Stuff News article

Take some inspiration from these Kiwis taking on the world

Our organisation’s namesake, Sir Paul Callaghan, believed one hundred inspired New Zealanders could turn this country around.


There’s a strong case to be made that our software as a service (SaaS) entrepreneurs will be one of the most instrumental groups in shifting our country’s fortunes.

While it might not be our software and digital companies that spring to mind when we think of Kiwi innovators taking on the world, at our Southern SaaS conference, the sector’s success and growing global reach was hard to miss.

Companies like Serko, Pushpay and Vend are bringing in significant export revenue and developing opportunities and simultaneously growing talent and demand for highly skilled jobs. These inspired companies are doing just what Sir Paul predicted they would.

Sir Paul had another theory which also finds its mark in our SaaS community: He believed we should lean into our strengths including the ability to find the value in the “weird stuff” that the big global players don’t think to exploit.

The weird stuff – NZ’s edge

Working with many digital companies at Callaghan Innovation, we know that Kiwis have a knack for identifying unique and niche problems, then nailing a solution that makes life easier.

To be clear, identifying niche problems is not about thinking small or focusing narrowly on New Zealand-specific issues and markets. We need to think global from day one, but there are lots of “niche” problems with a potentially massive global base of customers.

This plays out when you look at some of our successful tech companies: Fisher & Paykel Healthcare makes devices for suffers of sleep apnoea, Volpara is a leading provider of breast imaging analytics, Vista is building a dominant position global position in cinema solutions, PushPay is servicing the faith market in the US with their giving and engagement platform, Serko with travel management; and we have Rocket Lab, a commercial operator sending rockets into space.

Here are seven other lesser-known New Zealand companies that are nailing their chosen niches to make their mark:

Fingermark – speeding up restaurant service

Though Fingermark has been around for 15 years or so, things are ramping up for this Havelock North-based company which is now working with multinational restaurant brands including the likes of McDonalds and KFC. Its next-generation customer kiosks and digital menu boards are powered by AI software with real-time and predictive business analytics transforming service, including at drive thrus.


Original article can be found here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/115368850/take-some-inspiration-from-these-kiwis-taking-on-the-world


Original article on Stuff News 

By Bruce Jarvis