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Software millionaire has sights set on Wales.

Byline: Martin Shipton Chief Reporter

A 26-YEAR-OLD US software multimillionaire is striving to make Bridgend a centre of excellence for expanding businesses - all thanks to an unlikely friendship he struck up with a Welsh politician while in university.

Last year Andrew Auerbach set up Ideoba at the Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed near Bridgend with former Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price, whom he met while both were studying at the prestigious Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company has since attracted the backing of private investors including former Welsh Development Agency (WDA) chairman Sir Roger Jones.

Using advanced technology to carry out much more sophisticated and extensive Google-type searches, the company is able to match organisations with the expertise they need to progress an idea.

Mr Auerbach, the firm's chief executive, said: "It's a tool that I'm certain will be of enormous benefit across the world.

"If as a business you're going to innovate, you need sometimes to get in touch with people who are not immediately known to you. We are able to bring people and organisations together who will make the connections that will create prosperity in the future.

"I was persuaded by Adam to bring the concept to Wales, which I think is a tremendous country with very capable and friendly people.

'I've been help we've "Various other countries, including Ireland and Switzerland, have already tried to get us to relocate, but we're happy to be in Wales.

Hart, the AM Janice Ideoba "I've been very impressed by the help we've been given by Edwina Hart, the Economy Minister at the Welsh Government and by Janice Gregory, the local AM.

"It makes a huge difference when you can make quick contact with decision-makers."

He said the Welsh Government had agreed to fund the company by up to PS1m, depending on its ability to attract private sector investment.

Last month Mr Auerbach, who made his first million as a teenager, went to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he met a number of potential private investors. One of them - an expatriate Welshman who lives in Switzerland - does not want to be identified at this stage.

But Sir Roger Jones, one of Wales' best-known business figures, is happy to be open about his association with Ideoba.

He said: "This is an exciting proposition and sometimes you need to throw your hat in the ring for the benefit of Wales."

Mr Auerbach is especially pleased that Sir Roger has come on board: he admires him for setting up Penn Pharmaceuticals, an innovative drugs company that developed a safer version of paracetamol.

the Edwina and John Elfed Jones, a former chairman of the Welsh Language Board, is a nonexecutive director and the company is chaired by Harry Lewis, who taught Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. Talks are also under way with Google, with the possibility of a future partnership.

Auerbach Mr Auerbach said: "We're currently employing six people full-time and another five half-time. They are all highly skilled and highly paid engineers.

"As we expand, with further investment, there will be more jobs created."

'I've been very impressed by the help we've been given by Edwina Hart, the Economy Minister and AM Janice Gregory...' Ideoba chief executive Andrew Auerbach


Sir Roger Jones

Andrew Auerbach, chief executive of Ideoba
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 7, 2015
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