Orion Health, Vend and VMob were the big winners as the Hi-Tech Awards marked its 20th anniversary with a ceremony in Christchurch.
Each of the three firms won two prizes, with Orion Health taking the PwC Hi-Tech Company of the Year Award and the NZMEA Hi-Tech Exporter of the Year Award for companies over $5 million.
“Orion Health has demonstrated outstanding year-on-year growth, substantial business acumen in a terribly complex and competitive market, and amazing international diversification," the judges said. "It is no small achievement that Orion Health has obtained 49 of the 50 US States as customers. Orion Health is simply a standout example of a New Zealand company that has achieved global presence and financial scale through product and management excellence.”
Vend was awarded Cisco Hi-Tech Emerging Company of the Year Award, and, for the second year running, the IBM Hi-Tech Exporter of the Year Award for companies under $5 million.
Judges pointed to Vend’s track record in achieving forecast numbers, its mature approach to sales and marketing and how well the product and business story were presented for the awards. “With 10,000 customers in 140 countries, Vend is clearly well on its way. It's also very pleasing to see they have been able to rebuff all approaches to locate offshore which is testament to their determination to remain a Kiwi company.”
VMob picked up the Grow Wellington Innovative Service Product Award and the UK Trade and Investment Innovative Mobile Technology Award, and receiving a commendation in the Duncan Cotterill Innovative Software Product Award - which was won by Mindscape.
Guy Horrocks, co-founder of Carnival Mobile - which last year won the Most Innovative Mobile Technology Award - was among the winners again, taking away the Fronde Hi-Tech Young Achiever Award.
Fifty local and international judges who assessed entrants across the 12 award categories this year.
Hi-Tech Trust Chair Wayne Norrie says with tough competition across the categories, it was pleasing to see new faces among the winners, like Delta Strike International, Vigil Monitoring and Smart Water Technology.
“For these companies to have won against such a stellar line-up of entrants is a great sign for this industry,” he says, “It shows the wealth of talent and opportunity that’s out there.”
The stiff competition was reflected in the high number of commendations awarded, the organisers say. Commendations are only awarded, at the discretion of the judges, when results are particularly close and the judges consider a runner-up entrant is worthy of recognition.
The IBM Hi-Tech Exporter of the Year Award for companies under $5 million was particularly hotly contested and judges were so impressed with the entry from Animation Research that they took the unprecedented step of recommending a special award be made in recognition of Animation Research’s contribution to the industry.
Norrie says it was apt the gala dinner was held in Christchurch this year as the first Hi-Tech awards ceremony was held here.
"The industry here in Christchurch has been incredibly welcoming and supportive, and I’d like to thank them for all their help.”
The 2014 NZ Hi-Tech Award winners are:
Fronde Hi-Tech Young Achiever Award Winner: Guy Horrocks – co-founder of Carnival Mobile
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Best Contribution to the New Zealand Hi-Tech Sector by an Internationally Headquartered Company Winner: Microsoft
IBM Hi-Tech Exporter of the Year Award - under $5 million Winner: Vend
Special Lifetime Achievement Award: Animation Research
NZMEA Hi-Tech Exporter of the Year Award - over $5 million winner: Orion Health
Duncan Cotterill Innovative Software Product Award Winner: Mindscape
Highly Commended: VMob
Endace Innovative Hardware Product Award Winner: Delta Strike International
Highly Commended: Dairy Automation
Grow Wellington Innovative Service Product Award Winner: VMob
Highly Commended: Mindscape
UK Trade and Investment Innovative Mobile Technology Award Winner: VMob
Callaghan Innovation Pre-commercialisation Company of the Year winner: Vigil Monitoring
New Zealand Venture Investment Fund Hi-Tech Start-up Company of the Year Winner: Smart Water Technology
Highly Commended: Timely
Cisco Hi-Tech Emerging Company of the Year Winner: Vend
Highly Commended: Movio
PwC NZ Hi-Tech Company of the Year Award Winner: Orion Health