Competition was tough at this year’s NZ Hi-Tech Awards. Winners were presented with their awards at the annual Gala Dinner in Christchurch this evening, marking the 20th anniversary of the Awards.
Judges reported that the calibre of this year’s entrants was extremely high, making the job of selecting winners exceedingly challenging for the more than 50 local and international judges who assessed entrants across the 12 award categories.
This stiff competition was reflected in the high number of commendations awarded in addition to winners. Commendations are only awarded, at the discretion of the judges, in exceptional circumstances when results are particularly close and the judges consider a runner-up entrant is worthy of recognition.
The IBM Hi-Tech Exporter of the Year Award for companies under $5m was particularly hotly contested, and judges were so impressed with the entry from Animation Research that they took the unprecedented step of recommending a special award be made in recognition of Animation Research’s contribution to the industry.
Orion Health, Vend and Vmob were standout winners in this year, all winning two awards each, with Vmob also being singled out for a special commendation in a third category.
Orion Health won the big award of the night, the PwC Hi-Tech Company of the Year Award for 2014, and also took home the NZMEA Hi-Tech Exporter of the Year Award for companies over $5m.
Judges were highly complimentary about Orion Health’s performance and future plans. “Orion Health has demonstrated outstanding year-on-year growth, substantial business acumen in a terribly complex and competitive market, and amazing international diversification. It is no small achievement that Orion Health has obtained 49 of the 50 US States as customers. Orion Health is simply a standout example of a New Zealand company that has achieved global presence and financial scale through product and management excellence.” Vend scooped up the Cisco Hi-Tech Emerging Company of the Year Award, and, for the second year running, the IBM Hi-Tech Exporter of the Year Award for companies under $5m.
Judges were particularly impressed by Vend’s history of meeting its forecast numbers every time, its mature approach to sales and marketing and how well the product and business story were presented to judges. “With 10,000 customers located in 140 countries, Vend is clearly well on its way. It's also very pleasing to see they have been able to rebuff all approaches to locate offshore which is testament to their determination to remain a Kiwi company.”
Vmob was a big winner on the night, winning both the Grow Wellington Innovative Service Product Award and the UK Trade & Investment Innovative Mobile Technology Award, and receiving a commendation in the Duncan Cotterill Innovative Software Product Award - which was won by Mindscape. Guy Horrocks, co-founder of Carnival Mobile - which last year won the Most Innovative Mobile Technology Award - was amongst the winners again, taking away the Fronde Hi-Tech Young Achiever Award.
NZ Hi-Tech Trust Chair Wayne Norrie says with such tough competition across the categories, it was pleasing to see some new faces amongst the winners – companies such as Delta Strike International, Vigil Monitoring and Smart Water Technology.
“For these companies to have won against such a stellar line-up of entrants is a great sign for this industry,” he says, “it shows the wealth of talent and opportunity that’s out there.”
“Tonight marks a particularly special milestone for the Hi-Tech Awards itself,” Norrie said. “Not only is this the 20th Anniversary of the Awards, but we’re also thrilled to be able to host the Gala Dinner in Christchurch this year – it is particularly apt given the first Hi-Tech awards ceremony was held here. The industry here in Christchurch has been incredibly welcoming and supportive, and I’d like to thank them for all their help.”
“I’d also like to extend a huge thank-you to all our local and international judges for helping to make this Awards such a success. We are incredibly fortunate to attract judges of the calibre that we do. These are highly successful, busy people. For them to devote considerable time and energy to judging these awards says a huge amount about their commitment to this industry,” Norrie says.
“It also says a lot about the calibre of entries we receive. Judges have been full of praise for the outstanding companies participating in this year’s Awards - they are all deserving of our congratulations. And it’s great to see how past winners are continuing to go from strength to strength too. We look forward to next year’s Awards.”
Fronde Hi-Tech Young Achiever Award
Winner: Guy Horrocks – Co-founder of Carnival Mobile
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Best Contribution to the New Zealand Hi-Tech Sector by an Internationally Headquartered Company
IBM Hi-Tech Exporter of the Year Award - Under $5million
Special Lifetime Achievement Award: Animation Research
NZMEA Hi-Tech Exporter of the Year Award - Over $5million
Winner: Orion Health
Duncan Cotterill Innovative Software Product Award
Highly Commended: VMob
Endace Innovative Hardware Product Award
Winner: Delta Strike International
Highly Commended: Dairy Automation
Grow Wellington Innovative Service Product Award
Highly Commended: Mindscape
UK Trade & Investment Innovative Mobile Technology Award
Callaghan Innovation Pre-commercialisation Company of the Year
Winner: Vigil Monitoring
New Zealand Venture Investment Fund Hi-Tech Start-up Company of the Year
Winner: Smart Water Technology
Highly Commended: Timely
Cisco Hi-Tech Emerging Company of the Year
Highly Commended: Movio
PwC NZ Hi-Tech Company of the Year Award
Winner: Orion Health
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