Published on the 20/05/2013 | Written by Newsdesk
Cloud was king, quality high and acceptance speeches displayed typical Kiwi candour at the annual NZ Hi-Tech Awards last Friday…
Seven hundred people dressed to impress, glowing kiwi centrepieces graced every table at the Sky City Convention Centre and international judge and co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak gave a video address.
It was ICT industry’s big night – the event that the honourable Steven Joyce minister-of-almost-everything-including-Novopay says he always makes time to come to so he can be inspired.
And this year cloud-based Kiwi companies Vend and Xero were the darlings of the night.
Xero took out top honours, winning the PwC Company of the Year category as well as the HSBC and NZMEA over $5million export category. The peer-review judges in the Company of the Year category lauded Xero’s all-round prowess:
“The hallmarks of a great company are focused leadership, rational planning, and superb results in the market, Xero exhibits all of these,” stated one judge. “Xero is executing the web 2.0 playbook perfectly, blending brand building, product development, capital raising and value creation, and global expansion. Xero is the new benchmark for product-based tech companies in NZ.”
Vend also impressed taking out the trophies for both the HSBC and NZMEA under $5million export category and the State Government of Victoria services category.
“Vend’s objective of ‘moving every bricks and mortar retailer onto the cloud’ and its execution of a strategy to achieve this goal impressed us. With thousands of retailer customers in more than 100 countries, Vend is well on the way to being a real NZ IT success story and has plenty of growth left in it yet,” said the judges.
With redefined categories and more awards than ever this year, there was a lot of top New Zealand talent in the room last Friday. Mobile apps company Carnival Labs made it to the finalist list in no less than four categories, taking out the top prize for the Most Innovative Mobile Technology category. The most hotly contested category was the Hi-Tech pre-commercialisation company of the year where the judges took six companies to the finals, showing that there is incredible talent and some amazing companies coming up the ranks. Trigger happy won the category for its Toon Hero iPad App, while Perfomance Lab Technologies was the only ‘highly commended’ company of the night.
NZ Hi-Tech Trust chairman Wayne Norrie echoed these sentiments saying that “hi-tech is New Zealand’s future” and the number and quality of the entries received this year, and the ability of the awards to attract such high-profile judges are “a reflection of the breadth and depth of hi-tech in this country”.
Quotes of the night:
Xero’s Rod Drury on winning the PWC Company of the Year Award: “Man up and list [on the stock exchange]”
An unnamed NZ hi-Tech international judge: “Xero is the new benchmark for product-based tech companies in NZ“.
‘Smart model’ company BIMStop when accepting their award for Best Start Up of 2013: “It’s more fun being a pirate than in the navy.”
Vend CEO Vaughn Rowsell upon receiving the company’s second award of the night (after having had time to think about what he should have said on winning the under $5 million export category): “We are not just exporting bits but Kiwi attitude.”
Carnival Labs, first-time entrants, finalists in four categories and winners of the Most Innovative Mobile Technology Award are the “Flight of the Concords of the hi-tech industry”.
Award-winner list in full:
Fronde Hi-Tech Young Achiever
Robert Bell, UBNZ World Markets/KlickEx Corporation
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Best Contribution to the New Zealand Hi-Tech Sector by a Multinational Company
HSBC and NZMEA Hi-Tech Exporter of the Year Award – Under $5million
HSBC and NZMEA Hi-Tech Exporter of the Year Award – Over $5million
Duncan Cotterill Innovative Software Product Award
Endace Innovative Hardware Product Award
State Government of Victoria Innovative Service Product Award
Telecom Business – Most Innovative Mobile Technology Award
NZVIF Pre-commercialisation Company of the Year
Special commendation: Performance Lab Technologies
Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment Best Hi-Tech Start-up
Cisco Hi-Tech Emerging Company Award
PwC NZ Hi-Tech Company of the Year Award