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Tech businesses thriving in Auckland’s North Shore - report

08 May 2018

A report has found that North Auckland is home to 20% of the country’s highest revenue-generating technology export businesses.

The Grow North Innovation District, which refers to the five North Auckland regions of Kaipatiki, Devonport-Takapuna, Hibiscus and Bays, Upper Harbour and Rodney, was set up in 2015 to create an 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 Technology Innovation Network (TIN), will be launched at an event at the B:Hive coworking space at Smales Farm.

A panel discussion will be held at the event with some of Grow North’s 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 that had double-digit five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for TIN200 firms, at 13.5%.

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.

Grow North Innovation District director Kel Marsh says, “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,” Marsh adds.

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 standout 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 $90 million in revenue in the North America market. 

Sir Peter Maire, who is one of the speakers at the event and whose company Navman was one of the first technology companies to be founded on the North Shore, says, “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.

TIN managing director Greg Shanahan says, “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.  

The Grow North Smart Innovation District is sponsored by Massey University, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), GridAKL, and BNZ.

Technology Investment Network (TIN) is a private company established in 1999 to facilitate the growth of the technology export sector in New Zealand.

The company’s goal is to contribute to the New Zealand economy by supporting the growth of large, sustainable, New Zealand-based, global technology businesses.

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