Fronde ponders capital raising options

Cloud integrator considers a listing or private equity investment as it shoots for NZ$200 million in sales within next four years.
Written by Rob O'Neill, Contributor

With an Australian acquisition under its belt and a strong 2013 profit, a bullish Fronde is shooting for a $200 million sales target within the next four years.

But that will require capital.

Fronde CEO Ian Clarke

Chief executive Ian Clarke said Wellington-based Fronde was studying its options, including an New Zealand Stock Exchange listing or private equity investment. The former would see it leave the informal Unlisted share trading platform, the latter, perhaps not.

Fronde is not looking for a buyout, Clarke says, as it is not out of ideas "by a long way".

Fronde currently makes NZ$60 million in sales and for the last eight years has been cutting out a space in Cloud sales and integration.

It specializes in Google, Amazon, Netsuite and Salesforce.com services, and plans to coat-tail on the back of their global growth, but it also counts a number of Asian banks as customers on its proprietary mobile banking platform.

"We understand how to deliver solutions based on integrated cloud platforms," Clarke says, acknowledging such high growth aspirations carry risk.

"We aspire to be an enduring brand. We think we have the strategy and the underlying culture and strength to be an enduring brand."

In May, Fronde acquired Sydney-based Netsuite specialist OnlineOne for an undisclosed sum, opening markets in Sydney and Melbourne. In total, the combined company now employs around 330 staff.

While Fronde has a solid base of clients in NZ Government, it sees enterprise as more ready to shift to global cloud service providers as they are less concerned about issues of data sovereignty.

Fronde chief technology officer James Valentine says OnlineOne was already selling some Google services, but there is an opportunity to extend some of the mature offerings Fronde has in New Zealand into the Australian market.

These include desktop as a service. 

Valentine says this can be a mix of Google applications and Citrix-based proprietary applications that can offer clients an escape from desktop lock-in as they deal with the end of Windows XP support.

While Australia offers high growth potential, Clarke says growth is still possible in the New Zealand market. Fronde could easily double its sales there, he says.

Valentine says the Cloud's promise of "anywhere, any time, any device" is relevant to any industry.

"A lot of people still don't see this is a true inflection point," he says. "It's coming and it's unstoppable."

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