A record number of entries and the biggest Gala Dinner ever in Wellington are the hallmarks of the 21st anniversary of the Hi-Tech Awards – a sign of the strength and vibrancy of New Zealand’s technology industry, says Chairman, Wayne Norrie.
Auckland, May 15, 2015 – Competition was tough at this year’s NZ Hi-Tech Awards, with the winners presented with their awards at the annual Gala Dinner in Wellington attended by over 700 guests this this evening.
Judges reported that the calibre of this year’s entrants was at all-time 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.
The 2015 Awards saw a record number of entries with over 150 organisations entering, many of them for the first time.
“There has been a huge number of entries in the start-up and young achiever categories,” says Wayne Norrie, chair of the Hi-Tech Trust. “The New Zealand technology sector is clearly in great shape for the future with so many awesome young companies embarking on their big journey”
Xero won the big award of the night, the PwC Hi-Tech Company of the Year award for 2015. A category judged solely by the international judging panel. In selecting Xero as the winner, the judges commented, “It takes continuity of performance over more than a single year to earn this award. The company evidences superb operational efficiency, planning a new version of its software each week, with 400 releases in 2014. Development of new features follows a tried and true winning behaviour: give your customers what they request. Lastly, the open API’s for go-to-market through the accountancy channel is brilliant,” says Norrie.
Another big winner tonight was Umajin, who won two awards taking out both the Callaghan Innovation Best Technology Solution for the Creative Sector and the Duncan Cotterill Hi-Tech Innovative Software Product category. The judges remarked, “Umajin has drawn on 20 years engineering, gaming design and app development expertise to create a globally unique platform for designing and publishing beautiful and user friendly apps without requirement for coding. Their editor tool has attracted an impressive list of customers and partners including Intel, IBM and leading global agency group WPP.”
NZ Hi-Tech Trust chair Wayne Norrie says with such tough competition across the categories, it was pleasing to see so many new faces amongst the winners, including companies such as Foster Moore, GeoZone, Network for Learning, Phitek, Snapit HD, Straker Translations and Volpara Solutions.
“For these companies to have won against such a stellar line-up of entrants is a great sign for the hi-tech sector – it shows the wealth of talent and opportunity that’s out there,” says Norrie.
“I’d like to extend a huge thank-you to all our local and international judges for helping to make the Awards such a success. We are incredibly fortunate to attract judges of the calibre that we do. These are highly successful, busy people and for them to devote considerable time and energy to judging the awards says a huge amount about their commitment to this industry sector,” says Norrie.
“It also says a lot about the calibre of entries we receive. The 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 in Auckland.”
The 2015 NZ Hi-Tech Award winners are:
Fronde Hi-Tech Young Achiever Award
Winner: Ben O’Brien – CEO and Co-founder of StretchSense
Qual IT Best Technology Solution for the Public Sector Award
Winner: Foster Moore
IBM Most Innovative Initiative Award
Winner: Network for Learning
Highly Commended: The Mind Lab by Unitec
Callaghan Innovation Best Technology Solution for the Creative Sector Award
Duncan Cotterill Innovative Software Product Award
Endace Innovative Hardware Product Award
Highly Commended: SnapitHD
Grow Wellington Innovative Service Product Award
Winner: Straker Translations
NZTE Most Innovative Agritech Product Award
UK Trade & Investment Innovative Mobile Technology Award
New Zealand Venture Investment Fund Hi-Tech Start-up Company of the Year
Highly Commended: Timely
Cisco Hi-Tech Emerging Company of the Year
Winner: Volpara Solutions
Highly Commended: Totara Learning
PwC NZ Hi-Tech Company of the Year Award