Everyday, New Zealand retailers lose around two million dollars to theft. This shocking statistic led to the birth in 2012 of Auckland-based start-up Auror (formerly called Eyedentify). Led by co-founders Phil Thompson and Tom Batterbury, Auror was the runner-up in the 2012 Velocity $100k Challenge.
The co-founders’ goal was to create software that could be used simultaneously by the Police and retailers to share information and effectively reduce the number of thefts. As a key player in the process of theft prevention, it was vital that Auror establish a strong relationship with the New Zealand Police, a relationship that was cemented with the National Partnership Agreement .
Initially, Phil and Tom targeted smaller businesses in metropolitan areas, running trials in the Auckland retail centre of Newmarket. The co-founders soon realised that large retailers would, in fact, benefit more from their product and they changed their target market. In the past four years, Auror has successfully been recruited by such major retailers as Countdown, Briscoes, Rebel Sports and Kmart. After its successful venture into the New Zealand industry, Auror is now expanding into the Australasian region with the Westfield Australasia Pilot.
Over the past four years many calculated risks have been taken to establish Auror in the retail sector. Both Phil and Tom left their full-time jobs – as a lawyer specialising in intellectual property and privacy, and as a management consultant, respectively – to dedicate themselves to Auror. Their commitment to “earning our entrepreneurial stripes” has paid off handsomely: in 2015 they jointly won the title of Young Innovator of the Year at the 2015 New Zealand Innovators Awards.
Auror is well on its way to becoming recognised as the best solution to a big problem. Thanks to its innovative anti-theft software, retailers are finally able to take a proactive and preventative approach to fighting retail crime.