Genetic research breakthroughs are being boosted by New Zealand biological research software company Biomatters.

The company's core product, Geneious, is sold online and supports genetic researchers from the planning and experimentation stages through to data analysis and research publication.

"When you hear of world-renowned researchers and some of the quotes they give us - that it just revolutionised the way their research is done - the thought of a little company in New Zealand making that sort of impact is very impressive," Biomatters chief financial officer Mark Talbot said.

The company has seen revenue double in the past year and Talbot predicts the 2003 start up will be a $50 million business in another six years.

"We believe we have just scratched the surface at this stage. I believe we are a $50 million turnover company in five or six years ... I believe that's relatively conservative," he said.

It's a big step for the 100 per cent New Zealand owned company which two years ago had an uncommercialised software product and "one and a half" software developers.

Biomatters is one of five finalists shortlisted from over 100 companies in the inaugural University of Auckland Entrepreneurs' Challenge.

The Dragons' Den style competition is the brainchild of expat businessman Charles Bidwill, who donated $3 million to boost the growth potential of New Zealand companies.

Entrants were ideally required to have at least $1 million in revenue and be either exporting or looking to export.

For Biomatters, a win would mean greater investment in sales and marketing, expanding their software development team, and pulling forward the development of their US base.

Chief operating officer Dr Brett Ammundsen said having a team on the ground in the US, where 50 per cent of their sales are made, would enable them to sell higher value products and better support and train their customers.

"What we have found is that although it's fantastic to have the ability to sell over the internet, to be actually in the market and have people on the ground meeting potential customers and up-selling existing customers is what is really starting to gain traction and bringing in higher value sales."

The company boasts an impressive customer list which includes Nasa, the Smithsonian Institution, and Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Talbot said their big-name clientele was a reflection of the team's hard work.

"It's a great validation of all the effort that has gone on."

Recently Geneious was used to track the way swine flu has evolved as it has moved through the human population.

When Biomatters was started by Candace Toner in 2003 the market painted a very different picture. It was dominated by software which harked back to the 1980s and did not fit with the pace of development in the field.

The Geneious software helps to speed the research process by presenting the sheer mass of data collected in a visual and palatable way. Talbot compares it to Outlook in the way it can simplify data and make it easily comparable, therefore speeding analysis.