1983 – 1989 | Humble beginnings, big dreams
Matthew Simmons officially started what was to evolve into Arvus Group International when he was a 12-year-old boy using his father’s converted photography ‘dark room’ as a workshop.
Back then his business activity was repairing speakers. He would pick them up after school on his bike from businesses throughout Christchurch and work on them in the evenings and weekends.
During his school years he also built dozens of crazy speaker enclosures many of which he sold to his teachers and other customers.
Even in this early stage it was obvious he had an innate gift for understanding how sound was behaving in various materials and shapes, he said it was as if he could see sound. Matthew also seemed to have a gift for attracting help from others.
In 1987 (he was 16yrs old) Matthew contracted a near fatal virus and spent many months in hospital. During his 2-year convalescence Matthew read countless biographies of artists, inventors, world leaders etc, which greatly inspired him to find his ‘own path’. He also managed to continue repairing the odd speaker to pay for his book and compact disc consumption.
During 1989, the last year of his schooling, Matthew managed to build up his little business to be servicing 40 firms and was already making and selling custom designed hi-fi speakers using heavily modified ‘off-the shelf’ drivers.
1990 – 1993 | University, life commitment
Matthew decided to leave home and study music composition at Otago University. Matthew also produced many original pieces of electronic music.
He rented various studios around Dunedin and continued to repair and build speakers.
In 1991 he attempted to launch a unique loudspeaker product made from PVC pipes. He sold most of his possessions including hundreds of compact discs, and books, speakers, bike etc. to finance the venture.
He made a trip from the bottom to the top of New Zealand with 2 pairs of his new speakers in the boot of his Triumph 2000 and visited dozens of Hi-Fi shops on the way to get interest in his new product.
He failed spectacularly.
Matthew had to get a job at the local record shop to pay off his year of accumulated bills.
In July 1991 (while working in the Record Store) Matthew picked up a car magazine and read about the featured Audi Avus Matthew was so inspired by its design that he made a commitment to make one for himself. With youthful abandon, he makes up a banner with all the pictures and writes on it “Made by Matthew Simmons November 2010.” 19 years in the future! Over the years he collected ideas, people and thoughts on this design. Although he has missed his launch date the project is becoming a reality and has evolved to become the revolutionary Carvus – Car 2.0 project.
11th July 1992, Matthew met his wife and business partner to be Julie at a University dance – they got engaged 6 days later.
Julie and Matthew leave Dunedin in 1994 to start a life in Christchurch.
1994 – 98 | Time to fly
Back in Christchurch, Matthew and Julie decided to really expand their repair business. A full business plan and branding exercise was implemented with the help of his big brother Mark. A brochure was sent to more than a 140 firms in New Zealand that were related to the audio and electronics industry.
By the end of that year Matthew was repairing up to a hundred loudspeakers a month. Contract help was brought in when required.
New Years Eve 1994 Matthew and Julie get married.
In the following years Matthew repaired or oversaw the repair of thousands of speakers.
It was over this period that Matthew was formulating his own theories on loudspeakers and investing heavily in countless prototypes.
9th September 1995 The Press “New shapes break the sound barrier”
While Julie is pregnant, Matthew and Julie set up a small business making Year Planners for Students. Matthew sold advertising space and designed it while Julie organised the contact list and ran the financial side. They did this profitable little project for three years.
1996 – Matthew and Julie celebrate birth of their daughter Franca.
1997 – Matthew decides to start a new brand of speakers so he can sell “one off models” made from odd speakers. Looking at his Audi Avus banner, (which hung above his studio desk) he is inspired by the Avus name and the font used. He added the “R” and the Arvus brand began
1997 – Julie has a passion for learning and education – late one night Matthew and Julie realized that their respective passions for Language and Sound may actually intersect in the near future – they coin this possible union “Linguasonics”. Linguasonics is now a reality and both Julie and Matthew are working with a number of universities around the globe on a special research project that will have far reaching effect on the understanding of sound perception and language.
