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To the US and beyond... Christchurch software firm raises $2.35m funding

20 Sep 2014

Shuttlerock, a visual marketing software company based in Rangiora near Christchurch, founded by former ValueClick Media Japan CEO Jonathan Hendriksen, has raised $2.35 million in Series A funding.

The company has named James R. Zarley, former CEO of ValueClick Inc and current chairman of Conversant, director and chairman of the board of directors of Shuttlerock USA while also opening a US office in Los Angeles.

Shuttlerock’s past and current investors include Japan’s largest digital advertising agency, Opt; Paul Bingham of Shuttlerock, Air New Zealand and Black Cat Cruises; comedian and radio host Gary McCormick; Japanese property investor Yoshihiro Kawamura and Maurice Eng of Shuttlerock.

Eng, who serves as Chairman, is Director of several New Zealand operations including Sealord Group Ltd, ANZCO Foods Ltd and Easiyo Foods LTD and previously served as Area Director for Greater China for H.J Heinz Co.

The company is also backed by Auckland based ICE Angels, an entrepreneurial venture capital organization formed by Icehouse, a mentoring and entrepreneurial business focused on assisting New Zealand-based businesses grow.

It is Australasia’s largest angel investment network with 130 members from around the world. Since its inception, the ICE Angels have invested over $50 million.

Also joining in this round of funding and as a board member is Jim Zarley, founder of ValueClick. He previously served as the chief operating officer of Hiway Technologies as well as chairman and chief executive officer of Best Internet.

Prior to those roles, Zarley was the founder and chief executive officer of Quantech Corporation, and he spent 19 years in various senior management roles at RCA.

The funding will be used to further develop the platform and expand Shuttlerock’s presence in North America, including the opening of its U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles which will be led by Jade Swords who has been named chief executive officer, North America.

Shuttlerock’s current U.S. clients include Martha’s Vineyard, George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the University of Missouri.

“Our platform is a world-leading visual marketing solution aimed at bringing social content back onto a brand’s website,” Hendriksen says.

“Content from social media properties such as Facebook and Instagram is integrated with an organisation’s website so that only fresh, relevant content is being shared with its customers.

"Shuttlerock helps our clients effectively leverage their content in a stronger, more compelling way.”

Hendriksen says that timely content from Shuttlerock’s clients’ social media networks, including photos and news shared by their customers, is funnelled into the Shuttlerock platform where it’s queued for moderation.

“Our clients are given the controls to pull content in and push it out to social channels, creating a social ‘hub’ on their website," he adds.

“Shuttlerock has established itself as an industry leader in visual marketing and will continue to see rapid growth from this latest round of funding,” adds Jim Zarley, chairman, ValueClick.

“Jonathan and his team have created a successful platform that acknowledges the significance of social media and its impact on a brand’s value, and I am eager to be a part of the board and to leverage my experience in brand awareness and digital marketing as part of their impressive growth trajectory.”

Shuttlerock recently secured pop icon and social media pioneer Lady Gaga as a client.

She asked fans to upload photos to her Japanese website, and used Shuttlerock software to aggregate and display the photos, which included the creation of a digital billboard at Shibuya, the world's busiest pedestrian crossing, posters at Japanese concert venues and images on the pop star’s campaign site for her Japanese tour.