Technology companies need to skite more

Perhaps the main ‘problem’ with the majority of the companies that make up the TIN100 is they fly beneath the general public’s radar.

They’re not about fashion, or coffee, or rugby, and 90% of the revenue earned by these clever companies is from easy-to-miss exports. If they were in the USA or Germany or China, they’d be feted.

Even though the ICT software/services, high tech manufacturing and biotechnology companies that make up the ‘Technology Investment Network 100’ had record revenues of $7 billion last year, many New Zealanders would be hard-pressed to name half a dozen of them. (The TIN100 report is here.)

Which is a pity, because in a time of economic tightness, the top 100 (there’s also a second 100) grew revenues by 5%, and lifted employee numbers by 6% to 30,000.

One of the reasons for such strong performance is that R&D spend by these companies is 5% of total sales. At the same time they’re selling stuff, they’re getting the next products ready for the market as well.

And there must be faith in this strategy – R&D employee numbers grew by 6% in these companies.

For TIN100 principal sponsor, IRL (about to become high-tech HQ), the statistic that R&D partnerships with universities and CRIs by these companies grew from 13% from 7% must be heartening. As IRL’s commercialisation manager Gavin Mitchell said at the Wellington launch of the report, there’s also a large opportunity for the company to work with the high value manufacturing and other sectors “and help grow on something that’s more than the number eight wire mentality.”

TIN100 managing director Greg Shanahan said one of the features of companies doing well in exports, is how they’re using Australia as a springboard for initial large growth, and leaping to the rest of the world from there.

There’s a heck of a lot of good stuff happening in and by these companies says Shanahan.

“People just aren’t aware of it,” he says.

“If there’s a real plea, talk about your successes locally. That will build the desire of students to study science, to be entrepreneurs. The trouble is, most of these companies are invisible apart from this forum [TIN100].”


About sticknz

sticK is by Peter Kerr, a writer for hire. I have a broad science and technology background and interest, with an original degree in agricultural science. My writing speciality is making the complex understandable. I am available for outside consultancy work, and for general discussions of converting a good idea into something positive
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3 Responses to Technology companies need to skite more

  1. I’ve been writing about technology, business and similar topics for more than 30 years, mainly in New Zealand.

    In my experience technology companies have never been slow when it comes to skiting, or for that matter at outright hyperbole. The problem for smaller, local companies, is hardly anyone is listening. Local media seems more interested in small start-ups operating on the other side of the world than in local companies doing much the same.

    Incidentally, if you’re a tech company targeting small business customers or you’re in the telecommunications sector, get in touch with me. I write for a number of specialist titles and I’d like to hear your stories.

  2. BDB inc says:

    I agree with Bill, too much bragging even research is handed off to PR firms nowdays .
    What do you think is a good oversell/ brag for the lastest tech boom
    (?Even our power supply company genesis energy are moving into the surveillance industry)

  3. Pingback: Take a bow biosciences | sticK – science, technology, innovation & commercialisation KNOWLEDGE

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