Whether it's text, email or social media, Datasquirt's specialty is managing communications.

It is no surprise that one of New Zealand's biggest software business sales in recent times went unnoticed - the good news was announced on February 23, the day after the second Christchurch earthquake.

The sale of software company EMS-Cortex to US technology giant Citrix Corporation (revenue US$1.8 billion) is believed "to be the largest of its type in New Zealand over the last 10 years", says Mark Loveys, then chief executive of EMS-Cortex and its parent company, Enprise Group.

Although the price remains confidential, it certainly represents a terrific return on a six-year investment for shareholders, including New Zealand private equity firm Direct Capital and the Venture Investment Fund.

Loveys, also a shareholder, said at the time: "A great result for New Zealand Inc." Better yet, Cortex and its Kiwi staff remain in New Zealand.

Loveys, who established his credentials for building successful start-up companies with Exonet (sold for A$30 million to Australian company Solution 6), now hopes to eventually engineer a similar result to Cortex with another company, Datasquirt.

"Our objective is always to maximise the result for shareholders and often the best way for everyone involved is to hand it over to a bigger company," says Loveys.

Datasquirt, unlike Cortex, is a public company, listed on the Australian Stock Exchange almost four years ago. At the time, Loveys promised shareholders the company would lose money for its first four years before turning a profit.

It is with mixed feelings that Loveys reports he has met that deadline. The company recorded a profit for the first time in the March 2011 quarter.

While he hoped to do better than that "we had the global financial crisis and that kicked in very soon after we raised our capital on the Australian Stock Exchange when we floated the company [in September 2007]."

"We wouldn't have wanted to be any later than that," he observes. "There can be a lot of luck in these things."

Bad luck, too. When Lehman Brothers imploded, private equity investors dumped Datasquirt stock and the share price fell below A10c from a listing price of A90c.

"It put a bad light on the company but it wasn't anything to do with what we were doing - it was just the market." The stock is now around A24c.

Auckland-based Datasquirt is in the message business: text, social media, web chat, email and fax. It caters to companies, particularly those with call centres that require two-way communication. "We've had airlines using us, we've had banks and lots of government departments - the Ministry of Justice used the product successfully for chasing up unpaid fines," Loveys says. "We helped Restaurant Brands with people ordering pizza and we've got Royal Mail in the UK.

"We worked with some TV shows like Travel.co.nz and they used to pose questions to the TV audience and we would get a surge of text messages coming in.

"We put all these message channels into a single-cloud console. The software is a service module that is capable of sending and receiving all these message types and tracking conversations. It's customer-relationship management."

About half its business is in New Zealand and Australia and the other half is mostly in Britain. "We've just started in the North American market; we've signed a major 'white label' distribution deal with a very large operator who's going to be selling our product."

The earnings potential is enormous, says Loveys.

"White label" means Datasquirt products will be sold under the operator's brand, which Loveys can't name. "It won't be as visible to the market but it's us," he says.

Short-message communication is now a huge part of the global business environment.

"People have got used to the immediacy of the cloud and the internet and having things on demand," he says.

"In business, people have started to see that they don't have to invest in huge systems - they can get someone else to front up with the big investment and they pay for it as they use it.

"Datasquirt is part of this cloud revolution that's happening.

"The largest businesses in the world are now deciding they have to manage their brand, their image and communication with their customers and so much of it is through social media.

"We're in the right place at the right time."

Given Loveys' background in music - he was the creative force behind Satellite Spies, which had a minor hit with Destiny in Motion - a good sense of timing is perhaps unsurprising.