12/12/2007 - 22:00

WA firms turn to new funding board

12/12/2007 - 22:00

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The Australian Small Scale Offerings Board has started to become a significant source of new capital for small Western Australian companies, with Live Technologies Ltd the latest to raise capital through this market.

The Australian Small Scale Offerings Board has started to become a significant source of new capital for small Western Australian companies, with Live Technologies Ltd the latest to raise capital through this market.

Live, founded by last year’s WA Inventor of the Year Roland Butcher, raised $450,000 through Sydney-based ASSOB and is currently seeking a further $250,000.

Its fund raising success followed the lead set by another WA company, Firmware Technologies Ltd, which has raised $1.3 million through ASSOB.

Other WA companies looking to raise equity capital through ASSOB include minerals explorer Noble Mineral Resources Ltd and innovative ceiling supplier Zenith Ceilings Ltd.

Mr Butcher said he had spent a lot of time chasing support from venture capital investors and high net worth investors, with limited success.

Melbourne’s Gillon Group had planned to invest $750,000 early this year but the transaction did not proceed.

Therefore, he turned instead to ASSOB, which has been operating in various guises for nearly 20 years but has become a lot more active over the past three years.

Companies using ASSOB do not have to prepare a full prospectus, as they would for a traditional share offer, nor are they limited to sophisticated investors.

Mr Butcher said the recent capital raising had enabled his company to upgrade its optical technology, which enables cameras to correctly expose a whole scene with light and dark areas.

It will be of particular benefit to closed-circuit television and security cameras.

“The single most challenging issue for our business is not the technology, but securing the funding,” he said.

“Through last month’s successful fund raising, we are now able to upgrade our prototype with the latest developments and have it working in the field,” he said.

Mr Butcher said he had also invested $100,000 of his own cash into the business to ensure it did not experience delays in its technical program.

Live is on the lookout for a new chairman, with consumer electronics industry experience to take over from Rob Garton-Smith, who left the board recently.

Live Technologies aims to raise a total of $1.2 million through ASSOB.

Software developer Firmware has more ambitious funding plans.

It is looking to raise US$2.88 million (A$3.2 million) through ASSOB and will follow that with a listing on either the Australian Securities Exchange or North America’s NASDAQ market.

Chief executive Jacques Blandin said that raising money through ASSOB made it easier to attract support from high net worth individuals. “Without ASSOB we wouldn’t have raised the dollars we raised,” Mr Blandin said.

Firmware’s core product is VisTime, an online communications program that allows joint interaction, access and review of documents on an easy-to-navigate user interface.

Enhance Group director Angela Hartnett, whose company is a member of ASSOB, said more than 100 capital raisings had been completed through ASSOB over the past three years.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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