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Digital technology sector

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The start-up technology sector continues to find strong investor support and appears to be thriving despite the downturn in the wider economy.

Business consultancy Icehouse Ventures partner Barnaby Marshall said there was still plenty of hands-on support and money to help the sector develop.

He said the pace of investments had returned to the patterns seen in the pre-pandemic era, though deals were taking a bit more time to settle.

“I’d say it’s been a little bit of change in how quickly people do deals and at what price. But great companies are still raising money. There’s plenty of capital still in the ecosystem, and I think what’s going to be really good in the next few years, recycling of their capital.”

Marshall said the tech sector was relatively young in global terms, though it was maturing.

Many of the original tech entrepreneurs from a decade ago were recycling their gains and expertise into up and coming start-ups.

“Everybody’s still here and making long-term commitment to building the tech ecosystem. We believe that the future of New Zealand’s economy is going to be much more based on high value technology exports than what it is today, and we’re here to continue to support that.”

HealthNow founder and chief executive Steven Zinsli said his firm was benefiting from the strength of the New Zealand tech ecosystem with a recent capital raising of $3.4 million to help fund engineering and expansion into Australia.

Zinsli said Trade and Enterprise was among the groups helping New Zealand firms find success in export markets.

“My experience throughout my journey in the tech sector over the last three years has been that they’ve always been pretty heavily focused on supporting newer businesses that have export opportunities to be able to get into other markets,” Zinsli said.

Marshall said the New Zealand tech ecosystem had developed to include international partners as well as veterans of successful start-ups.

While the sector had matured, few tech firms were transitioning to a listing on the NZX capital markets.

Marshall said there was plenty of private equity to help businesses grow.

“I mean, I’d love to see the NZX get more high quality listings. I think that’d be good for the New Zealand economy generally. The challenge is just the kind of cold start challenge where you’ve got great companies have options of multiple capital markets. . . there’s plenty of private capital available to support companies’ growth.”

Beyond that, he said the NZX was a small player compared with the ASX and Nasdaq markets.

Marshall said support for the New Zealand tech sector meant more of its intellectual property was staying in this country, which offered long-term benefits for the economy.

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