Sam Morgan's latest investment punt

Sam Morgan

Trade Me founder Sam Morgan has injected $1 million into Christchurch internet company SLI Systems.

The software-as-a-service company was established in 2001 and provides smart search engine services to retailers.

The deal was agreed in December and is being announced today but SLI chief executive Shaun Ryan told NBR ONLINE he first talked to Mr Morgan five years ago.

"As an investor it's not just his profile, it's also his experience.

"He founded Trade Me and is on the board of Xero, he's got really good experience in e-commerce and in software-as-a-service.

"He's what I'd call smart money, who is really aligned with our business."

Mr Ryan says the money will be used to immediately employ more staff and six or seven positions have already been identified.

A board position was discussed with Mr Morgan but "that's not happening at this stage".

The company featured in the National Business Review print edition two weeks ago as one of this year's hot listing prospects.

Mr Ryan says Mr Morgan's investment paves the way for further capital raising.

"Having a higher profile makes it easier for us to attract employees to the company and makes it easier to attract investment."

Mr Morgan says in a statement the potential for growth in global on-line sales makes SLI Systems an exciting investment. 

About 95% of SLI’s clients are offshore, and include Harrods, B&Q, Interflora and Boden in the United Kingdom and Jelly Belly, Ulta, Hot Topic & Hardrock Cafe in the United States.

New Zealand customers include Mitre 10 and The Warehouse.
 
SLI, which has more than 100 staff, has averaged almost 30% revenue growth year-on-year for the past five years.

The company's major investors include Pioneer Capital, a big investor in boutique beer brewer Moa Group, and its chairman is Greg Cross, the former managing director of Microsoft NZ.

dwilliams@nbr.co.nz

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