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On Wednesday, 24 June NZTE hosted Business in the Clouds, an event in London showcasing some of the hottest Kiwi software companies that can truly transform the way small businesses are run in the UK.
Held at the New Zealand High Commission Penthouse – with one of the best skyline views across London – guests were able to see innovative technology in action that can help make running their business easier, more efficient and more valuable.
Guests were served flat whites by Kiwi run Volcano Coffee, whilst being walked through how a business like Volcano can use cutting edge technology to truly transform their business. The journey involved a cafe owner doing his bank reconciliation with Xero on the bus to work, then serving his first customer using Vend’s online point-of-sale and Payment Express. Later on selling the wares of his roastery online through his RocketSpark website with its built-in e-commerce platform. And at the end of the day seeing the day’s sales flow into Xero and using Spotlight Reporting to check how his business is tracking alongside KPIs.
The evening saw some of the finest thought leaders behind cloud solutions come together to talk about how New Zealand companies are transforming the landscape for small businesses. Speakers included Gary Turner, Xero UK Managing Director, Pierre-Emmanuel Perruchot de La Bussiere, Vend General Manager Product Partnerships & Add-ons and Dan Taylor, NZTE Trade Commissioner.
The evening was topped off with beer tasting from the New Zealand Craft Beer Collective and a short talk from Stu McKinley, founder of Yeastie Boys, on taking his small business global.
Dan Taylor says the UK market is attractive for New Zealand tech companies such as Xero, because it’s proven itself as an early adopter of innovative technology.
“We’re seeing sectors that have traditionally not adopted technology really buying into it now because of the need for productivity and efficiency – two areas where New Zealand has real strength.
“The growth’s been really significant. The sector as a whole has grown 14 percent compounded annually for the last six years, which is massive. It’s now New Zealand’s third largest export. The UK’s a really important part of that and we see it growing significantly over the next few years,” Taylor adds.
Gary Turner, Xero UK managing director added: “London is really exciting because it’s right at the centre of the financial and capital markets globally. And that has meant that we’ve seen a huge explosion in technology innovation. [It’s] now also the capital for fintech innovation globally.”
UK Market Snapshot
New Zealand Trade Commissioner to UK & Ireland, Dan Taylor's Top 6 observations of the ICT industry in the UK for New Zealand companies:
NZ companies offer customer-centric products or services that are innovative and creative, focusing on a well-defined market niche. They also tend to operate at the higher end of the value chain and are rich in intellectual property, making them harder to copy.
The Evening Standard recently reported that London is the fintech capital of the world and the leading city for tech investment in Europe. We definitely see this to be true of NZ tech companies who tend to establish themselves in London first before launching into Continental Europe.
ICT is a great leveller. Data is at the heart of ICT solutions and this has no regard for geography – meaning that logistically there is no reason for a Kiwi company to not compete anywhere on equal footing if the approach is right. For those in the UK who might say ‘But NZ is on the other side of the world’ – well that just means that support can be delivered 24/7!
New Zealand exported $61m in IT services to UK in 2013 (3rd behind Australia and US). ICT is New Zealand’s fastest growing export sector and is expected to surpass $15bn by 2025 from $1bn today.
The UK cloud computing market is now worth over £6 billion and the UK’s mobile market is the largest in Europe with a value of £14 billion annually and 80 million mobile subscriptions. In the UK cultural acceptance of cloud business models is continuing to grow across traditional industries such as banking and utilities which are searching for greater efficiency and flexibility. This allows small, flexible cloud-based companies like those from NZ to compete on the world stage.
Moreover, the UK has a public sector market for the first time opening up to SMEs at a central and local government level through the UK G-Cloud initiative, to make procurement accessible to SMEs and a clear government mandate to deal with a wider range of innovative companies.
Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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