One year after US media and marketing company Meredith Corporation took a 20 percent stake in mobile marketing company The Hyperfactory, which was set up by New Zealand brothers Derek, 32, and Geoffrey, 35, Handley in 2001, ‘full alignment’ has been completed. Or, in less corporate US speak, ka-ching.
Derek Handley, co-founder, chief executive and rather patriotic chap who can often be found extolling the ingenious virtues of his homeland, says the completion of the deal is evidence of the ability New Zealand entrepreneurs have to make it on the world stage, and in one of the most competitive and fast-paced industries.
He believes Kiwi companies are at the cutting edge when it comes to the use of new technology, and by having the courage to take ideas and capabilities off shore, the tale of the Hyperfactory—which “powers businesses and brands through the mobile medium with award winning, innovative and strategically creative initiatives”, has worked with Coca-Cola, BlackBerry, L’Oreal, Vodafone and Disney and employs more than 100 mobile technology and marketing experts around the world—shows it’s possible for Kiwi outfits to play significant roles within some of the world’s leading corporations.
Setting up dual headquarters, with offices in both New York and Auckland able to support expansion domestically and into other international markets, was crucial Derek says. The company also has standalone offices in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Hong Kong, Sydney and Hyderabad, India. And he believes the new relationship presents significant opportunity to grow these offices.
“Key to our definition of success on this sale has been our ability to retain leadership at the helm. It’s important to us to be able to continue the tremendous flow of creativity across our client base, and into all the opportunities Meredith Corporation provides. They are why we have a history of winning more industry accolades than any mobile agency worldwide. This partnership is designed to entrench that leadership in every market we operate, including New Zealand, and it creates opportunities to compete for a whole new tier of clients.”
Handley says the completion of the remaining 80 percent investment was always part of the brothers’ vision for the company. And while terms of deal were not disclosed, Derek says it is comparable to recent leading technology deals for Kiwi companies, and “sets a significant benchmark for the sale of a New Zealand business in the emerging technologies sector”. Ah yes, the old unknown benchmark trick.
In the last year, as the demand for mobile marketing solutions has increased, he says the two companies have joined forces to offer mobile marketing solutions to leading companies and brands such as Kraft, Nestle and Honda. Additionally, The Hyperfactory helped to accelerate Meredith’s consumer brand efforts in the mobile space by developing the mobile platforms for some of its magazines, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents and Fitness.
Google bought NZ$1 billion in stocks in mobile advertising platform Admob last year, which gave the industry as a whole a bit of a fillip, as Run The Red’s Jono Tucker said in this article. Apple had its eyes on Admob too, but it ended up buying another mobile advertising company Quattro wireless for about half that much. And, with increasing smart phone penetration and decreasing data prices around the world, it doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon. In fact, US research company Berg Insight predicts the global mobile advertising market will grow at an annual compound growth rate of 43 percent to €8.7b by 2014.
For Meredith, the acquisition further enhances the capabilities of Meredith Integrated Marketing arm, the company’s business-to-business arm that provides leading corporations and brands with custom marketing solutions.
“Mobile is becoming a vital ingredient in integrated marketing campaigns, giving consumers access to brands at key decision points in the purchasing cycle for awareness, consideration and calls to action,” said Meredith Integrated Marketing president Martin Reidy. “The Hyperfactory is the ideal partner to help us better serve clients seeking to capitalize on this trend.”
And if you still don’t know what the hell we’re on about, here’s Derek.