Anne Gibson, managing director of South Auckland ingredients supplier DryNZ, discusses the Waiuku-based company's progress and its plans for international export.
What does your business do?
DryNZ is a business is whereby we take fresh fruit and veg and we dry it into powders, pieces and slices for cereals, teas and energy bars. We're predominantly export and we are the supplier of fruits for Ti Ora tea. Being an ingredients supplier, we have customers who buy our products and sometimes we don't even know which products they are going into.
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What was the motivation for starting it?
DryNZ is owned by seven New Zealand couples and the company started in November 2016, it spun out of a company called Dried Fresh, which had been going at that stage for about 15 years. The shareholders at the time decided to separate the engineering and drying functions from the manufacturing and sales process.
DryNZ is looking to raise $3 million in capital - when does the investment round close and where will that capital be spent?
One of our focuses is getting more investment so we can expand the factory, to get more dryer. We are in the middle of a capital raise with TBK as our investment brokers. We're looking to raise $3 million and that raise will close within two months.
What are your long-term plans?
The long-term plans are to become New Zealand's leading drying company and to expand the business so we can meet the demand that we are currently experiencing. We want to build our factory out to meet demand. We're at maximum capacity at the moment.
We're based at the Waiuku business park and currently we're seeking investment to bring on a dryer, one of the best in the world, from Switzerland. This would assist us with our entry into China. We've created a health supplement sachet specifically for China.
In three years we've tripled the size of the factory, we've gone from 120 square metres to 600sq m, and the idea is to use the existing factory space to install new dryers. One of the dryers cost $1.5 million, and we have two currently and want to move to four over the next five years. One more dryer would increase our capacity by seven times.
What's your strategy for debut in China?
China will become a good 60 per cent of our business. We work direct with our growers so that we have complete control over the supply chain. We had a Chinese customer who advised us of the need and demand for good quality New Zealand supplement products. We've done taste testing sessions, taken advice and guidance to make sure we've got the recipe right. It is an instant product called Pure New Zealand Drinking Fruit and we believe it will do really well. We expected to launch it in March or April, depending on the coronavirus, it will be loaded on to the WeChat platform and available via e-commerce.
What advice do you give to others thinking about starting their own business?
Be humble, be patient, and hold on tight because business is a rollercoaster - but it's a fantastic rollercoaster. Remain true to your passion.