Business Editor for the NZ Herald

Microsoft plucks Kiwi startup from the cloud

Greenbutton boasts a customer list including Nasa, Pixar and Boeing. Photo / AP
Greenbutton boasts a customer list including Nasa, Pixar and Boeing. Photo / AP

Microsoft buying Wellington cloud-computing firm GreenButton is "good for New Zealand" and gave a healthy return to local backers, says the Crown-owned fund which invested in the startup.

GreenButton was launched in 2006 and serves customers such as Pixar, Nasa and Boeing.

The company's technology allows users to run intensive applications in the cloud without the need for their own infrastructure.

GreenButton - which recorded revenue growth of 933.38 per cent in 2013 - had previously worked closely with Microsoft and said today it had been bought by the US-headquartered behemoth.

The price of the deal was not disclosed but GreenButton founder and chief executive Scott Houston said the company's 18 workers now had jobs with Microsoft.

"Nothing is changing from our perspective. The good news is that we're really at the heart of the innovation of what we believe will be a major global cloud provider ... Microsoft have recognised the innovation, the passion of the team and they don't want to change that."

Microsoft NZ's director of marketing and operations, Frazer Scott, said the intention was to keep GreenButton's team operating out of New Zealand.

Scott said he was not aware of Microsoft buying another Kiwi startup in the past decade, which made the deal exciting.

Houston said he was committed to stay on at GreenButton, which he called "his baby", until the end of the year.

GreenButton had received funding from NZ Trade & Enterprise and Callaghan Innovation.

The Government's New Zealand Venture Investment Fund had also invested.

Houston said the return from the purchase to NZVIF more than offset the Crown funding the company had received.

NZVIF chief executive Franceska Banga said the sale was "an excellent result for the GreenButton team and its investors".

"The sale - while the deal amount is confidential - has resulted in a very healthy return for the many New Zealand investors.

"When angel investors get cash back, they are generally well disposed to re-invest into the next generation of start-up companies entering the pipeline. So this not only an excellent outcome for New Zealand angel investors but also a good boost for our early stage capital markets."

- NZ Herald

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