Advanced mathematics: A girl's best friend?

(3 News)
(3 News)

Otago is better known for its gold than diamonds, but a small Wanaka business is hoping to change that.

Diamonds are said to be a girl's best friend and oh-so romantic, while advanced mathematical equations and algorithms are not so much.

But according to entrepreneur Richard Prout, the two go hand-in-hand.

"I often hear retailers saying it's unfair; people are coming over the internet and competing with small local New Zealand businesses and I say, 'No, no, no, it's the other way around.'

"Small local New Zealand businesses can now sell around the world and compete with the biggest companies," he says.

That's exactly what the millionaire and his business partner, chief jewellery designer Alice Herald, are doing.

"We end up right at the top competing with Cartier and Tiffany, and people like that are names you've heard.

"We have some beautiful products Alice has designed, but we also have a lot of technical savvy that gets us to compete at that level as well."

By using mathematical and programming skills, Mr Prout has designed sophisticated advertising strategies to target those looking online for jewellery.

He says the idea targets a range of people.

"It could be a guy working on a mine and he's remote from loved ones, no jeweller nearby. He'd like to make sure that special person back home remembers him. [Or it] can be an Army person overseas again having some difficulties buying," he says.

It seems to be working, with the Wanaka-based company having shipped millions-worth of jewellery around the world, and its owners hope a crowd-funding initiative will help to break into the lucrative United States market.

The listing on crowdfunding site Snowball went live today, and if all goes well the entrepreneur pair is aiming for a listing on the NZX in the near future.

3 News