Minds + Machines announced today that it has spent approximately £840,000 (or about $1.4 Million USD) to develop its wholly-own registrar, Minds + Machines Registrar Limited. And that is only payments to an external consultant named Needly.
As set out in the Company’s readmission document published earlier in March this year, the Company engaged Needly Inc. (“Needly”), a web-tool developer backed by a range of West Coast investors including Upfront Ventures, to develop the working registrar platform for Minds + Machines Registrar Limited (Ireland) which was initially launched in November 2013. Needly is providing a range of additional software development and support services to the Group, including developing Minds + Machines’ Premium Name database, designing and implementing dedicated registrar services for each top level domain launch, and has also developed a range of test online marketing initiatives to provide Minds + Machines with key insights into the market-place.
The total payments to be made to Needly under the current arrangements are expected to amount in aggregate to approximately £840,000. The Board anticipates that Needly’s development work will be completed in October this year by which time the Company intends to have expanded its own in-house capability to support the ongoing future development of its registrar business without need for further consulting and support services from Needly.
Under the terms of an agreement entered into today between Needly and the Company (“Agreement”), Needly has also agreed, inter alia, that the Group may hire at the Group’s sole discretion certain employees of Needly and offer and distribute any of Needly’s current and future products and services (on no less favourable terms to the Group than the terms offered by Needly to any third party distributor). The Company has full ownership of any intellectual property rights in respect of the development of its registrar platform.
Michael Salazar, CFO, added:
Needly played a key role in developing our sales distribution channel having first built us the platform and now the tools that enable us to develop direct relationships with our customers across multiple top level domains. We are now bringing these functions in-house to support the ongoing development of our registrar business.
Needly’s scope of work and charges are being overseen by the independent directors of the Company, comprising Michael Salazar, Elliott Noss and Keith Teare (the “Independent Directors”) as Frederick Krueger is a 53.5 per cent. investor in Needly, and the relationship with Needly is being treated as a related party transaction (Antony Van Couvering and Caspar Von Veltheim are also investors in Needly owning 2.99 per cent and 0.12 per cent. of Needly respectively). The Independent Directors consider, having consulted with the Company’s Nominated Adviser, that the arrangements with Needly and the Agreement are fair and reasonable in so far as all shareholders are concerned and in particular, that Needly’s service is cost and time effective in meeting the Company’s key business objectives and ICANN’s rules.