Waikato’s Nyriad raises $40m, shifts HQ to US – chairman Guy Haddleton fronts

Waikato firm Nyriad – which is creating a new generation of storage technology for large organisations – has raised US$28 million in a Series C round and shifted its corporate headquarters to the US.

On November 1 Nyriad became fully-owned by a new holding company, the Delaware-incorporated Nyriad Inc, and US-based executives have been recruited to run key roles at its new San Francisco HQ.

Why shift Nyriad’s corporate office to the US? “That’s where our customers will be. And that’s where the business will grow,” chairman and cornerstone investor Guy Haddleton tells the Herald. “We’re going to need to raise substantial capital in the future. That’s going to come from America. It’s not going to come from New Zealand.” “Finally, and most importantly, there’s a huge massive opportunity with the US Federal Government – and the US Federal Government only buys from American companies effectively. So you add all that together, and it just makes sense to be American.”

After years of product development, relative newcomer to the company Haddleton expects Nyriad to make its first sales in the first quarter of next year. He says the first wave of customers will likely be in high-performance computing, media and defence. While its chief executive – veteran US executive Herb Hunt, recruited late last year – is now based in San Francisco, along with most of its top managers – Nyriad retains its Kiwi identity in two key respects.

First, Haddleton and other New Zealand investors chipped in most of the funds for the Series C raise, and retain majority ownership. (The richlister would not name other participants. He would not provide an exact post-money valuation but said it was under $100m.)

Second, Nyriad’s engineering and development team in Cambridge will remain – although the company will supplement the team with new hires in Silicon Valley and elsewhere offshore.

Nyriad was co-founded by Matthew Simmons and Microsoft US alumnus Alex St John in 2014. It was initially focused on opportunities centring on the multi-billion Square Kilometre Array radio telescope before refocusing on the commercial market.