1997 – Matthew and Julie celebrate birth of their son Xavier.
1997 – Matthew is approached by a local successful businessman and engineer to help him bring an innovative Loudspeaker design to reality. The Sphear Environ™. With both men working together and combining experience the product is completed almost 5 years later. A tor de force of engineering and with a sound much larger than its size the Environ is an amazing accomplishment – sadly it was just too costly to make – Only 20 pairs were sold – however the process of engineering that Matthew learnt on this project spurned a wider interest in engineering and manufacturing processes. click to see pics
1997 – QS-5 – 240 Pairs sold in 11 months, first production Arvus speaker. This product funded much early R&D in loudspeakers. Click here for Pics
In 1998 they branched-out even further and OemSpec™ Audio was established. Within 6 months OemSpec™ was supplying custom-engineered drivers (raw speakers), which were designed and assembled in Christchurch, to 9 small Speaker Manufacturers. Most based in NZ and the UK.
Within a few months the OemSpec™, business was growing much faster than predicted and it was realized, after crunching through the numbers, that it was going to become a logistic nightmare. Deciding not to invest in automation and assembly tooling OemSpec™ was gradually wound down over a period of months.
In that same period Matthew and Julie had a big reevaluation of what they wanted from their business and lifestyle.
From this intense ‘think tank’ they decided the following would underpin their future:
● They did not want any bank debt. They would aim to fund their business growth from sales.
● They did not want their business to be 100% dependent on any single market, customer or supplier.
● They did not want a factory that required many employees or large fixed overheads.
● They wanted to have fun along the way and thus attract similar minded people from all over the world.
They sold off their customers and components to other speaker repair firms.
1999 -2002 | Think global, act global
1999 was the year that Arvus Loudspeakers really came alive.
In the ensuing four years almost 400 pairs of Arvus speakers were sold, via the internet and through referrals, in over 20 countries worldwide. This was all done with no reviews or magazine advertising and the sales were not via a retailer.
All the raw speakers (woofers and tweeters) were either custom designed and manufactured offshore or hand made in their small Christchurch based workshop.
2000 – Matthew and Julie celebrate birth of their son Gabriel.
In 2001 Arvus Loudspeakers presented itself to the Public for the first time at the ‘Big Boys Toys’ show in Auckland. Here they demonstrated the grandeur of the Proscenium and the power of their insane 250Kg, 2M high BladderBuster subwoofer. Their stand was voted the best newcomer at the show.
2001 – Matthew did post-production and editing on 2 tracks for an album by Balligomingo, released worldwide on Windham Hill – BMG
2002 – Matthew was contracted to do development consultancy work for Fusion Car Audio on to improve the performance of their subwoofers and component Loudspeakers
2003 | Strategy, cinema, partnerships
Matthew and Julie share core strengths in networking, establishing trust in relationships and are both habitual learners.
In 2003 they made a conscious decision to work towards advancing their business into new areas using these qualities.
Using their core team of engineers and already expanding international business networks, they landed some simple yet pivotal research & development work.
Mid 2003, Arvus was contacted by a large US based organization to do an acoustic development contract. After a few short weeks the organization retracted the contract, as they no longer required a solution to their problem, however Matthew decided to keep the development going as this new field of Infrasound acoustics intrigued him. The R&D has now matured and a new venture has been established.
Late 2003 Arvus was asked to develop a unique sound system for a dark ride amusement ride the Emperors Tomb. Part of the solution was the invention of a speaker with Variable impedance. Arvus receives its first GPRS Grant from Technology New Zealand to support the development of this technology; this is the beginning of what has become an important strategic alliance with the New Zealand Government.
Matthew and Julie decided that they did not want to pursue the DVD/Home theatre market, but could see that Cinema would need a marketable point of difference from Home Theatre in the near future. From this decision was born the move for Arvus to develop the Hypacoustic™ Cinema brand.
First cinema contract completed in November 2003 for Regent Ashburton.
