Invenco was the big winner, taking out the top prize in the PwC Hi-Tech Company of the Year category. A record-breaking crowd of close to 800 people attended the awards dinner in Christchurch on May 25, held to celebrate the successes of New Zealand hi-tech companies across 13 categories and to recognise the 2018 Flying Kiwi, Claudia Batten.
In selecting Invenco as the PwC Hi-Tech Company of the Year the international judges said: “Invenco prevailed with its unique combination of extraordinary growth, scale and profitability. Invenco’s Outdoor Payment Terminal systems combine hardware, software, and data communications, showing Kiwi expertise in all these fields. Invenco’s revenues come from all over the world, as do its team members, but its Kiwi values of collegiality and tenacity shine through in ways that make Invenco a great global representative of New Zealand high tech."
Another big winner was Dexibit, garnering two awards – the Duncan Cotterill Most Innovative Hi-Tech Software Solution Award and the ATEED Most Innovative Hi-Tech Solution for the Creative Sector Award. As the judges said: “Dexibit is a business with a deep sense of purpose and passion for museums, culture and art. It is creating advanced analytics tools that provide great value and new possibilities for its clients all over the world. The judges were impressed with the bravery, growth and global reputation for leading innovation Dexibit is building in its sector.”
NZ has done done some amazing things on the world stage, building on each other's talents to create great technology - The golden needle in tonight's golden haystack is @InvencoGroup - Hi-Tech Company of the Year 🎉🎊👏 #HTANZ#squadgoalspic.twitter.com/MjjL3Yybk3— Callaghan Innovation (@callaghannz) May 25, 2018
New Zealand’s innovation agency, Callaghan Innovation, also had praise for all the winners, urging the wider business community to check out the opportunities for tech and innovation support as they grow. Said Callaghan Innovation CEO Vic Crone: “Technology has huge potential to solve many problems we face in business, in society and in our economy. These business are creating outstanding tech solutions driven by their passion to do good. It’s what makes New Zealand’s tech sector unique, and in turn their global excellence is attracting worldwide attention.
“What stood out most for me was the level of diversity, which is phenomenal by global tech standards. The representation is finally looking fairer in terms of gender, culture, age, early and established firms, industry application, and regions right across New Zealand. This was topped off by the sector’s timely and heartfelt embrace of our Māori heritage. Māori tech success is on the rise and there are signs that the Māori economy could play a key role as this nation's largest investors.”
Crone also said there is much to gain with technology – but everything to lose by standing still. “It’s a tough journey, but there is a wealth of support available both for technology-driven firms and those that simply want to use technology to solve day to day problems,” she explained. “Learning and collaborating with others in the innovation ecosystem is one of the best, but often missed, sources of support in solving difficult problems. Specifically tailored support for the right stage of growth can mean the difference between going global or giving up."
At no other tech awards in the world would we see such a celebration of indigenous heritage and talent. I had tears in my eyes during the haka. Congrats to @strakerglobal for winning Best Hi-Tech Māori Innovators. #htanzpic.twitter.com/vtHSalxsNM— Lauren Peate (@lmpeate) May 25, 2018
New Zealand Hi-Tech Trust chair Jennifer Rutherford said it was great to see diversity in the line-up of winners. “We’ve made a big push this year to encourage and celebrate diversity and whilst we are still on the journey it’s really pleasing to see we are making progress and that was clearly reflected up on the stage this evening.”
The gala also marked the unveiling of the 2018 Flying Kiwi, Claudia Batten. Rutherford said it was fantastic to be able to recognise Batten’s achievements. “Claudia has achieved so much in her own career and is truly an inspiring and passionate individual. She is someone who is doing so much to help Kiwi tech companies succeed on the global stage. Her own success is inspiring so many of our up and coming companies.”
Other winners included Aliesha Staples, Healthcare Applications, Lillian Grace, Dexibit, Enatel, Beca, IBM, Gallagher Group, Banqer, Ask Nicely, and Straker Translations, which won Callaghan’s Māori Innovation Award.
Awards judges said the calibre of this year’s entrants was at an all-time high, making the job of selecting winners exceedingly challenging for the more than 70 local and international judges who assessed entries across the 13 award categories.
The 2018 NZ Hi-Tech Award winners are:
2018 Flying Kiwi and inductee into the Tait Communications Hi-Tech Hall of Fame
Xero Hi-Tech Young Achiever
Visa Most Innovative Hi-Tech Solution for the Public Good
Emergency Q by Healthcare Applications
IBM Most Inspiring Individual
ATEED Most Innovative Hi-Tech Solution for the Creative Sector
Callaghan Innovation Best Hi-Tech Maori Innovation
Highly Commended: Code Avengers
Duncan Cotterill Most Innovative Hi-Tech Software Solution
Endace Most Innovative Hi-Tech Hardware Product
Kiwibank Most Innovative Hi-Tech Services
NZTE Most Innovative Hi-Tech Solution for the Agritech Sector
Quick Circuit Best contribution to the NZ Hi-Tech sector by an internationally headquartered company
New Zealand Venture Investment Fund Hi-Tech Start-up Company of the Year
Highly Commended: Code Avengers
Coretex Hi-Tech Emerging Company of the Year
PwC NZ Hi-Tech Company of the Year
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