Why New Zealand Is a world leader at developing software start-ups

Wellington harbour

Wellington Waterfront

This month a new quality of life survey by Deutsche Bank ranked Wellington number one.

We beat out 46 cities to be ranked first. The survey measured factors including cost of living, pollution, climate and house prices.

All of these factors, also make for an attractive base for business.

With the city being an easy place to live, with more affordable housing than Auckland (our other major tech hub) and public transportation also making it easy to work in the city but live the gentle lifestyle of the rural Wairarapa or beachy Kapiti Coast.

It is also not surprising that an initiative to attract quality talent in the technology sector LookSee at Wellington recently attracted 48,703 applicants, from which 100 candidates have been selected to visit Wellington next week for interviews with prospective employers.

NZ may be at the bottom of the world when it comes to geographic locale but us Kiwis are quickly approaching the top when it comes to lean start-ups and tech. Wellington is a hub for tech startup growth and SaaS companies in particular.

Xero was born here, so was UX darling Optimal Workshop, and the burgeoning decision-making software Loomio.

So what makes our fair city so ripe for tech start-ups?

What Makes a Ripe Climate for Starting a Tech Business?

lake wanaka

Lake Wanaka

Ingenuity and innovation are hard-coded into Kiwis from the beginning – we’re taught about Sir Ed at primary school and his no mountain too steep attitude, we’re versed in the resilience of the All Blacks and Team New Zealand, and we all know and love the stories of Sir Rutherford. We aren’t Australia+ we’re our own brand of something special.

Historically speaking, when faced with a problem, or a need, New Zealanders prefer to find or create, a solution themselves. This combined with the fact that New Zealand is a great place to “ do business” makes for an exciting time ahead for the New Zealand tech industry.

New Zealand’s economic quality, business environment, governance, education, health, personal freedom and environment all helped to place it first on the 149 country list released by the Legatum Prosperity Index for 2016.

Tech Start-Ups Calling the Capital Home


Rollo Wipster Founder

Living in Wellington, it has been exciting to see the city become the “high-tech capital of New Zealand”.

Some of Wellington’s recent successful start-ups include Wipster, PledgeMe, Paper Kite, Touchtech, and Publons. These are just the tip of the iceberg, to get a sense of what lies below  NZ Startup of the Week is a great place to start.

Publons emerged in 2013, works with top publishers worldwide so you can effortlessly track, verify and showcase your peer review contributions across the world’s journals. The aim is to accelerate science and provide peer review experts with the recognition they deserve. To date, more than 90,000 experts have joined Publons.

Wipster’s platform makes the process of uploading, sharing and reviewing video content collaboratively, a walk in the park.

Global Companies, such as Microsoft, are even starting to buy out these companies, Green Button in 2014 for example. Success such as this enables investment capital to be redeployed to grow more Wellington tech companies, via successful investors reinvesting, in many cases via the local Angel network, Angel HQ, which has invested $12m in Wellington Start-ups.

SaaS and Tech Meet-Ups

As more and more tech startups emerge from our biggest cities, so too are their support networks. LinkedIn and Meetup are helping to connect tech companies with one another and to develop a real sense of community.

Software companies in both Wellington and Auckland have the added advantage of being able to join groups like Kiss my SaaS, “a  network of professionals employed in and leading New Zealand-based SaaS companies that are going global.” SaaS members meet regularly to share information and in doing so, members become smarter about building, selling marketing and supporting SaaS products internationally.

There are also regular sector focussed accelerator programmes constantly generating new companies, such as the KiwiBank Fintech Accelerator, which has demo days this week! And regular, Lightning Labs. TourWriter was even approached by one of the companies to see if they could squeeze into our space…it’s all getting a bit cramped down here in Wellington with all these great people and ideas around!  

Why Tourwriter Calls Wellington Home

Escape game tourwriter family

TourWriter Family – Escape Game

Tourwriter was born in Wellington in 2004 after co-founders and long-term travel industry entrepreneurs Glenn Campbell and Seba Illingworth saw a need for a back-end system for Tour Operators to store their customer and supplier information. A software application that also integrated with itinerary publishing and sales reporting. “We designed Tourswriter so we could sell more tailor-made travel itineraries without needing to hire more staff “.

Since it began Tourwriter has opened offices in the USA, UK, India and soon Canada.

Further reading

How does the travel industry actually work?

How does the travel industry actually work?

Who are the key players in the industry, where do they all fit together and how does the industry actually work?! There’s no doubt that the travel industry is a confusing space to wrap your head around so we’ve broken it down for you in this easy new resource.

Tourism news websites you can trust

Tourism news websites you can trust

In the tourism industry it can be hard to differentiate the reliable travel news sources from the not-so-trustworthy ones. In this blog we summarise the top travel news websites that tour operators, travel agencies and DMC’s should pay attention to.

How to set your team up for success when introducing new software

How to set your team up for success when introducing new software

Making changes happen is hard. Especially when it is something that will create a significant impact on the way you work, like new software. We discover what change management is and how it can assist you, your leaders and your team in creating new processes that will make you more successful in the long run. Is it time for a change?