Arvus is contacted to supply some raw loudspeaker drivers by fellow New Zealander. In the ensuing 8 Years Theophany establishes brand, international sales, and builds a large factory to cope with growth. Arvus supplies their unique loudspeakers to Theophany from 2003 to 2010.
2004 – 2007 | Bigger projects, planting seeds
Matthew designs a custom turbo Intercooler using peltier devices and decides that thermoelectric power generation has huge potential for future energy applications if more efficient solutions are developed – a long-term research path is started.
Arvus supplies a complete audio system for a twin-plex cinema for the founder of Electric Lady Studios (Jimi Hendrix – Stevie Wonder)
While driving a fellow engineer to a cinema project, Matthew has the idea of a whole new form of traction for automobiles. When back in the office he frantically makes as many notes & sketches as possible and then shelves the files for a few years. This is the moment when merely building a copy of the Audi Avus evolved into the Carvus Project.
Arvus flagship product the Horizon is completed – over the following 5 years over 50 pairs are sold – see pics here
Second GPRS grant from Technology New Zealand
Arvus builds the world’s first onboard karaoke amusement ride vehicle, for the Wiggles Big Red Car ride in Dreamworld – Gold Coast – Each of the 5 cars has now travelled over 3 million kilometres.
Arvus Group has over 40 firms and experts within their network working on various projects.
Hypascreen™ development started
30th May 2006 Tone “Sound dreamers”
November – First official Hypacoustic™ Cinema completed in Marton, New Zealand.
16th December 2006 – The Press “Getting emotional at the movies”
Arvus works closely with Simtech Limited on prototyping of autonomous electric vehicles for Disney, Dreamworld and other companies – this is the genesis of the thinking process that further reinforced the Carvus™ project.
Established a relationship with two US based multinationals to be an external source R&D. Many successful contracts completed.
Julie decides to further push the Arvus Groups’ knowledge base into the understanding of sound/psychology/language and how they influence each other. Julie starts University papers in Child Communication Disorders
By the end of the year four Cinemas have converted to Hypacoustic™ in Australia.
The USD140,000.00 Prerenaissance loudspeaker project started. This product is designed to showcase all Arvus innovative and advanced loudspeaker technology.
New Zealand Government supports Arvus infrasound technology development with further funding.
29th November 2007 – Hypacoustic Cinema – Focal Point
Arvus Group becomes a major sponsor of the New Zealand Solar Car Challenge – Solarfern.
As part of a small NZ based team, Arvus Group are contracted for blue skies research for Imagineering, the development division of Disney. Matthew submits a concept of a magnetic levitation luge for a future ride. Impressed by the concept Disney decides to patent the design worldwide, with all three noted on the Patent.
2008 | Expansion
Matthew and Julie attend Global Strategies workshop taught by Ken Morse – Managing Director MIT Entrepreneurship Center, Boston – USA
Matthew travels to Hollywood to finalise Hypacoustic™ installation in one of Kodak’s screening rooms. In the subsequent 3 years dozens of Hollywood films are edited and produced using the Hypacoustic™ system.
Arvus Group and Design Energy partner up again to supply a custom electric motor and grid tied power system for wind turbine project in Dubai. This ambitious project was the brainchild of NZ Sculptor Andrew Drummond however due to the GFC the 40 million dollar project was abandoned in October.
NZ Research Grant for further infrasound research started. This is a year long project.
18th August 2008 Tone Magazine – “The future of Cinema”
The first Hypascreen™ launched.
Four MBA students from University of Auckland Business school conduct a research paper on Hypacoustic™.
Prerenaissance launched to coincide with silver jubilee of Arvus Group. see pics
3 MBA students from University of Auckland Business school spend 1 week in Greece to on a Research Project to help Arvus Group further develop key business relationships for expanding their EU business.
Matthew and Julie decide to do strategic plan for the now called Carvus project and explore the feasibility of this long term project. They start to search for the 6 key engineers that will help with the project.
