Laurence Escalante more than doubled his stake in artificial intelligence software firm icetana, joining global technology giant Macnica Inc and another rich-lister, Peter Meurs.
Laurence Escalante has more than doubled his stake in artificial intelligence software firm icetana, joining global technology giant Macnica Inc and another rich-lister, Peter Meurs, in a recent $2 million private placement.
Mr Escalante family office Lance East Office has become the company's second biggest shareholder at more than 16.5 per cent, spending $900,000 to acquire 25.7 million shares a year after emerging with an 8 per cent stake when venture capital fund Yuuwa Capital exited its investment.
Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed Macnica remains the biggest shareholder moving up to 19 per cent from about 14 per cent.
Interests associated with Mr Meurs, former WorleyParsons founder and managing director, will end up with almost 15 per cent, depending on a shareholder vote at the end of this month to ratify that particular placement at 3.5 cents a share.
Curtin University, from which icetana’s technology emerged, has 3.8 per cent and remains in the top five shareholders.
With a market capitalisation of around $8.7 million, icetana remains an ASX minnow four years after raising $5 million and listing at 20 cents a share in 2019.
The placement, which coincided with a share purchase plan for all existing shareholders, is part of a refresh of the company and its product offering which started in the June quarter of last financial year.
In July it appointed chief operating officer Kevin Brown as chief executive, taking over from Matt Macfarlane who has become chair, replacing Geoff Pritchard who resigned as a director but stayed on as an adviser.
VGW is the online gaming company which has made Mr Escalante a multi-billionaire.
The video analytics technology owned by icetana is designed to identify abnormal events and unexpected behaviour in real time for large-scale surveillance networks, and stresses it doesn’t use facial recognition.
Mr Brown said icetana had been rebuilding its core technology, and was well placed to expand beyond a loyal customer base that had stuck with the company.
"It delivers on the same promise of self learning AI but with cutting edge machine learning and computer vision technology" he said.
The tech is helping to operate 1000 cameras in Kuwait and is in the middle of being rolled out to about 8000 cameras across the Middle East.
Mr Brown said icetana software was helping monitor security surveillance in 17 shopping centres, looking for people and motor vehicles behaving in an unusual or dangerous way.He said the firm was adding new algorithms every few weeks to pick up specific cases like trip and fall, smoke, fire, loitering and left luggage."We are also expanding our analytics to support our retail customers with functionality like people counting, dwell time and heatmaps” Mr Brown said.