* Shares hit A$3.60, listed a year ago at 20 cents per share
* Company was founded by ex-footballers
* Expects over 250 mln deliveries a year through Yum deal (Recasts; adds investor comment, company background)
By Byron Kaye
Dec 1 (Reuters) - An Australian software startup said it signed global deals with Amazon.com Inc and Yum! Brands Inc, sending its shares soaring and enriching its ex-footballer founders amid hopes the firm would benefit from its clients’ vast reach.
GetSwift Ltd, based in Melbourne city, where Amazon located its first Australian distribution warehouse, said in a short statement on Friday that it “signed a global agreement with Amazon” without offering more details.
In a separate statement, it said it signed a multi-year partnership with the operator of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut fast food restaurants, allowing them to use its software in 20 countries in the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
The deals, and the market’s reaction to them, mark a stratospheric rise for a logistics software company which listed less than a year earlier, formed from the bones of a liquor delivery service started by three recently retired footballers.
Shares of GetSwift leapt 84 percent to be trading at A$3.60 by mid-session, compared to a 20 cent issue price before listing in December 2016. The broader Australian market was up 0.4 percent.
Its A$282 million market capitalisation on Friday compared to a value of about A$25 million upon listing, and suggested a windfall for one-quarter shareholder and managing director Joel Macdonald, 33, who retired from Australian Rules football in 2013.
Macdonald was not immediately available for comment.
“There’s really been no modern I.T. brought to bear in last-mile logistics, and these guys are doing it,” said Neil Carter, head of active equities at pension fund investor IFM Investors, which owns 5.3 percent of GetSwift.
Last mile refers to the supply chain step between a package arriving at the post office or warehouse and the recipient’s address.
GetSwift Executive Chairman Bane Hunter said in the Yum! Brands statement the company was “extremely pleased to be partnering with one of what is indisputably a global icon”.
The Australian company said it expected the Yum! deal would result in more than 250 million deliveries a year being made through its platform. Yum could not be immediately reached for comment.
It said it signed the Amazon deal just as the global retailer continued an order-taking trial ahead of opening for business in Australia. An Amazon spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Ben McCallum, portfolio manager of Regal Funds Management Pty Ltd - GetSwift’s second-biggest shareholder with 9.8 percent - said GetSwift stands to be a significant beneficiary of e-commerce growth.
“They will ultimately become one of the great Australian technology stories,” he said.
$1 = 1.3217 Australian dollars Reporting by Byron Kaye; Additional reporting by Shashwat Pradhan; Editing by Richard Pullin and Christopher Cushing