21st December 2008 – Gadget Guy – Prerenaissance
Matthew Simmons travels to India for 12 days to expand the Hypacoustic™ cinema opportunity there.
2009 | International relations
Carvus™ project started, with key goals and timelines set.
First Hypacoustic™ cinema system sent to Russia
Julie starts University papers in Linguistics.
Arvus Group is forced to take the 2nd largest Legal firm in New Zealand to court over patenting issues – After 15 months of a stressful legal process – Arvus Group wins the following year.
Julie and Matthew travel to London to demonstrate their Hypacoustic™ system at the British Film Institute – London UK
Arvus is asked to urgently to supply custom speakers for Dolby USA – A mutually beneficial relationship is established.
Matthew visits Hong Kong CineAsia to establish business prospects for Hypacoustic in China and the great Asia region
30th August 2009 – Arvus featured in NZ Government magazine on R&D
Arvus Group invited to be part of a meeting with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to discuss possible resource sharing for the future Square Kilometre Array project. Matthew gets very excited about the scale and potential of the project and decides to get involved for the long term.
2010 | Tipping points
Arvus asked to produce the music for the Motion Title for Chinese Cinema chain Lumiere Pavillions, this is now viewed by tens of thousands of Chinese cinema patrons every month
Linked to 20100115 Lumiere Trailer
Arvus asked to design and supply custom speakers for Dolby Australia – their second project for them.
As Arvus is becoming more established internationally both in clients and outsourcing, Julie and Matthew choose adjust their lifestyle and business structure to allow their business to be run from almost anywhere on the globe where there is an internet connection, just incase they have to relocate at short notice.
They thus decide to implement the following:
● To rent both their home and business premises – on short term leases.
● To use realtime online cloud based back-up for all work.
● To invest in custom designed dataflow infrastructure more suited to their unique business model.
● To start introducing their 3 children online e-learning options so that they could continue their education regardless of schooling options available.
● To work actively to establish new relationships with other manufacturing, engineering and design companies in Asia and Europe.
● To use multiple sources for the same function of supply and logistics to incase there is a significant external event that affects their business.
● To ‘de-junk’ their belongings to allow fast relocation if required.
Hypacoustic™ unanimously accepted into the International Cinema Technology Association.
Arvus Group develops strategic development partnership with Onkyo Corporation in Japan.
Hypascreen™ – Veiw2View dual sided projection screen development started.
Hypacoustic™ wins a contract to supply dozens of systems in China.
Arvus starts new division – Arvus Digital and immediately begins development of the world’s first multi-channel AES/EBU to HDMI Audio interface.
4 Hypacoustic systems for Nova Cinemas in Melbourne Australia Completed
AES/EBU to HDMI interface completed – first 30 units installed in China, India, Australia and New Zealand, www.aes-hdmi.com goes online
Hypacoustic 3 plex in Grafton complete. One large 1200 seat Cinema and two 180 Seat cinemas.
18th November 2010 – Saraton Cinema launched.
Matthew travels to China 4 times, India twice and Australia 6 times.
September 4th at 4.34am Christchurch has a 7.1 Earthquake – Matthew, Julie and their 3 Children experience this in their home and thus decide to temporarily leave Christchurch for 2 weeks.
November – 3 Multi-Plex sites for Lumiere Pavillions in China complete. Changshu, Nanjing and Huai’An.
Arvus Group Hypascreen™ lands contract to supply a large 20 screen projection solution for Singapore Telecom headquaters.
Neodymium (the rare earth magnet used in Loudspeakers and motors) starts to rapidly increase in value – Matthew starts to feel that traditional loudspeaker technology is becoming outdated and that a new disrupting technology is not too far away.
After over 25 years of speaker evolution, he starts to lose his passion for loudspeakers and begins to look for a new long-term path for Arvus Group. After much discussion Matthew and Julie feel they should look to the energy sector.
2011 | Evolving opportunities
14th January 2011 – Arvus Digital’s first of 4 converters launched on ProSoundWeb
January 20th – Another significant aftershock – Julie and Matthew decide that in the near future that they will leave Christchurch, but do not yet know where to.
