Syrp Limited

Helping home-grown New Zealand businesses to go global

  • Born from a conversation between two mates, Syrp Limited has grown from a two-man operation inside a Queenstown shed to a team of six, operating out of a 200-square-metre warehouse in Auckland.
  • In just a few years and with PwC’s help, the founders of Syrp have made their offerings available in more than 50 countries.

A PwC Private Business client, Syrp’s goal is to provide exceptional film equipment to independent film makers at prices they can afford. The company designs gear that bridges the gap between creativity and technology, giving film makers the tools they need to get the shots they want – without the need of technical expertise. Along the journey, PwC has assisted Directors Ben Ryan and Chris Thomson in managing cash flows, obtaining a Callaghan Innovation grant and offering advice about key international markets.

The idea for the business came about during a conversation in Sydney in 2011 about the growing popularity of using digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) for film-making rather than just for photography. At that time, there weren’t many accessories for these cameras that enabled the video function to be suitable for film-making. By September that same year, Ben and Chris had formed Syrp Limited.

“In the beginning, setting up the business had meant that Chris and I had to be a jack-of-all-trades which covered everything from managing production, research and development, customer service, marketing and setting up the supply chain. It was a huge challenge to get it set up and moving in the right direction. Now that we have employed some amazing new staff to help manage these processes, we can focus on what we are good at and continue growing the business,” Ben says.

Following its success with Kickstarter in 2012 – raising US$636,766 – the company has grown to employ six staff, increased product offerings and now sells to more than 50 countries.

How we’ve helped

Darin Stewart, a Private Business associate in PwC’s Dunedin office, has been working with Directors Ben and
Chris from the start. They attended the University of Otago together and have remained good friends and business contacts. Darin has helped them to manage initial tax implications from the Kickstarter campaign, implemented their accounting systems, provided management reports, and assisted with the funding processes of banks and grant providers to help grow the business. Now, he is on hand whenever Ben, Chris or the company needs assistance.

Dunedin Managing Partner Richard McKnight and Auckland Executive Director Rod Tapp ran a Come Think
With Us session with Ben and Chris to talk about further expanding the business, including a discussion about managing cash flows and creating a business plan. “PwC is proud to work with innovative companies such as Syrp and assist them on their journeys of building home-grown New Zealand enterprises,” Richard says.

“Ben says the PwC team has been “instrumental” in managing Syrp’s cash flow forecast and keeping the accounts in order. “As we are in a high-growth stage of our business, managing the timing of our production schedule with revenue is critical to staying alive and it’s easy to lose track of. The team at PwC keep everything in check for us and make sure we’re not dipping down too far from month to month and we can still make everything we need to. More recently they’ve assisted us in obtaining a grant from Callaghan Innovation and given advice about key international markets from a tax and import perspective,” Ben says.

Going places

In the short term, Syrp has a couple of new motion-control products in development that expand on the company’s core product line. In the long term, there are plans to develop a whole system of products that work together as part of a wider ecosystem for customers.

“The focus in general remains on making amazing films and supporting film-makers and photographers, so we have a number of other initiatives to launch around growing our community, too, which is exciting,” Ben says.

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