect cricket fans will be highly engaged on the channel, discussing and sharing their thoughts with others in the community," Baruah said.

CricHQ, which has 125,000 active monthly users and claims to have the world's biggest collection of cricket data, has raised $8 million from private investors - including former Black Caps captain Stephen Fleming and current captain Brendon McCullum - since it was established in 2010.

The company is gearing up to raise another $6 million over the next couple of months to fund a marketing push in India.

"We've got a good opportunity to expand into India," Baker said. "It's a massive, massive market and we want to do it properly and we want to do it fully resourced."

The company has been providing its content free of charge but plans to begin charging for its service this year.

Baker said CricHQ intended to charge Indian users about $1 a month, while fans in richer, Western countries would be charged a monthly fee of around $8.

"We'll need to test the market," he said. "We'll probably test it in New Zealand and India."

Baker said there was potential for CricHQ to list on a sharemarket within the next 12 months.

If the company does float, the listing was likely to take place on the NZX, he said.

"That would be our preference. With the likes of Stephen Fleming and Brendon McCullum involved, we've got a pretty strong Kiwi flavour to the business."

CricHQ has received $2.5 million in Government research and development funding, which it has matched with its own funds.

The company employs almost 100 staff globally, including 25 in New Zealand.

CricHQ also provides a cloud-based administration platform that is used by cricketing bodies.

CricHQ

• 125,000 active monthly users.
• Claims world's biggest collection of cricket data.
• $8 million raised from private investors.
• Gearing up to raise another $6 million to fund push into India.

- NZ Herald

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