February – Matthew and Julie decide to further expand their loudspeaker supply business and plan to launch Arvus OEM in April 2011 – work on this starts immediately.
February 22nd – An extremely violent and shallow 6.3 Earthquake strikes at 12.21pm. It’s recorded as having the fastest rate of ground acceleration of any recorded earthquake – 2.2g’s. Matthew, Julie and their youngest son are having lunch when it happens the table lifts in the air over 1.5metres. All the family are OK, but their son Xavier is in the central business district at the time and cannot be contacted for 8 hours after the quake. Over 180 people are killed in the Quake. Julie and Matthew decide to permanently leave Christchurch as soon as possible..
Matthew, Julie and their children, sleep on the floor at Matthew’s sisters unaffected home, while packing up their home. They decide to keep only some of their belongings – get in their car and drive to find a new home and make a new start at life in the North Island for the short term.
March – Homeless living in Motels, Julie and Matthew are invited to be Judges for the MBA presentations at Auckland University Business School – which they agree to. On the way back from Auckland they decide to make a new home in the small but very modern lakeside town of Taupo. Within one week, they have found a home/business premises and the children are in new schools. Although the business interrupted for a couple of months continuation is not a problem.
March – www.oemloudspeakers.com goes online
April – Matthew and Julie have a series of meetings with GNS Science to learn more about the New Zealand and international geothermal power industry. Even in these first stage meetings synergies between GNS Science and Arvus Group are found.
May – Sony® contacts Arvus Digital™ and invests in the development of the first 8 Channel HDMI to AES/EBU converter.
June – The SingTel Headquarters Hypascreen™ project successfully completed. This is currently the worlds largest indoor retail projection system and showcases the technical achievement of the View2View Hypascreen technology. – view on youtube.
June – After years of intermittent development, Arvus Group is now committed to its new Geocoustics™ technology path and discontinues all future loudspeaker based technology development and products excluding any ArvusOEM projects.
August – Arvus Digital starts development of 8 channel Firewire to HDMI converter.
September – Matthew invited to the Australian and NZ SKA project symposium based in Te Papa – Wellington.
October – The NZ Government presents product briefs from about 50 NZ based High Tech companies to “Green Tech” Guru, Vinod Khosla.
He was visiting New Zealand in November. Arvus Group was one of eight chosen by Mr Khosla to share further about their technology and learn from his vast experience. Matthew is inspired to further explore being involved in the energy sector.
20th November 2011 – Tone article “Innovation rules”
2012 | Future thinking
January – Arvus Group is contracted by the Economic Development Agency of the Taupo District Council (EGLT) to work with and support their emerging businesses many of whom are in the energy sector. One new company that impresses Matthew is NZ Bio-Energy Solutions LTD.
January – Hypascreen Ultra4K™ development started.
February – Arvus commits to developing an innovative solid-state geothermal thermoelectric power generator. A trail 2Kw system is planned for completion by mid 2013. The world unique technology is called Thermagenz™
March – Starts development of USB to HDMI converter.
March – Arvus Group is asked to do a non-biased due diligence project on the possible technical opportunities of investing in Thorium reactor technology for an undisclosed client. The intense one month project revealed many advantages of the Thorium reactor designs and many influential companies and individuals in this emerging industry were contacted. Although the primary investor decided not to pursue the opportunities, Matthew and his team are now pursuing associated technological development.
April – Matthew is appointed as General Manager of the New Zealand Clean Energy Centre for a nine month transitional position. Over this period Matthew becomes immersed in all aspects of clean-tech, plus is asked to host many international delegations. During this time Matthew is listening and learning to the energy sectors’ challenges and opportunities.
April – Matthew and his core team of international engineers have a significant think tank over a series of conference calls and decide to commit to a long term strategy to get involved in the energy sector with some key moral drives put in place – the Arvus Energy™ project is born.
