Article – BusinessDesk
Blair Bryant resigns as director of Powerhouse; ouster meeting cancelled
By Jonathan Underhill
June 30 (BusinessDesk) – Blair Bryant has resigned from the board of Powerhouse Ventures and as a result the ASX-listed, Christchurch-based technology incubator has cancelled a special meeting of shareholders it had called on July 21 in Sydney to vote him off.
The board removed Bryant as chairman after it was made public that he failed to disclose his bankruptcy in the US but it couldn’t kick him off the board without a vote of shareholders.
“Today Mr Bryant resigned from his position of director at Powerhouse,” said new chairman Russell Yardley. “This came after the Powerhouse board called a shareholders meeting to discuss his removal. We can now advise shareholders that that meeting has been cancelled.”
Bryant was made to relinquish the chair after it emerged he hadn’t disclosed that he had previously filed for bankruptcy in the US in 2007 before being discharged in 2008. Powerhouse spokesman Greg Slade said at the time that in Bryant’s application form, in answer to a specific question about bankruptcy, “he ticked no”.
Powerhouse, which is based in Christchurch, raised A$10.2 million in an initial public offering, with the shares debuting on the ASX at the offer price of A$1.07. At the time, it said the proceeds will largely go to expanding the firm’s $20.7 million investment portfolio of early stage companies that were collectively worth $133.6 million.
Since then it has continued to make investments, including up to $450,000 in a new ed-tech software company, EdPotential, spun out of Victoria University’s Faculty of Education, and Objective Acuity, a spin-out from The University of Auckland that has developed a revolutionary eye technology. Among other investments is CropLogic, a Christchurch-based developer of technology that allows farmers to more accurately control inputs such as fertiliser and water, and Syft Technologies, a gas analysis firm it sold out of last month.
Powerhouse received funding from Callaghan Innovation as did some of the start-ups it invested in such as CropLogic and Callaghan says its relationship with the company “remains unchanged” and it continues to provide technology incubator services under Callaghan’s pilot scheme.
The biggest shareholder in Powerhouse is Christchurch City Council-owned Canterbury Development Corp (CDC) with 22.5 percent.