Christopher Adams

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

US tech company buys NZ software developer

Chris Mackay, chief executive of Optima. Photo / Dean Purcell
Chris Mackay, chief executive of Optima. Photo / Dean Purcell

New Zealand software developer Optima has been sold to a United States technology firm for an undisclosed sum.

The Auckland-based company provides systems that can inform emergency service providers, such as ambulance operators, where they need to place vehicles and how many paramedics they need to service different parts of a city.

Chief executive Chris Mackay said the acquisition by Florida's Intermedix was completed last weekend.

Optima initially approached the US firm, which provides software used by healthcare professionals, for investment and those talks eventually resulted in a full buy-out, he said. "It very quickly became a full acquisition discussion."

Optima's software analyses variables, such as traffic, weather and road quality to work out where vehicles need to be to meet emergency response times in different suburbs or communities.

Mackay said the acquisition would give the New Zealand firm access to "a wider market than what we have today", especially in the US.

"Intermedix, the acquirer, has the relationships with all the customers we are targeting right now," he said. "It gives us easy entry to the EMS market - EMS meaning ambulance, fire and potentially police."

Optima employs 25 staff at its Auckland headquarters. Another five are employed in the firm's offices in the US and Europe.

Mackay said there wasn't any risk of Intermedix closing down Optima's operations in this country.

In fact, the US company wanted to invest in up to five additional New Zealand-based staff members, he said.

Before the acquisition, Optima's shareholders included Mackay and the company's four founders - David Ryan, Paul Day, Jeff Meyer and Andrew Mason - as well as Sir Stephen Tindall's K1W1 fund and the Ice Angels investment group.

Optima was founded in 1998 by students and staff at the University of Auckland's engineering faculty.

- NZ Herald

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