Record-setting year for NZ tech

According to the annual Technology Investment Network (TIN) Report, the TIN200 companies passed a landmark in 2021, recording $10B in export revenue from nearly $14B in combined revenue; signs the tech sector is growing in maturity and vital to New Zealand’s economic success.

Driven by the 14.4 percent increase in exports, the TIN200 group of technology companies is now the second highest offshore revenue-earning sector in New Zealand, with exports to the key markets of Australia, Asia, Europe and North America all recording double-digit growth.

Now in its 17th year, the TIN Report has become a critical reference for benchmarking the performance of New Zealand’s 200 largest globally-focused technology companies, categorised according to the primary sectors of Biotech, ICT and High-Tech Manufacturing.

A return to double-digit growth, despite disruptions
After a full year of operating with COVID and varying levels of lockdowns, the TIN200 companies have shown amazing resilience in recording double-digit growth, with the annual growth rate of 11.5% exceeding the 10.9% 5-year CAGR.  Revenue growth was more than $1.4B, once again breaking the $1B barrier.

TIN founder and managing director Greg Shanahan says that despite the challenges of COVID-19 over the past year, many TIN200 companies have shown resilience, creativity, and innovation to achieve unprecedented investment opportunities and record growth.

“It’s been a truly defining year, characterised by upheaval, uncertainty and unprecedented challenges in many quarters,” he said. “Against this backdrop, Aotearoa New Zealand’s overall tech export sector is still gaining speed, building critical mass, and attracting global investor attention, ahead of its long-term growth trajectory.

“This is hugely significant for our economy in terms of the increasing demand for skilled talent, growth in productivity and the major changes of capital flows into tech opportunities.”

High-tech manufacturing and Healthcare top the sectors
According to the report, High-tech manufacturing is the largest sector and driver of growth, generating 63% of TIN revenue growth, with more than three quarters coming from Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.  ICT sector growth slowed this year; down from 13.0% in 2020 to 10.3%.

Healthcare was both the largest and fastest-growing secondary sector for the TIN200; contributing 49.1% of the total TIN200 revenue growth in 2021.  Despite the disruptions of the past year, the four fastest growing secondary sectors in the TIN200 – Healthcare, Fintech, Software Solutions and Communications Solutions — achieved double-digit growth rates.  In addition, Communications Solutions doubled its 5-year growth rate and grew its workforce by 30%.

Thousands of new jobs created globally
TIN200 companies now employ more than 57,000 staff, increasing employment by over 3,000 (+ $5.9%) vs 4,000 (+8.4%) in 2020. The downward shift in staff growth can be partially attributed to border restrictions and domestic talent shortages.

Record number of companies sold, listed
With a record number of TIN200 companies sold, there is a clear and increasing global appetite for New Zealand technology firms. A total of 12 TIN200 companies were sold in late 2020 and 2021, with the scale and size surpassing previous years. This includes Seequent and Vend, sold for NZD$1.46B and NZD$455m, respectively, representing some of the most significant acquisitions involving New Zealand technology companies.

This year has also been a standout year for listings, the highest since 2014, with a total of four TIN200 companies listing over the last year. In addition, Rocket Lab started trading on the Nasdaq in late August 2021, using a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) and going public with an initial value of USD$5.2B. Increasingly New Zealand’s tech companies are raising capital in public markets and using it to drive global expansion and revenue growth.

Central North Island makes biggest gains, Auckland the powerhouse
The Central North Island region, home to 12 of the TIN200 companies, showed the largest revenue increase this year, rising 18.4% to $273m, as well as the highest 5-year CAGR of 20.4%. While the region may be relatively small, it showcases some of the fastest growing and best performing tech companies in New Zealand.

Auckland, home to 120 of the TIN200 companies, continues to be the powerhouse of the NZ tech sector, generating 56.6% of overall TIN200 revenue at $7.912B.

Copies of the 2021 TIN Report, which is sponsored by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), Absolute IT, BNZ, EY, James & Wells, and NZX, can be ordered here.

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Record-setting year for NZ tech