Technology Innovators looking to the North to Grow

Published: Tue 8 May 2018 10:19 AM
New Zealand’s Technology Innovators looking to the North to Grow and Scale their Businesses
Inaugural TIN Regional Report commissioned by Grow North Innovation District with more regional reports to follow
Auckland, 7 May 2018 - The Grow North Innovation District is home to 20% of the country’s highest revenue-generating technology export businesses, according to an inaugural regional report published by the Technology Innovation Network (TIN).
The Grow North Innovation District, which refers to the five Auckland North regions of Kaipatiki, Devonport-Takapuna, Hibiscus and Bays, Upper Harbour and Rodney, was set up in 2015 to create a vibrant innovation ecosystem to encourage innovation and the development of scaleable ventures within one cohesive plan.
The findings from the report; the first in a series of regional reports to be published by TIN, will be launched at an event today at the B:Hive at Smales Farm. The event will feature a panel discussion with some of Grow North’s leading technology companies, including EROAD, Navico and Fusion Entertainment.
The report showed that Grow North was the second largest New Zealand region in terms of number of TIN200 ranked firms last year, and is the only NZ region to boast a double digit 5-year CAGR (compound annual growth rate) for TIN200 firms, at 13.5%.
According to the report, Grow North has a strong growing pipeline of developing companies with further growth potential and has the second highest rate of employee growth for TIN200 companies across all NZ regions. Nearly 90% of the surveyed companies in the Grow North Innovation District are at commercialisation stage.
Kel Marsh, director of Grow North Innovation District, said “The report has highlighted for us just how much mass, acceleration and scale-up know-how there is concentrated in the Grow North region. We’re excited to be providing the right environment to create a school-to-global pipeline that fosters more innovation and enables more scale-up businesses to grow quickly out of the region’s garages and incubators”.
“Our goal is to create a vibrant, valuable ecosystem that produces an accelerated flow of innovation out into the world and brings returns for the whole of the New Zealand economy,” Mr Marsh added.
ICT firms account for nearly 64% of surveyed tech companies in the Growth North region. Of the TIN200-ranked companies in this group, FinTech companies were the stand-out performers in the region, accounting for both the largest total revenue share and the highest growth rate.
International expansion is a key driver of revenue growth for companies in the region with Grow North’s “Fast Five” companies generating more than NZD $90 million in revenue in the North America market.
Sir Peter Maire, who is one of the speakers at today’s launch event and whose company Navman was one of the first technology companies to be founded on the North Shore, said “The creation and development of a local tech ecosystem such as Grow North is vital to the long-term growth of companies. It creates a supportive environment for transferring scale-up knowledge to young entrepreneurs and helps foster a spirit of innovation”.
Several Māori-owned or Māori investment-backed technology companies have their head offices in the Grow North region, pioneering what is hoped to become a growing trend throughout the country. Notable examples include Rosedale-based Straker Translations and Kaitaia-based Navilluso Medical.
Greg Shanahan, managing director of TIN, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Grow North on the launch of this inaugural regional report and commend them for their foresight in establishing a successful blueprint for innovation and growth. We hope to be able to tell a similar story throughout the rest of the country with the launch of our Spotlight on the Regions reports which will help bring innovation in the tech sector to the forefront of regional economic development.”
The Grow North Smart Innovation District is sponsored by Massey University; Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED); GridAKL; and the BNZ.

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