Arria heads down under – but keeps its roots in north-east

The boss of an Aberdeen University spin out company has pledged his commitment to keeping a base in the north-east as the firm seeks to raise £8.5million through stock market listings in New Zealand and Australia.

Stuart Rogers, the chairman and chief executive of Arria NLG, said the firm was “not retrenching” in the Granite city but merely making the New Zealand Stock Exchange it’s primary listing along with a secondary listing on the Australian Stock Exchange and then keeping its existing listing in London.

The currently AIM-listed firm was founded on specialist data software developed by Aberdeen academics. It acquired Data2Text, founded by professor of computing science Ehud Reiter and senior lecturer Dr Yaji Sripada, in 2013.

Mr Rogers, who will become the company’s non-executive chairman once the listings are complete and funds raised, said some of Arria’s founders and early investors are residents of New Zealand. He added that the company’s ground breaking ability to interpret data using artificial intelligence (AI) into natural language was being recognised Down Under, which means the region will provide the “capital platform to support the group’s global expansion plans within the AI category”.

He said: “This is about capital raising to fund future directions. This has no impact on our commitment to Aberdeen, the scientists and developers we have in Aberdeen – none of that changes.

He said of the company’s staff involved in science and development, about half remain at the firm’s base in the MacRobert building on the university’s campus in Old Aberdeen.

“From an operational standpoint, when we started four plus years ago all the science and development was in Aberdeen. We grew there. We are not retrenching in any way there. But our business has got more diverse.

“The core of the tech is principally the R&D and the work of the core of the platform in Aberdeen. But a lot of the customer facing work is being undertaken in Sydney. As our operations get more diverse, we are leveraging the world and the time zones in more than one place for our development.”

This summer, Arria said expects to launch a new standalone software product, Recount, which is aimed at small and medium-sized (SME) business owners.