Friday 15th June 2012
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Booktrack, the software company that creates soundtracks to accompany e-books, wants to raise up to $3 million to pay for new content creation and intellectual property patents.
Chief executive Paul Cameron is in New Zealand on an investor roadshow as he seeks to raise fresh capital for the company to secure rights to add music tracks and background soundtracks for e-books, which the company creates in Wellington.
"We need to get content and create audio," Cameron told BusinessDesk. "Because of the financial climate around the world, it's not an easy thing for anyone to do. It's a real challenge for New Zealand companies."
Booktrack was founded in August last year having spent two years developing its product, and has attracted investment from the Sparkbox angel investors group, Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel and Hyperfactory founder Derek Handley.
Cameron has some existing shareholders on board for the capital raising, and has also attracted "strong interest" from investors in Australia, the US and in Asia, he said.
Rather than rely on building its own distribution network, Booktrack is negotiating with some major players to sell a licence to integrate its service on other platforms in a bid to grab a piece what Cameron says is a US$20 billion market.
"The challenge for the entertainment dollar is very high," he said.
The company wants to build on its first-mover advantage in what is seen as adding premium content to reading an e-book.
Cameron says the "potential for upside is very, very high" due to its low cost-base and the company has the opportunity to become "highly profitable."
More than a quarter of people who try Booktrack's application on Apple's iPhone and iPad end up buying it, Cameron said. Each soundtrack costs on average $2, according to the company's website.
Booktrack is focusing its sales in New York and London, where the major publishing houses are based, though once its product is on a digital platform it has global reach, he said.
The company's audio is created in Wellington at Peter Jackson's Park Road Production, while its software development is based in Auckland's North Shore.
Cameron said the company has no plans to shift its research and development base from New Zealand.
Booktrack has received government funding of almost $700,000 over the past two years through the soon-to-be-defunct Ministry of Science and Innovation. It has also had support from New Zealand Trade & Enterprise.
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