Investing in America, listing in Jamaica

BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter

Wednesday, September 12, 2012    

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A new Florida-based, Jamaican-owned, diversified holdings company is making plans to list on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

Keystone Augusta kicked off investments three months ago, when it purchased a minority stake in US-based technology company Crunchy Logistics.

The holding company was established to help Jamaicans invest in private, US-based companies, said David Mullings, co-founder of the company and a regular columnist for the Jamaica Observer.

Crunchy Logistics — a technology firm ranked 193rd of 500 fastest growing companies in the US by Inc Magazine — was the first investment made by the Jamaicans overseas, and fits within Keystone's main strategy.

"We want to buy into value-invested models with durable competitive advantage for the long term," said Mullings.

Mullings, along with his brother Robert and business partner Kirk Anthony Hamilton, modelled the company after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

Buffett, who is considered to be the most successful investor in the 20th century, is renowned for his long-term investment strategy.

Keystone doesn't plan to invest in companies in Jamaica, but will focus on overseas investments in areas such as cloud computing, mobile technology, and sustainable technology (eco-friendly products).

Crunchy was identified as a profitable company, which has sold software and hardware to the likes of Nike, Hard Rock Café and fashion retailer Zappos.

Inc Magazine, a New-York based monthly, publishes an annual list of the fastest-growing private companies in the US. Seven million companies were assessed for the most recent list, but to be one of the top performers, businesses needed a minimum of 770 per cent sales growth.

Crunchy ranked number 14 in the US IT services industry, and fourth overall in Central Florida.

The company specialises in audio/visual environments, interactive systems and software development for business media needs across the globe.

Crunchy's revenue was US$2.1 million ($188 million) last year, when the firm employed nine persons.



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