The COVID pandemic cannot stop the substantial growth in New Zealand tech investments.
NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller noted that investor confidence is at an all-time high despite key areas of the country remaining on alert due to COVID. The growing number and variety of capital raises over the past couple of years is demonstrating the growth and maturity of the NZ tech sector.
Wellington’s Weta Digital has sold its digital business unit to Unity, the platform used by game developers throughout the world for $2.3 billion.
“From raises of seed investments in double-digit millions and a regular flow of Series A venture capital investments all the way to billion-dollar merger and acquisitions and initial public offering deals,” said Muller.
“Each one of these deals brings cash back into the New Zealand tech sector which is predominantly invested in people to help these companies grow. These investments mean hundreds of new high-value jobs and research shows that for every one of these new tech jobs, almost five other jobs are created in other sectors to support this growth.
“People are the critical success factor so not only do we need to invest more to encourage Kiwis into tech careers, but we need to be able to compete internationally for the best talent.”
The investments in Kiwi companies are proof points that high-value tech is being made in New Zealand, as does the recent merger and acquisition activity including:
- Christchurch based Seequent, geoscience big data analysis software, $1.05 billion
- Dunedin-based Education Perfect education technology leader, $435 million
- Cloud-based retail point of sale system, Vend, $455 million
- Mobile gaming firm, Ninja Kiwi, $203 million
- And last year, Transaction Global Services (now called Xplor), a transaction and business management software system for gyms and childcare, for more than $1 billion
Muller explained that these investments in New Zealand tech firms are a sign of a healthy and growing domestic tech ecosystem.
“The one sticking issue is the border settings, which unfortunately create a situation where quite a bit of this funding will have to be used to create jobs overseas rather than new jobs in New Zealand. The tech sector is working with the government to improve access to tech visas, but the fear is it will be too little too late.
“It is hard to bring jobs back into New Zealand once these high growth firms have set up research and development teams in other countries.”