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Auckland’s innovation hub, GridAKL, is expanding

GridAKL has come a long way from its humble beginnings of being a prototype with four resident businesses in 2015.

The BizDojo-led building has since expanded to house 98 businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs, and now Generator, a co-working space company, will create an area for an additional 300 businesses through two new buildings joining the precinct.

The buildings will open in September, joining the BizDojo-managed John Lysaght building and creating a bigger GridAKL ecosystem and making its overall footprint 12,000 square metres.

The Madden Street and Mason Brothers buildings will house small and medium-sized businesses, as well as larger companies in a co-working environment that has pods, shared desks, private studios and large corporate floors.

L-R: managing director of Generator Ryan Wilson and ATEED chief executive Brett O’Riley

Generator currently occupies over 4000 square metres across three buildings in Britomart, with international members such as Facebook, Pandora and Expedia.

Wynyard Quarter’s wider footprint takes up 48,000 square metres and is home some of New Zealand’s largest companies, such as Datacom, Fonterra and Air New Zealand.

Over at BizDojo’s Wynyard Quarter building, co-founder Nick Shewring says the company isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

“We’re in for the long haul and we’re really excited about what Wynyard Quarter’s doing. We’ve been at ground zero since the idea was first hatched and will continue to be there,” he says.

“We’ve made a consistent and strong investment in that area and will continue to do that, but our overall focus for BizDojo is our Founder Central movement across the country.”

BizDojo’s GridAKL offices

He says an announcement will be made next week about an additional site that will be run alongside its four Auckland hubs, as well as its hubs further afield in Wellington and Christchurch.

“Auckland’s a big city and we’re seeing huge growth out of Takapuna, Parnell and Ponsonby, with a fifth site to be announced next week. It gives us an overall footprint to be able to support nearly 3000 founders from different locations all across New Zealand.”

Auckland’s big ambitions

New Zealand’s largest city is home to almost half of New Zealand’s tech sector, with a GDP of $7.8 billion and 47,000 people employed in the industry.

But there’s still room to grow, and the GridAKL expansion reiterates the wider goal of Auckland Council to be recognised as a major innovation hub in the Asia-Pacific region.

ATEED chief executive Brett O’Riley says the organisation is confident the expansion of GridAKL will help create the next wave of Auckland tech companies to be showcased on the world stage, such as 90 Seconds or Rocket Lab.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says GridAKL has played a key role in growing Auckland’s technology sector, with 9000 jobs added in the last five years and nearly 26 percent growth in the sector’s GDP.  

“Our work to encourage high-tech industries into Auckland and grow world-class research, talent and technology-based ventures in our city is reaping financial and employment benefits for our local and national economy,” Goff says.

“The innovation precinct will continue to act as a centre for growth for these industries.”

Elly is Idealog's editor and resident dog enthusiast. She enjoys travelling, tea, good books, and writing about exciting ideas and cool entrepreneurs.

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