Stretchsense Negotiates Call Option Agreement with Starttoday
AUCKLAND, NOVEMBER 23, 2017 — StretchSense Limited, New Zealand manufacturer of wearable sensing systems, today announced that it has completed negotiation for a call option agreement that allows its investor StartToday Co., Ltd. to selectively conduct full acquisition of StretchSense in the future.
StretchSense’s New Zealand operations, encompassing two sites in Auckland with over 130 employees, will continue operation across all departments, with further growth to be supported by the resources afforded by the acquirer.
Ben O’Brien, StretchSense CEO, says: “This deal with StartToday is a great sign for New Zealand’s technology ecosystem. It proves it’s possible for a Kiwi technology company to build itself up from essentially nothing into a world-class operation capable of competing on the global stage.
“Our relationship with StartToday began because of our technology, but it’s the value of our people and Kiwi expertise that have led us to this point, as well as our compatibility with StartToday’s fantastic company culture.”
Recently placed seventh on the 2017 Deloitte Fast 50, StretchSense is one of New Zealand’s rising technology stars. This endorsement from StartToday is the next step in nurturing an innovation culture in New Zealand, developing the country’s technology sector and helping to create further opportunities in the future. StretchSense will continue to be a key part of New Zealand’s contribution to technology and innovation worldwide, leveraging the resources of StartToday to drive wearable technology forward.
StretchSense received a series of investments from StartToday in 2016 These investments helped StretchSense advance their stretch sensor technology to enable the ZozoSuit, announced yesterday by the Japanese fashion retailer. StartToday currently holds 39.9% ownership (fully diluted basis) of StretchSense, with today’s agreement securing its right to acquire 100% ownership should it choose to exercise the option.
The option price paid by StartToday for the proposed agreement is US$20 million. Should StartToday choose to exercise the option, it can acquire full ownership of StretchSense at a strike valuation of US$120 million, which equates to approximately US$72 million for the remaining 60.1% of the company. The option expires on September 30, 2018.
The agreement is scheduled to be executed by the end of this month and is pending final approval by the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office.
StretchSense Limited manufactures soft stretch sensing technology, empowering product developers to bring their wearable idea to market. The co-founders Iain Anderson, Todd Gisby and Ben O’Brien began the company as a spin-out from the Biomimetics Lab of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, University of Auckland in November 2012. StretchSense has secured investment and support from Ralf Muller, Auckland UniServices Limited, Flying Kiwi Angels, New Zealand Venture Investment Fund and StartToday Co, Ltd.
Founded in 1998 by CEO, Yusaku Maezawa, StartToday has grown into Japan’s largest fashion e-commerce company, with $2.6 Billion in annual sales. Maezawa is also one of the world’s leading art collectors, recognized for his record-breaking purchase of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled in 2017. StartToday’s portfolio includes ZOZOTOWN, Japan’s go-to marketplace for fashion, which welcomes over 25 million visitors every month. With the ZOZOSUIT and the upcoming debut of its private label brand, StartToday is bringing its revolutionary technology and a size-free shopping experience to customers across the globe.