Shares in Gisborne-based Kiwi software company Straker Translations debuted strongly on the ASX today.

By mid-afternoon stock was trading at $A1.76 ($1.90), a 16 per cent premium to the A$1.51 offer price.

The company, founded by Merryn and Grant Straker, has recruited former Xero chairman Phil Norman to head its board.

Investors have been told Straker is forecasting a $200,000 operating loss (and a $2.6m statutory loss after one-off listing costs) on $25.6m revenue for its current financial year.


Straker, which has drawn capital from David Kirk's Bailador over several funding rounds, has recently bought language translation software companies in the US, Ireland and Germany, taking total staff numbers to 120.

Grant Straker co-founded Straker Translations with his wife Merryn in 1999, after earlier spending six years in the British Army as a paratrooper before moving into sales.

Its software uses artificial intelligence software plus, in places, human experts to translate text - which the chief executive says gives it the edge over free solutions such as Google Translate.

The startup gained momentum in 2015 when Bailador made its first investment, injecting $6m.