It was a big night for our team in Auckland, New Zealand on Friday as we took out the Hi-Tech Company of Year and the Export Award at the New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards. There was a piece on the three finalists on the news on Saturday.
For me, it was a surreal moment, standing on stage with a handful of Xero staff, in front of 700 people, listening to Rod’s acceptance speech (as well as my heart pounding loudly). Xero had been announced winner of the NZ Hi-Tech Company of the Year, the top accolade within the industry. Earlier we had received the Exporter of the year over $5 million Award. It was particularly nice that our friends at PWC and HSBC sponsored our awards, and that so many people within the industry were there to congratulate us and share in our celebration.
Steve Wozniak from Apple was on the judging panel. They noted …
“The hallmarks of a great company are focused leadership, rational planning, and superb results in the market, Xero exhibits all of these” and “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.”
The Hi-Tech awards are run annually to showcase NZ talent, celebrate outstanding achievement and encourage investment within the tech industry. This year there were a record number of first time entrants, highlighting the fact that this sector is growing at twice the rate of the NZ economy as a whole.
There were 11 company awards up for grabs, amidst stiff competition of 33 finalists, plus the individual Award for Hi-Tech Young Achiever – this year going to 2nd time winner, Robert Bell, COO, KlickEx.
There were a couple of moments that stood out for me. When the finalists for Exporter of the year award (under $5 million) were read out, I remembered accepting this award last year on Xero’s behalf. Then on hearing the announcement that our friends, Online Point of Sale Vend had won this year, it was just as exciting and and even more so when they later picked up another award.
For me, it was also a poignant moment seeing the team from Pre-Commercialisation Company of the Year Trigger Happy on stage, with their CEO, Shona Grundy accepting their award and describing the past year as the best of times and the worst of times.
I was honored to be an invited guest at the table of sponsor Victoria State Government, Australia where Xero has a big presence. There were many inspiring people to meet, like Franceska Banga from NZ Venture Investment Fund, whose speech challenged everyday New Zealanders to invest and contribute to the growth of our tech sector.
Thanks to the New Zealand Hi-Tech Trust and all this years sponsors. The awards event not only showcased top tech companies, but also brought together a group of 700 extraordinary people and reminded us of the importance and contribution that innovation and technology makes to our economy.