Mighty Waikato on the world IT map

Hamilton News - - OPINION / NEWS - Jamie Strange Labour List MP

Over the past few years our Waikato econ­omy has been di­ver­si­fy­ing. One of the key de­vel­op­ments has been a bur­geon­ing In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (IT) sec­tor.

Busi­nesses like Hamil­ton soft­ware spe­cial­ist Com­pany-x and Cam­bridge data stor­age ex­pert Nyr­iad are at the zenith of their in­dus­try. They have both put the Mighty Waikato on the world IT map, pack­ing a hefty punch in their re­spec­tive fields in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Com­pany-x, for ex­am­ple, has grown be­yond its team of two found­ing di­rec­tors David Hal­lett and Jeremy Hughes in 2012 to more than 50, work­ing on soft­ware de­vel­op­ment projects do­mes­ti­cally and glob­ally. Last year Deloitte, the world’s largest pro­fes­sional ser­vices com­pany, recog­nised Com­pany-x’s growth and ranked it on the 2017 Deloitte Tech­nol­ogy Fast 500 Asia Pa­cific in­dex of the 500 fastest grow­ing tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies in the Asia Pa­cific re­gion. Com­pany-x more than dou­bled its rev­enue in 2017, grow­ing 138 per­cent.

With Bri­tish server and stor­age so­lu­tions provider Bos­ton Ltd, Nyr­iad an­nounced the world’s first Graph­ics Pro­cess­ing Unit­pow­ered Solid State Drive so­lu­tion at the In­ter­na­tional Su­per­com­put­ing Con­fer­ence in June. Nyr­iad, founded in 2015 by di­rec­tors Graeme Milne, Joanna Perry, Matthew Sim­mons and Alexan­der St John (former GM at Mi­crosoft, lead de­vel­oper of Win­dows 95, and cre­ator of Mi­crosoft Directx OS used by Xbox), col­lab­o­rated with Bos­ton on the Igloo Ne­bari. The end re­sult was de­scribed as a next gen­er­a­tion stor­age so­lu­tion that solves many prob­lems of data re­silience, avail­abil­ity and prov­i­dence. Bos­ton is Nyraid’s first part­ner­ship in Europe.

Mi­crosoft New Zealand manag­ing di­rec­tor Bar­rie Sheers de­scribes the Waikato as “a re­ally in­ter­est­ing tech­nol­ogy hub”. He is help­ing the Waikato IT sec­tor grow by work­ing closely with start-ups.

The Waikato re­gion’s IT sec­tor employs more than 2600 peo­ple, and con­trib­utes well over $100 mil­lion in ex­ports and more than $800 mil­lion to New Zealand’s GDP. Last year it grew by $109 mil­lion, or 22 per­cent.

The Cul­ti­vateit clus­ter was launched last year to nur­ture the Waikato IT sec­tor and at­tract and re­tain great peo­ple. Win­tec-based busi­ness in­cu­ba­tor Soda Inc, and the re­gion’s vi­brant busi­ness growth hub Waikato In­no­va­tion Park, both also strive to sup­port the sec­tor.

The Waikato re­gion’s IT sec­tor employs more than 2600 peo­ple, and con­trib­utes well over $100 mil­lion in ex­ports and more than $800 mil­lion to New Zealand’s GDP.

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