April – first level design blueprints of Thermagenz™ completed.
May – Arvus Group becomes a member of Geothermal New Zealand.
MAY – Arvus Digital completes development of the world’s first HDMI to AES/EBU converter. The HDMI-2A is now used internationally for audio level calibration by companies such as Sony, Dolby, CBS, Warner Bros, AT&T, Park Road Post etc.
June – Matthew travels to Europe (Portugal, UK and Netherlands) and represents New Zealand at the International Power Conference for the Square Kilometer Array project.
30th July 2012 – NZ Government article on Arvus Group and its involvement in the SKA
August 3rd – Geothermal New Zealand was incorporated at the New Zealand Clean Energy Centre. Arvus Group was one of the 15 founding signatures required for this landmark event.
15th August 2012 – “peter pan rocketman”
September – Matthew is invited to give a radio interview on New Zealand National Radio on business and his own personal values etc.
September – After continued international communication, Arvus Group now strongly believes in the significant benefits of Thorium based reactors and decide to commit to being involved (in some way) in the evolution of new, safe nuclear reactors. This is a start of a multi-decade journey.
October 6th – Matthew gives a TED Talk on Infrasound at TedX Auckland in front of 2500 people at the Aotea Centre at Auckland – it’s his first significant public talk.
11th October – article in Unlimited Magazine
October – Although not a nuclear physicist, Matthew is invited to present a paper on Nuclear Thermoelectric heat transfer concepts at the International Thorium Energy Conference in Shanghai. The short talk is well received and many international opportunities spawn from the ideas he shared.
November – Matthew attends the annual Chinese Mining conference in Tianjin
8th November – Matthew publishes article on Geothermal power
18th November – Article “good nuclear” in NZ Herald
December – After viewing a TED talk Julie makes direct contact with international organization Kanchi. Key synergies are discovered.
2013 | International alliances expanded
January – Julie decides to begin her Arvus Humanities™ project. The goal of which is to find and/or develop technologies that directly benefit the individual with a physical or neurological challenge.
25th January – Article in British nuclear publication about Thermagenz™
January – First Arvus Humanities™ project started. A new contact lens technology to help those with eye disorder keratoconus.
January – due to the expected business growth and travel required Matthew and Julie ask their children if they would like to try boarding school – the three children say yes, and by the end of the month are living away from home.
February – after almost 15 months of development the FIRE-2H is officially released.
4th February – Article about Geocoustics™ posted in SmartPlanet
February – As Julie and Matthew now strongly believe in the many benefits of bio-energy Arvus Group invests in NZ Bio-Energy Solutions and becomes a strategic partner.
February – Both Julie and Matthew are invited to be judges at a Ken Morse entrepreneur workshop in Taupo.
February – Matthew and Julie actively expand the Arvus Digital presence in the international Game and Film post production industries.
February – The development of the worlds first 8 channel USB to HDMI converter the USB-2H is completed 1 year since commencement.
February – ArvusOEM™ starts development of two audio technologies for an international partner.
12th February – International publication Broadcast Engineering – article on Arvus Digital.
March – First units of USB-2H are shipped to the USA.
March – Arvus HDMI-2A is used to do the final data verification for the latest high-end audio format BluRay Audio Disc. The success of this colaboration is further developed as a strategic relationship is forged between Arvus Group and the format developers.
March – Matthew invited to attend the Japan/New Zealand Geothermal summit
March – First prototypes of the new contact lens made. The technical process is successful enough to justify continued development.
March – First order of the newly developed Hypascreen™ Ultra4K is shipped to India.
9th March – ProSoundWeb announces the HDMI-2A
March – NZ Bio-Energy Solutions has a booth at the Pacific Energy Conference in Auckland. Matthew attends the conference as well.
April – Arvus Group’s most recently developed digital audio converter the USB-2H is demonstrated at NAB Show in Las Vegas.
April – Arvus Group contracted to design a unique optics solution for a Maxis™ project, a teleco based in Malaysia.