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Some No 8 and a pile of compost

By Nicholas Bryant

Friday 24th March 2000

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Getting in ahead of the soon-to-be launched New Capital Market, venture capitalist No 8 Ventures has bought a $1.5 million stake in an organic compost business.

Auckland-based Willson Brown Associates has readily accepted No 8's offer of a 25% cornerstone shareholding in its company, an active competitor in the worldwide organic waste recovery market.

At the heart of Willson Brown's business is the locally developed VCU, or vertical composting unit, which rapidly and efficiently processes biological waste. The technology has won the company contracts and distribution agreements from Auckland to Finland and including Sri Lanka, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

Most recently it won an Australian government contract to break down and recycle organic waste on Lord Howe Island, a World Heritage Park and highly sensitive environment.

Willson Brown is the third investment for No 8 Ventures which will appoint manager Jenny Morel and investment committee member Hugh Fletcher to the board.

No 8's first investment was in Tacit Group, which supplies software for financial institutions. Since that commitment Tacit has grown from a company with 70 staff to one employing 155 people in Auckland, Wellington, Sydney, Melbourne and the UK.

No 8 followed that up in December by investing in internet payroll and human resources company TimeMaster Systems, which has already increased staff from 35 to 70.

Ms Morel said the investments represented "a pleasing spread of technologies."

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