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Ubco raises $4m for electric farm bike

NZN 19/05/2017 Rebecca Howard

Ubco, a New Zealand tech company that has designed an electric farm bike, successfully raised $3.95 million in funding in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

US investors Bob and Ethan Ralston and US expansion and acquisition company Spring Capital invested $US1 million ($NZ1.4) in the company and then Ubco raised a further $2.5m from New Zealand and Australian investors.

Ubco has formed a distribution company UBCO US LLC, based in Oregon. Bob Ralston will now join the Ubco board while Ethan Ralston will be a managing member of the LLC.

Enterprise Angels, an early-stage investment group in New Zealand, led a funding round facilitating the investment of $860,000 in July 2016.

Enterprise Angels executive director Bill Murphy says going offshore has been key to obtaining the latest funding.

"It really highlights how for many New Zealand start ups the CEO has to leave these shores to put in 'face time' and wear out shoe leather to succeed," he said in a statement.

Research earlier this year by Massey University Master of Management student Hattaf Ansari showed entrepreneurs are encouraged to chase global markets if they want to win backing for their early stage ventures, with investors having their eye firmly set on international markets.

"Securing entry into the US market is a real highlight for Ubco and secures us a profile that we will leverage off in other significant markets," said Ubco board chairman Deion Campbell.

The company's Ubco 2x2 is designed in New Zealand and uses advances in electric motor design and battery technology to create a lightweight, versatile utility vehicle. The company has also made inroads in Australia, where it has officially signed Daviesway as its rural distributor.

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