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Garage startup powering Starbucks and Bakers Delight in $120m NZ sale

August 31, 2021

Read time: 3 min

Australian tech company Task Software, which is behind the software powering sales at Guzman y Gomez, Starbucks and Bakers Delight, has been sold in a $120 million deal with New Zealand’s Plexure Group.

Co-founder Jennifer Houden, who started Task more than 20 years ago with her husband Kym from their home, said the deal “just blows my mind.”

“We have had several approaches trying to acquire us over the years, this is not our first rodeo, but this one makes sense as all the staff stay and Task stays,” she said. “It is the best outcome ever.”

Plexure, which is dual listed in New Zealand and on the ASX, will fund the purchase through a mix of $30 million in cash and $78.5 million in shares. An additional $11.5 million in shares will be available by the way of performance rights for some Task staff.

The Houdens started Task in 2000 selling third-party software and hardware to restaurant groups, however, the business really took off when their two sons Daniel, a software engineer and Dean, a software designer, developed and commercialised proprietary software for the company, with Daniel teaching himself to code in the family’s garage.

This software has taken Task global enabling it to provide transaction management platforms for business customers including point-of-sale, online ordering, loyalty, kiosk, and mobile apps across restaurants, food service, entertainment and stadium venues.

Under the terms of the deal, Daniel will run the Plexure Group while Dean will continue to run Task.

Daniel said there were a lot of “constructive conversations” around the family dinner table over the last 20 years.

“Living and breathing your business from a family perspective means every waking moment of thought goes into it,” he said. “It’s not for the faint-hearted that’s for sure.”

The company recorded $13.4 million ($NZ14 million) in revenue last year and while it took a hit from the coronavirus pandemic, Dean said Task had been lucky as it operated in multiple verticals.

“At any given period one customer might be having a hard time but other customers are actually doing very well,” he said. “It’s been challenging, but the business is quite robust, and we’ve been able to navigate the waters.”

The deal with Plexure will give Task a larger footprint in artificial intelligence and customer loyalty with Plexure servicing McDonald’s in over 64 countries around the world.

“It allows the two businesses to come together and control the entire customer experience,” Dean said.

Plexure chair Phil Norman said the deal enabled the company to access Task’s list of blue-chip clients alongside offering multiple segment deployments, growing recurring revenue and a strong leadership team.

“With this acquisition, we will enable clients to deliver a better experience and a personalised and seamless service to all their customers, on mobile devices and throughout the venue, through an integrated, highly scalable platform,” he said.

– Cara Waters

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