Paul Sanger sits down with Non-Executive Chair Matt Macfarlane from icetana (ASX:ICE): Discussing a new hardware deal, AI-capable hardware, and plans of expansion in the future.Paul Sanger:
Today, we're talking to iCetana, ASX code ICE, with a market cap of around 10 million. Matt, welcome back to the network.Matthew Macfarlane:
Great to be here, Paul. Thanks for having me.Paul Sanger:
Matt, we only caught up with you a few weeks ago. We were talking about a new contract that you signed with the Sydney Opera House. In that same interview, we also touched on what area was driving your business the most, what part of that business. And correct me if I'm wrong, you said it was the shopping mall business. And lo and behold, today you announced a new deal, a hardware deal with one of your largest clients in the Middle East. Can you talk to us about this deal and what it means for the company?Matthew Macfarlane:
Absolutely. So, this has been a long-term customer for icetana. We signed a three-year software deal with them a few months ago and announced that, and now separately we've announced a deal to supply them with hardware. Now, we are a software company, so hardware's not necessarily right in our ballpark, but what's interesting is this supports our new product. So the customer needs to transition to this fancy new AI-capable hardware, and we're helping them by delivering that hardware.
So whilst it will bump up our revenues quite dramatically this year, it's not annualised recurring revenue, but it's really good money for us and a reasonable margin to boot. So, from a cashflow perspective and from a relationship perspective, we're really happy with the deal. We're also happy because this hardware typically lasts five or six years, so we're hoping we can go well beyond that three year contract with that customer on the hardware.Paul Sanger:
So Matt, obviously the new software, the new platform that you've been rolling out, clearly is having an impact to winning more contracts. Are we going to see more news on this with other parties over the coming months?Matthew Macfarlane:
Absolutely. So, existing customers are consistently asking us to move over to the new platform, which we're very encouraging of because it's so much stronger. But aside from that, our engagement level with new prospects using a paid pilot relationship where we ask the customer to pay us for three months in advance to test out what they think about the product, we've now run 10 paid pilots and seven of them have converted into 12 month contracts. The other three are still out there because they haven't finished their three months. So the strike rate is extraordinary for new customers taking on this product. Once they experience it firsthand, it's very hard for them to give it back to us. So that's one of the reasons we're so excited and have gone out with this capital raise.Paul Sanger:
So Matt, let's talk about the cap raise. You're currently in a trading halt. Can you tell us more about the capital raise, how much you're raising, and then any other details?Matthew Macfarlane:
Sure. So we've done a private placement of just under $2 million. The largest participants are our three largest shareholders, which is really heartening because one of them, Skip Tan, hasn't invested since before the IPOs. It's the first time they've reached in their pocket and contributed. We've got a big step up from Lance East Office, which is the office of Laurence Escalante, as well as our technical and commercial partners out of Japan, Macnica, who have increased their stake quite dramatically with this private placement.
Now, concurrent with that, we've also announced a shared purchase plan. So all of our retail investors who held stock on Tuesday evening will be able to participate in that, and we'd very much encourage them to think about coming on board. One of the other nice things about this particular capital raise is we're doing it at a premium to our five-day VWAP. So that's a pretty unusual thing in the market, to be issuing shares at a bit of a premium to market price. That took a bit of negotiations, but we're really proud to have got it away.Paul Sanger:
So Matt, look, clearly you're sending a strong message to the market. It's great to see that existing investors can clearly see the change of the wind with icetana and are keen to buy more shares. And just as importantly, you've got an SPP that you're doing that enables other retail shareholders to invest if they want to.Matthew Macfarlane:
I certainly hope so.Paul Sanger:
And Matt, just to finish up. The Middle East conglomerate is clearly a key strategic customer for the company. How much more business do you see coming from the Middle East going forward?Matthew Macfarlane:
So that particular company has, I think, 16 shopping malls with us, roughly 8,000 cameras operating with icetana currently. We believe with the new product, there's substantial opportunity to expand with them. They have other malls that are smaller in camera count, and there are numerous other opportunities with them. We believe once they experience the new product, we'll have a really strong opportunity to expand that relationship in the future. I don't expect that within the next few months, but certainly over the course of the coming 12 months, we would be looking proactively to increase our engagement with them.
We're also rolling out with another large Middle Eastern shopping mall conglomerate based in Kuwait right now, and we're deploying 1,000 cameras at a time in some of those shopping malls. So that's a very, very large deployment and utilising our new product, which gets us very excited.Paul Sanger:
Matt, many thanks for your time today. Clearly, a lot of good things happening at icetana, and I suspect we'll be catching up in the not-too-distant future. Have a great day. Thank you.Matthew Macfarlane:
Thanks very much, Paul. Great to be on the show.Ends