More than two dozen New Zealand firms, many startups have set up shop in Metro Denver and Boulder in recent years, making the region a launching pad for their US ambitions.
New Zealand has about 900,000 fewer inhabitants than Colorado, and has been left in a limited domestic market, even with customers from nearby Australia. Though small, the country is a hub of innovation with global reach. When it comes to setting up US operations, they are choosing Denver over Silicon Valley and other competitors.
“The mindset in Colorado is great for New Zealanders,” said Andy Berner, vice president of people and business at Zero, a provider of cloud-based business accounting software. “I was amazed at how welcoming and open the city is.”
Zero, a fast-growing QuickBooks competitor, moved its US headquarters from there. Metro Denver in San Francisco 2017.. From about 80 local employees before the move, Denver is now home to more than 200 of the company’s 300 U.S. employees.
The company is a leader in New Zealand’s tech community, and its decision to leave Northern California, the landing site for tech transplants, helped put Colorado on the map. Berner and other Zero executives actively promote Denver, making their compatriots more comfortable landing here.
Most New Zealand companies coming to Colorado are tech-focused, and some focus on aerospace, an industry where Colorado is a leader. Agriculture and energy are other areas of overlap. Kiwi companies operating in Colorado include AD Instruments, Adeption, Auror, Cin7, FileInvite, Fingermark, Holmes Solutions, Medtech Global, TracPlus and Vend.
Berner and other New Zealand executives cited similar reasons why they chose Denver over Northern California, and why Denver beat rivals such as Salt Lake City, Austin and Chicago.
Hacker, vice president of revenue and operations at Document Sharing Platform, File Invite, said access to capital, customers and skills were the main reasons Denver won over alternatives. North American base in June A decision that ultimately brought 140 jobs to Denver.
Denver and Boulder have a strong foundation of technical expertise, and skilled workers are ready to move here, which is helpful for foreign companies trying to explore American labor markets. Denver’s interior and a variety of domestic flights make it easy to reach other markets.
When it comes to connecting to the Home Office in New Zealand, the Mountain Time Zone also works. And domestic costs are lower than in more expensive coastal markets.
“What really sealed the deal for Denver was a standard of living and a culture that blends well with our business and New Zealand culture,” the hacker said. “We both want to work hard and make things happen faster, but do it humanely.”
A comprehensive effort.
Although recruitment efforts have now gained momentum, a key accelerator was the Denver Economic Development and Opportunities and an active access to the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, which two years ago launched a trade mission to New Zealand and Australia. Led.
Stephanie Garnica, director of global business development at DEDO, said Denver recruited foreign companies through commercial offices until the Great Depression forced it to retreat. In 2018, the city resumed its international outreach with Garnica and two other employees, which resulted in a huge benefit in interest and relocation.
“New Zealand and Australia are big standouts. They are our two target markets because of the success we have had and because of the community here.
Such as programs. Denver Startup Week. And Global landing pad. Help established and start-up companies from both countries connect with the local business community. New Zealand and Australia have become so important to send countries that the DEDO has dedicated a whole global landing pad program to them in the spring.
“We also know that a positive experience with Colorado, starting with one company’s initial investigation and continuing through groundbreaking and recruitment here in the state, will lead to the introduction of other companies. We’ve seen a good deal of this. New Zealand and Australian companies have cited companies in their networks and discovered how they too can successfully grow their business in the state.
Headwigger said Australia was the third largest source of foreign direct investment in Colorado, linked to Germany. Despite its small size, New Zealand is the sixth largest provider of foreign direct investment, along with France and Switzerland.
A cultural fit.
Although Bay Area represents Mecca for the introduction of technology, doing business there is expensive and the competition for talent is fierce, Garnica said. And with more options available, employees are becoming less loyal.
“You want to do exciting work and you want to work hard, but you also want to enjoy the outdoors,” said Tom Bitterberry, co-founder and co-CEO of Auror, announcing the “Aura” of shared ethics. Has gone Held driving is closer to Colorado than to Silicon Valley culture.
On the sea side, New Zealand and Colorado both share great scenery and lots of fun.
“The clutch is in San Francisco, and we quickly turned it down. We looked at Portland (Ore.) But it didn’t feel right for us. Another city on the shortlist was Denver and Austin in Chicago. Except for the lack of an external environment.
Ovar provides crime intelligence software that helps retailers track theft cases and report them to authorities, so that they are better equipped to catch repeat offenders and catch crime rings. Are The company initially realized that it needed to work with global retailers to succeed. Although Denver operations still consist of six people, including Betterbury, rapid growth is expected as the North American market opens.
“In fact, 90 of our businesses are likely to be out of North America in the next few years, and we would expect to have more than 100 people on this team,” he said.
One of the things that helped me overcome Bitterbury was talking to Berner about Denver’s strengths in other cities. Batterbury now recruits other executives from New Zealand. And there are small changes that he is seeing that have made life more comfortable here.
“There are some places that offer New Zealand and Australian meat pies and now there are two New Zealand-style ice cream shops, including one along Lake Sloan,” he said. “It makes you feel close to home.”
Another confirmation that he made the right choice came when he and his wife had another child and a neighbor came out to help, serving as a surrogate for the family and friends he had. Had left
For the hacker, the presence of other New Zealand companies was not as big a factor as it was for the Denver business community.
“We could say that when we were talking we were welcome there and as a narrow-minded community. People were comfortable making references,” he said. Is to have access to local venture capital resources to fund its development.
The country’s economic development agency, the New Zealand Office of Trade and Enterprise, has a representative in Denver, highlighting the importance of this connection. And in another sign, New Zealand nominated Berner as honorary consul for Colorado this summer.
Announcing Berner’s appointment, New Zealand Consul General Jeremy Clark Watson said, “Colorado is an increasingly important market and growing U.S. hub for New Zealand businesses, especially in the areas of information technology and aerospace. “
Serving their favorite foods rather than restaurants, something New Zealanders have moved into the state said the relationship would be a non-stop air link between Denver and Auckland. Betterbury said the 7,200-mile route could be shaved two or three hours from existing contacts via Los Angeles and improved with sleep schedules.
For this, he confirmed that Denver could support a non-stop flight when he saw that many people flying with him between Auckland and Los Angeles jumped on the flight he was taking to Denver. had lived.
Auckland is a target market for future non-stop service, said Laura Jackson, vice president of air service development at the airport.
“The core principles of our business case are strong, supportive of continued corporate investment between Colorado and New Zealand, and we expect that efforts will be resumed with the easing of travel restrictions,” he said.