Almost two years after going public with its IPO plans, translation software maker Straker has just released a prospectus to raise $21.2 million.

Straker — which is 20 per cent owned by former All Black and Fairfax boss David Kirk’s venture capitalist Bailador — offers language translation services using a combination of technology and humans.

The New Zealand-based business is going up against the likes of Google’s free Translate service — but Straker believes its service is a high-end, more accurate alternative.

The majority of the market is highly fragmented, Straker believes — with the top 100 service providers accounting for only 15 per cent of industry revenue.

Straker is aiming to raise $21.2 million at $1.51 apiece.

Husband and wife team Grant and Merryn Straker — who founded the company in 1999 — will pocket 13 per cent of the proceeds or $2.8 million.

After the float, the pair will hold 14 per cent of the company with a third shareholder — down from 18 per cent today.

As managing director Mr Straker — a former British paratrooper — also gets a salary of NZ$290,000. Ms Straker as chief operating officer gets NZ$205,000.

The other $18.4 million of the float proceeds will go mainly towards sales and marketing, product development, general corporate purposes, potential acquisitions and working capital.

At the issue price, the business would be capped at just over $79 million after it lists on October 22.

In 2016, Mr Straker told the AFR he expected the business to be worth $100 million when it listed.

The business does not plan to pay dividends.

The technology

Straker has developed a system called “RAY Translation Platform” that uses machine translation followed by human curation to deliver highly accurate translation services.

The sytem automatically produces a “first draft” translation using software — and then farms out corrections to one of 13,000 freelance human translators, followed by another human review.

The online software allows human translators to deliver faster and more accurate translations, the business says in its prospectus.

Last year Straker made a loss of $NZ1.5 million on revenue of $NZ17 million sourced from 8400 customers — mostly from outside Australia and New Zealand. About half of revenue comes from the UK and Europe.

It expects the loss to widen to $NZ2.5 million next year on revenue of $NZ23.5 million.

The business had $NZ22.4 million in the kitty at the end of March.

Straker reckons the global market for language services is more than $US40 billion right now — and will reach $US67 billion by 2022.

The offer is open until October 11.


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