25 Oct 2018

Tech sector hoping NZ investors will seize opportunities

11:41 am on 25 October 2018

The technology industry wants more New Zealand investors to recognise the growth opportunities offered by the sector and invest rather than let international investors find the bargains.

The Technology Investment Network said export revenues from tech-sector businesses have outperformed other export sectors, with an annual average growth rate of 6.6 percent.

Exports from the top 200 tech companies are expected to rise to $10 billion within the next four years.

Network managing director Greg Shanahan said the main challenges facing the industry are finding and keeping skilled staff and enough capital to grow companies to be able to compete globally.

"Capital is becoming more global, no matter what part of the world you're in. And so we need more investors who are going to hold a New Zealand centric view," Mr Shanahan said.

"That's not to say that's a bad thing to sell your company to foreign investors. But we need to build up our portfolio of really large global companies to support the growth of a larger sector."

He said the aim is to get companies to the size of sector leaders, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Datacom.

Mr Shanahan said more than half of the industry's rising stars received public funding or angel investment in the past year, with an unprecedented level of foreign investment in early stage companies.

But large-scale investment was a different story, with most of the interest coming from overseas investors.

He said the sector's hunger for talent had helped drive up the number of tertiary students in related fields by 20 percent in the past decade, which outpaced the overall enrolment growth of two percent.

However, he said there was still a need for more people with specialised skills.

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