Waikato tech firms shine

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Waikato firms Gallagher Group and The Instillery have won accolades in a prestigious New Zealand report as the tech export industry booms in New Zealand.

Gallagher was named one of the top 10 companies to watch in this year’s TIN Report, while The Instillery was one of 10 scale-ups identified.

For The Instillery, the recognition came the day before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited its Hamilton
headquarters.

Produced by the Technology Investment Network, the TIN Report monitors the performance of New Zealand’s 200 largest technology exporters in the areas of information and communications technology, high-tech manufacturing, and biotechnology.

The EY Ten Companies to Watch list ranks New Zealand companies by both growth and revenue.

Gallagher was 10th for growth, and was once again named fifth for revenue, holding its position as the highest ranked privately-owned tech exporter.

“We’re thrilled to be ranked fifth for revenue in this year’s TIN200 and to see the momentous growth of New Zealand’s technology export sector over the last year,” said Kahl Betham, deputy chief executive and executive director at Gallagher.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visiting The Instillery.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visiting The Instillery.

“We will continue to make significant investment in our in-house R&D programme and take New Zealand made technology to the world.”

The Instillery was fifth on the list of top 10 Absolute IT Supreme Scale-Ups, which are the Next100 companies (ranked between 101-200 in the TIN200) with the largest revenue growth in the past year.

Chief executive Mike Jenkins said the recognition for his company came before its recent merger with Origin IT and he says the top 100 is in their sights next year. He anticipates more than 100 percent growth this year.

The Instillery, which Jenkins founded six years ago, is a cloud, security and managed service business, and he says as the cloud and automation have become more prevalent, the early investment is resulting in much bigger clients and bigger deals.

Earlier, during Ardern’s visit, he said The Instillery was committed to becoming the top tech employer in the region. “We see Waikato as becoming the tech hub of New Zealand. There’s a whole lot of opportunity here.”

Ardern referred to both opportunities and challenges. “We need to make sure that as a government we’ve got our own house in order, and that we are taking up the opportunities that exist. There are things that we need to do differently,” she said.

Jenkins later said government procurement practices represented a major challenge.

“There’s a challenge for Kiwi-owned businesses in New Zealand, Māori-owned businesses like ours, to compete with the restrictions of all-of-government procurement,” he said. “There’s a lot of road blocks and barriers [that]protect the real big boys.”

He said it is difficult for agencies to buy from companies that are not on the all-of-government ICT procurement panel.

“That was established in 2011, which was obviously before The Instillery was founded so it’s very difficult for us to get on there.”

The Instillery has public sector clients, including Auckland Council, Hamilton City Council and NZTA, but Jenkins is frustrated at the barriers in the way of his company doing more to help in the troubled health sector.

Jenkins also said part of their conversation with Ardern was around how to foster and encourage more Māori and Pacific-owned business leaders. He said The Instillery is New Zealand’s fastest growing Māori tech company, but Māori-owned business are responsible for just $130 million of the total TIN200 $12 billion.

This year was the first time New Zealand’s 200 largest tech exporting companies by revenue – the TIN200 – broke through the $12 billion mark in total revenue, and $8 billion in export earnings. This equates to double-digit growth and total growth over a billion dollars for the second consecutive year, and the third time in the past four years, according to the report.

See David Hallett’s Tech Talk column here for analysis of the report.

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