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Auckland company signs deal with US investors

The Photographers Mail, Vol. 11, 2002

Significant number of new jobs to be created

An overnight photo restoration service has been established for North Americans, creating jobs here in New Zealand where the digital processing will take place. A group of American investors has signed an agreement with Auckland-based Photopages Global Ltd (PGL) to launch PGL’s 24·hour digital photo restoration service in the United States, Canada and later Europe.

The American consortium is led by US investor Ed Bernstein of Creekside LLC in San Francisco who says PGL provides exactly what he was looking for in New Zealand smart technology with consumer applications.

“Ian Handricks (left) and Ken Holmes of Photopages Global Ltd, with Prime Minister Helen Clark at the recent Auckland pod opening”

Under the trademark Photopages, and using unique digital technology developed in New Zealand, PGL offers an overnight service to restore damaged, torn, worn or faded photos to a high standard at an affordable price.

The images are printed on photographic paper with 100% UV protection, which sets the product well ahead of most others on the market. Photos will be scanned at source and sent via the Internet to New Zealand for restoration. The service will still be fast - what it takes many photo restorers four to five hours can be done with PGL’s technology in 10 to 20 minutes.

The technology behind Photopages was developed by Ian Handricks of PGL, who says the company will enjoy phenomenal growth over the next three years as the global service gets established. PGL currently employs four people at its Auckland processing facility and Ian Handricks says a significant number of new staff will be needed over the next 12 months, with additional jobs created as a result of the introduction of Europe and the continuing development of the North American market. Earlier in July the company and its new American investors signed a 5-year agreement, with a 10-year renewal provision, and the possibility that the business could be listed on NASDAQ after two years.

Ed Bernstein says US investors are becoming aware of the great talent that exists in New Zealand, both in terms of technical ingenuity and a high quality pool of labour.

"The big challenge has been New Zealand’s distance. We were looking for a product or service that didn’t have to be put on a boat and could be transmitted electronically - Photopages exactly fits the bill," Ed Bernstein says. Both Ed Bernstein and Ian Handricks say their new venture has strong potential to unlock opportunities for other high-performing New Zealand technology companies.

Photopages Global Ltd was formed in 1992, initially as a division of New Zealand Contact Lens Supplies Limited, one of the world’s longest surviving and New Zealand’s foremost contact lens laboratory. PGL has been at the leading edge of work with high technology computer products for the last 10 years, and has been particularly instrumental in the development of photo-digital imaging in New Zealand.

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