Software company Raygun is going to spend $15m over the next two years expanding its Wellington operation, co-founder John-Daniel Trask says.

A lot of the funds will go to hiring an additional 70 staff.

Today the company employs around 30, with five in Seattle and the balance in the capital.

Task began his entrepreneurial career at Palmerston North Boys' High School in the 1990s, where he sold software on floppy disks for $5 a pop.


He later put himself through a Computer Science Degree at Massey by running two businesses between his studies - one selling PC parts online, the other computer repair services.

A spell as a software developer at the Rod Drury-founded Intergen followed before Trask teamed with Jeremy Boyd in 2007 to found the company today known as Raygun.

Raygun sells software for people who make software and has around 60,000 users worldwide.

"Raygun is like putting a black box flight recorder into your software," Trask says.

His company's programme records crashes and bugs, then reports backs back to software maker on its customer experience.

Trask tells potential clients, "People don't like to get on planes that blow. They don't like software that blows up, either."

He won't reveal any financials, but says Raygun is unfashionably profitable and, equally unusually in the world of software startups has no plans for an IPO. It doesn't even have any plans for a capital raise.

Growth is rapid, but being funded organically, Trask says.


The $15m hiring spree in the capital over the next two months will be bankrolled by profits from sales - 95 per cent of which are generated outside NZ, with 45 per cent from the key US market.

Trask says he moved to Seattle to be close to two hero clients - Microsoft and Amazon Web Services.

Wellington City Council agency WREDA recently ran its "LookSee" campaign, which saw it flying in interviewees from around the world in a bid to fill the IT skills shortage.

Is Trask worried about finding 70 extra staff in the capital?

"There's a challenge for talent everywhere in the world right now. It's not specific to Wellington," he says.

The New Zealand lifestyle is easy to sell, and the internet has eliminated the tyranny of distance, he says.

And he thinks Raygun could get very big from here.

It has a number of competitors, including American company New Relic.

But the trouble-shooting market is fast growing as software gets more complex, and there is room for everybody to grow, Trask says.

He notes the NYSE-listed New Relic has a market cap of US$4.34 billion.

Asked if Raygun could hit a US$1b valuation one day he replies. "Absolutely. This market is very big and global. It's worth US$7b a year and growing at 12 per cent a year."

And where did the name "Raygun" come from?

When Trask and Boyd founded the business, they both put together a list of names, then gave each a score based on a number of criteria. The winner was "Mindscape."

But in 2013, the pair decided they needed something more memorable.

Trask recalled that in 2007, Boyd had put forward "Railgun" - a suggestion he rejected out of hand as idiotic.

Yet six years later, he could still remember it, so he thought there could be something to it after all. After a slight tweak, Raygun was born.