Times-7 is another showcase company that strains the definition of the term "startup". The original company was founded in 2006, but split in 2010, with one founder deciding to focus on the sports-timing market, and the other, Anthony Dixon, taking the underlying antenna technology on to what he hopes will be bigger things.

Times-7 builds slimmer, more robust yet cheaper antennas for the rapidly growing RFID (radio frequency identification tag or "smart label") market, which is making the old barcode technology obsolete.

Since splitting, Dixon has financed development of the antenna business himself. "In the last two years we've focused on proving our products and proving we have customers," he says. The company is close to break-even and has netted some big names, such as Motorola, which uses Times-7's antennas as part of its solution for large retail clients such as K-Mart; Qantas, which uses Times-7's technology to track baggage and simplify check-in for frequent flyers; and the Hutt Valley District Health Board, which has employed the technology to track expensive and important pieces of medical kit throughout its hospital.

"We're rapidly increasing our customer base, but we're still just scratching the surface. There are plenty of opportunities, which is why we're looking for investment," says Dixon.


Times-7 is looking for $600,000 to boost its international sales and marketing efforts and hire sales people with international expertise and knowhow to quickly lift the company's revenue.

By tapping the country's angel markets, Dixon is also hoping to land a couple of investors with international connections and marketing knowledge to help him take the company to the next step. "It's taken longer than ideal. We're an emerging business that's still struggling to make a profit. That's why we need the capital, so we can scale quickly."