The technology sector in New Zealand is thriving.
Employing over 110,00 staff and contributing $8 billion to GDP, it’s an important chunk of the economy. And, it’s likely to get even bigger with the likes of support from organisations like Callaghan Innovation.
It’s wonderful to see so many Kiwi businesses growing and performing so well on the global stage.
While many startups in NZ are growing quickly, it typically takes years before an exit. So, who made the headlines in 2021?
I’ve summarised a few of my favourites below!
Started back in 2006 by two Auckland brothers, Ninja Kiwi launched with a single game. Since then they’ve created over 60 games, ready to play on all the major platforms.
They were purchased by Stockholm based Modern Times Grou (MTG) for around 1.6 billion crowns ($203 million NZD).
Across New Zealand, the future looks bright for other gaming companies, too. The global gaming industry is valued at $167 billion, with an estimate of USD $314 billion by 2026.
With the adoption of working-from-home all over the world, and the ingenuity of other gaming companies in New Zealand like PikPok, New Zealand’s distance from the rest of the world isn’t likely to hold us back either!
If we’re talking about acquisitions in NZ tech during 2021, Vend is definitely coming up in the conversation.
People selling products or services need a point of sale (POS) system. Enter, Vend. Set up in 2010, Vend perceptively identified the huge market available to them, and managed to build up over 20,000 customers over the years.
Lightspeed POS Inc, a Montreal, Canada based software company bought Vend for a whopping $455 million, which puts Vend on the far end of the spectrum of tech exits by value.
Operating in the same industry, I’d imagine that the purchase of Vend gave Lightspeed a stronger foothold in the APAC region and no doubt access to some world class technology.
I never said I don’t play favourites, and our digital partner Timely was by far my favourite tech acquisition of 2021.
A fantastic niche play that allows customers in the beauty industry to easily schedule and pay for their beauty or cosmetic appointments, Timely now helps over 50,000 businesses and has offices around the world.
Timely was purchased by Denver based EverCommerce. EverCommerce provides business management, payment acceptance, marketing technology, and customer engagement solutions for service providers.
While the total sum of the deal hasn’t been disclosed, the Overseas Investment Office was involved, signalling it was higher than $100 million.
Operating in the mining, civil engineering and geothermal energy space, Seequent might not have been a household name, but that didn’t stop the team from Bentley Systems from spending $1.45 billion on the acquisition.
Another world-class product and great ambassador for the NZ tech ecosystem, the Seequent headquarters will remain in Christchurch post acquisition.
Seequent’s software provides integrated earth modelling and geo-data management, allowing their customers to clearly analyse data and make informed decisions.
Seequent hasn’t slowed down either, recently purchasing Canadian software company Minalytix, developer of mining industry software MX Deposit.
Trademark law can be complicated and varies depending on where you’re based.
That didn’t stop Sortify.tm from building software that allows trademark attorneys to provide exceptional service to their customers, across 65 jurisdictions.
In New Zealand and Australia alone, they are the top-ranked online trademark filing website and in the top five of ranked trademark filing agents.
Sortify.tm was purchased in September by QANTM Intellectual Property Limited, an ASX listed company, for $11.4 million. We expect to see their continued growth in international markets (they recently launched in the UK) over the next few years.
For any product based business, knowing what’s happening in your supply chain and where your products are, can make or break you. Unleashed built a management platform designed for manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors that helps them easily track their inventory with real-time reporting.
The Access Group is a UK-based company that provides a suite of software to help make businesses more efficient, across aspects like payroll, HR and now, thanks to the purchase of Unleashed, inventory management.
This follows on the heels of their recent purchase of Attaché, an Australian based finance and payroll business, which gives an indication of their growth plans in the region.
Also operating in the inventory management space, Cin7 focuses more on retailers. While its complex to manage several channels such as Amazon, Shopify, and more, nailing efficient management of inventory results in fewer disappointed customers and better service overall.
The company was purchased by Rubicon, who found a natural match in Cin7. Purchased for $133.3 million, Cin7 has gone on to make its own acquisitions, too.
In 2021, they acquired Sydney-based DEAR Systems and US company Orderhive to add to its own inventory management software offerings.
Perhaps a story of what’s to come with the disruption of artificial intelligence and machine learning, MinterEllisonRuddWatts co-founded McCarthyFinch, a legal AI company.
It works across everything from contract lifecycle management to enterprise legal management, e-billing, matter management and our workflow automation platform.
US-headquartered Onit is a technology based legal firm. With 20-years in the industry, they have the pedigree to know what their industry needs.
In the age of Covid, the whole transaction took place over Zoom and it’s looking like that will continue with McCarthyFinch set to stay put in NZ.
Another operator in the legal field is Actionstep. Looking to support law firms throughout their entire customer journey, from enquiries and on-boarding, to client relationships and invoicing. Providing a seamless experience for their firms’ customers can increase profitability and ensure all customers receive a high level of service.
With the extensive client base in the US, Actionstep was an attractive looking business for private equity firm Serent Partners.
Based out of both Austin and San Francisco, Serent Partners works with a huge variety of businesses. This support is set to help Actionstep continue to grow their customer base.
Tech Sector Mergers and Acquisitions
Four tech startups sold for billions
Kiwi software company Seequent buys Canadian company