Wherewolf sets course for US after raising $550K

Wherewolf founders Ben Calder and Wulf Solter receive the Deloitte’s Rising Star award for Dunedin and the lower South Island region. Image: Supplied

Adventure tourism software developer Wherewolf is gearing up for a push into the US after securing $550,000 of angel investment.

The Queenstown-based firm plans to open an office in the States on the back of the over-subscribed funding from the Flying Kiwi Angels.

Co-founder Ben Calder, who has just returned from a month-long trip to America to look at office locations and talk to potential partners, said the investment will allow the company to increase functionality as well as increase sales in the northern hemisphere.

He said: “Wherewolf was a profit generating company in the last year so we have been looking for supplementary investment to help us really expand in a couple of key areas.

“One is functionality for all our current operators. This will broaden the horizon and make it easier for the clients we have already got manage their own apps and do a lot more themselves.

“And secondly, it will help with increasing sales, in particular in the northern hemisphere. We could have just done it on our own accord but we can do it faster, bigger and more successfully with a relatively small investment in the grand scheme of things.”

Wherewolf, which was launched in 2013, builds custom software for adventure tourism businesses, allowing them to manage guests digitally rather than on paper.

That includes iPad check-in, digital waivers and marketing tools.

It currently has clients in more than 23 countries, and although it does a lot of business in New Zealand, in the last year around 62% of the company’s growth has come from international sales.

And the company sees huge potential in the American market which has 67,000 registered adventure tourism businesses, compared with NZ’s 350.

Calder said his trip was to answer questions about what a US office would look like for Wherewolf.

“We were looking at what form would it take, where abouts it would be. We also were looking at partners we would work with, legal and employment processes – just answering that kind of question.”

He added that the US office would be focused on sales and would also give the company a base to work with local associations and attend US trade shows.

Last month, Wherewolf was recognised by Deloitte winning the Rising Star award for Dunedin and the lower South Island region, a precursor to the professional services firm’s Fast 50 award.

It is also a nominee for the 2017 New Zealand Innovation Awards’ Tourism and Entertainment category alongside Mighway, GeoZone, Off the Beaten Track, Haka Tourism and the Pop-up Globe theatre in Auckland.

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