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NZ/US startup Datch secures $5.2 million NZD investment

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Datch, the leading-edge technology company co-founded by two Kiwis and an Aussie, has secured $5.2 million NZD in seed funding for its "Voice-Visual" AI assistant.

The funding will enable the company to build its research and development team here in New Zealand as it hires local talent to take the company forward.

"We’re thrilled to grow our company here in New Zealand and to tap into the vast resource of outside-the-box thinking Kiwis are known for," says Datch co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Ben Purcell.

"Innovation and ingenuity are baked into the Kiwi culture and we are delighted to be another high-tech option for New Zealanders looking for a challenge."

Formed in 2018 by New Zealanders Aric Thorn and Ben Purcell, and Australian Mark Fosdike, the company is at the forefront of developing intelligent voice AI solutions for industrial environments.

"We’re all engineers with experience working on projects across the globe in the aerospace, shipbuilding, and energy sectors. We formed the business after witnessing the incredible amount of time and energy our companies lost when it came to filling out paperwork on the shop floor," says Datch CEO and co-founder Mark Fosdike.

"We’re now thrilled to welcome Blue Bear Capital as the lead investor, along with support from Stage Venture Partners, Tuhua Ventures, Lorimer Ventures, Predictive Venture Partners, and Plug and Play Ventures," he says.

"With industry-leading partners onboard from the energy and manufacturing sectors and with a focus on digital transformation, we are well-positioned to help improve the way industrial organisations capture the knowledge of frontline workers."

The funding announcement coincides with Datch’s hands-free workplace initiative, designed to reduce the need for deskless workers to waste time filling in forms and recording their work.

"We soon realised that not only do frontline workers lose considerable time on a daily basis carrying out paperwork, but only five percent of employee knowledge is retained in a business due to the amount of time it takes to record this using a PC or paper and pen," explains Datch co-founder and Chief Product Officer Aric Thorn.

"What’s exciting is that Datch does away with traditional process forms and instead uses a Natural Language Engine to give workers the freedom to capture their knowledge immediately by simply speaking. Our platform lets them do this hands-free while they’re working which of course has productivity gains as well as Health and Safety benefits."

Blue Bear Capital Partner Ernst Sack says he’s excited to be partnering with Datch in its mission to deploy this future-proofing AI capability into industrial operations.

"Voice technology brings wider context and nuance to human and digital connections by improving the quality and experience of work for the frontline and accelerates knowledge capture and sharing for the organisation," Mr Sack says.

Blue Bear's Dr. Carolin Funk added, "We are particularly excited that Datch is bringing voice technologies to customers in important sectors like sustainable power generation and electric vehicle manufacturing."

For further information or to arrange an interview email Datch CEO Mark Fosdike at

Capital raised was 3.2 million USD, equivalent to 5.2 million NZD.

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