At the NZ Hi-Tech Awards 2013 Gala Dinner the night belonged to Xero and Vend, who each collected two awards with Xero winning the coveted Hi-Tech Company of the Year award.
Attended by over 700 guests at SKYCITY on Friday evening, the winners were selected by a 50 strong national and international judging panel, recognising excellence across New Zealand’s technology sector and, according to the judges, the calibre of this year’s entrants was outstanding.
Xero took out top honours, winning the PwC Company of the Year category as well as the HSBC and NZMEA over $5million export category with the judges in the Company of the Year category full of praise for the billion-dollar company.
"The hallmarks of a great company are focused leadership, rational planning, and superb results in the market, Xero exhibits all of these”, stated one judge.
Another international judge remarked, “Xero is executing the Web 2.0 playbook perfectly, blending brand building, product development, capital raising and value creation, and global expansion.
"Xero is the new benchmark for product-based tech companies in NZ".
Meanwhile, fellow cloud software company, Vend, took out both the HSBC and NZMEA under $5million export category and the State Government of Victoria Services category, with judges impressed by the company's performance.
“Vend’s objective of ‘moving every bricks and mortar retailer onto the cloud’ and its execution of a strategy to achieve this goal impressed us," the panel said.
"With thousands of retailer customers in more than 100 countries, Vend is well on the way to being a real NZ IT success story and has plenty of growth left in it yet.”
Amongst the winners in other categories were several first time entrants, including Wynyard Group, ikeGPS, Carnival Labs and Trigger Happy.
NZ Hi-Tech Trust chair Wayne Norrie says this is a great sign for the industry.
“It’s exciting and gratifying to see a whole new generation of Kiwi technology companies coming through and achieving at this level,” he says.
"They represent a strong and vibrant future for what is an increasingly important industry for the country.
“Tonight’s finalists are all incredibly innovative, creative and very, very smart and it’s great to see so many new success stories emerging.
"It’s a key reason why our industry continues to be the fastest growing contributor to New Zealand’s export economy. We should all be very proud of that.”
Norrie says the Hi-Tech Awards programme continues to go from strength-to-strength every year, with 2013 seeing a record number of first-time entrants and record attendance at all events.
“We’ve also attracted fantastic local and international judges that would be the envy of any awards programme in the world,” he says.
"Our twelve strong international judging panel included co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, the director of engineering for Google in New York, Craig Nevill-Manning; Director of Texas Venture Labs, Rob Adams; Head of IDG Ventures in the US, Pat Kenealy and Cisco’s senior vice president, Howard Charney as well as an array of high profile Kiwi ex-pats.
“It is a credit to the high standard of the technology we produce in New Zealand that we can attract such well known and respected international judges each year.”
The 2013 NZ Hi-Tech Award winners are:
Fronde Hi-Tech Young Achiever
Robert Bell, UBNZ World Markets/KlickEx Corporation
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Best Contribution to the New Zealand Hi-Tech Sector by a Multinational Company
HSBC and NZMEA Hi-Tech Exporter of the Year Award - Under $5million
HSBC and NZMEA Hi-Tech Exporter of the Year Award - Over $5million
Duncan Cotterill Innovative Software Product Award
Endace Innovative Hardware Product Award
State Government of Victoria Innovative Service Product Award
Telecom Business - Most Innovative Mobile Technology Award
NZVIF Pre-commercialisation Company of the Year
Special commendation: Performance Lab Technologies
Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment Best Hi-Tech Start-up
Cisco Hi-Tech Emerging Company Award
PwC NZ Hi-Tech Company of the Year Award
Did you attend the awards? Tell us your thoughts on the winners and losers below