Pacific Fibre, who intend to build a fibre optic cable connecting Australia and New Zealand to the USA, today announced that they had closed their fourth round of financing, raising over NZ$5.5 million.
The existing external investors all contributed to the subscription round, while San Francisco investor Peter Thiel’s New Zealand investment vehicle Valar Ventures LP also entered the shareholder list.
Mr Thiel co-founded and was CEO of PayPal, and is committed to helping New Zealand technology companies through Valar Ventures. This is Valar Ventures’ second investment in New Zealand, following a $4 million placement with Xero in late 2010.
“Pacific Fibre is strategically significant to the growing technology industries in New Zealand and Australia”, said Peter Thiel. “The company offers a strong proposition to investors, and we look forward to the successful financing of the project.”
“We very happy to have Peter and the team at Valar Ventures on board,” said Mark Rushworth, CEO of Pacific Fibre. “Their west coast networks and Wall Street experience will be a great help to us as we enter the major financing phase, and their commitment to helping technology companies strongly aligns with our founding purpose.”
“We are also very grateful for the continued support and confidence from our existing investors, who, like us, are committed to making this happen. We now have highly regarded investors from all three countries of operation, and we are seeing plenty more appetite from a variety of debt and equity investors for the major round.”
Pacific Fibre also announced that New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) is providing support by contributing to the cost of feasibility studies evaluating foreign investment. NZTE’s Strategic Investment Fund provides up to $250,000 in matched funding for feasibility studies when the project has good prospects of generating significant economic benefit for New Zealand.
“The capital investment involved with building an undersea cable and the subsequent creation of jobs would have a positive impact on our economy. Having a second cable is also likely to boost the overall competitiveness of our exporters, who increasingly rely on the internet as a channel to global markets,” said Graham Matthews, NZTE’s Director of Investment.