INSPIRED BY KIWI INNOVATION
EKanoo racing's world record-breaking Porsche 911 Turbo tuned by ESMotor. It did the 1/4 mile in 8.99 sec at 160mph using a Dodson Motorsport PDK clutch.
For the average person a car is an object, a mode of transport, something to be used, admired but not modified. For motor enthusiasts (a unique subset of society) - a car is more like a child, something to be developed, a passion, a project, a piece of ‘you’ the owner.
Much like how parents will spend thousands of dollars to fulfill their child's potential, the multi-million dollar aftermarket car modification industry is based on a simple question, "How can we make it better?”
Dodson Motorsport has established itself as a world leader in the production of dual clutch transmission systems by providing answers to that very question.
Based in Auckland’s Grow North Innovation District in Wairau Valley on the North Shore, Dodson Motorsport was founded in 2000 by automotive engineer Glenn Cupit and Harry Dodson of Dodson Autospares.
Having built a name for themselves in motorsport tuning, fabrication and development, the company now offers a wide range of transmission upgrades for high performance and high-end vehicles.
The company is now one of New Zealand’s top exporters. With a global network of over 200 dealers in 50 countries, enthusiasts can access performance parts worldwide.
Dodson’s patented components are renowned for handling higher horsepower and torque, reducing heat, and improving grip and reliability.
“As the car manufacturers rolled out dual clutches more than ten years ago, Dodson found unique ways to redesign and modify the transmission," says Dodson Motorsport General Manager, Steven Parker.
“We concentrated on high strength and high performance and developed a niche market. We were not driven by reducing cost but providing the best possible outcome.”
One may wonder how you improve on parts that have been meticulously designed by large car companies? Where do you begin to redesign and upgrade?
When designing aftermarket parts, Dodson engineers start by focusing on the weakest points and providing strengthening to withstand higher loads.
Through careful analysis, designers can modify the structure and select manufacturing processes and materials to cope with high performance loads.
Products are prototyped and then undergo meticulous testing before being released to the market. The end result is that car owners can push their vehicles to the limits and utilise the extra power developed from aftermarket modifications.
To promote their products, Dodson sponsors some of the fastest cars in the world including the fastest BMW FX8, Porshce PDK, Nissan GT-R and MK7 VW Golf drag racing cars.
Their products are regularly tested in track and time trial racing environments as well, to ensure reliability and durability.
Dodson’s accolades and achievements are growing.
In their quest to further develop manufacturing technologies, the company has partnered with Auckland University of Technology’s Faculty of Engineering to develop advanced induction hardening methods for complex steel parts.
Dodson has been awarded a three to five year Callaghan Growth Grant for Research and Development. It’s recently been named a Finalist in Westpac Business Awards 2016 and 2017 – International Trade. The New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) has also provided backing recently to promote Dodson in the 2017 PRI (Performance Racing Industry) trade show in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Where to next
Having upgraded the clutch systems on a range of high performance vehicles including Nissan, Mitsubishi, VW, Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Porsche and Lamborghini, Parker is confident about the company’s future;
“We are releasing more products, we have a design pipeline running for the next five years and we are diversifying into other brands of vehicles and new markets.”
In the race to push limits in performance and innovation, Dodson Motorsport is only just gearing up.
Shore Junction will foster youth innovation and cater to high school and tertiary learners, including students that don’t necessarily fit into the traditional school mould.
In an ever-changing world that’s complicated and at times confusing, as a young person the pressure to make the right decisions and succeed can be overwhelming.
Shore Junction is being designed and developed in direct response to the needs and challenges of today’s youth. It’s an exciting new project that really gets young people and will measurably improve their wellbeing.
Shore Junction was initially conceptualised and developed by YOUnite which is the local youth board for Devonport-Takapuna. Construction is currently underway to transform the former Takapuna RSA into ‘two levels of amazing’. It is set to open in January 2019.
The centre will cater to high school and tertiary learners, including students that don’t necessarily fit into the traditional school mould.
The aim is to provide a space where creativity and self-expression is celebrated and everyone is accepted. Students are encouraged to try new things and meet new people.
Shore Junction will provide technical facilities, integrated courses and events that encourage young people to successfully transition to further education, enterprise and employment. It will allow them to develop the critical skills, connections and networks to innovate and succeed in a modern economy.
Community Director, Melanie Barr explains, “My personal objectives are to ensure that Shore Junction creates a positive imprint on the community and provides a safe environment for students to create, collaborate, innovate and learn.”
The Shore Junction community is made up of individuals, businesses, youth, parents, schools and government representatives all working towards a supportive and youth-friendly community.
“Takapuna has so much going on, the whole North Shore does. We are spoilt by the number of engineering and tech companies based in Takapuna, the business expertise available on our front door and the atmosphere of the community is always positive and upbeat,” says Barr.
Pioneering tomorrow’s generation of change-makers, Shore Junction is set to become another important player in the Grow North Innovation District ecosystem. An ecosystem that will foster talent, validate ideas and take them to the global market quickly.
BEP Marine designs and manufactures an extensive range of high quality electrical components for the harsh marine and mobile automotive markets. Performance and reliability are critical to withstanding the most extreme and unforgiving conditions at sea and on land.
Technology has and continues to transform our outdoor experiences.
As the need for safer and more extreme pursuits on land and at sea increases, so does the demand for reliable high-quality electrical solutions that support this ever amounting technology and its functions.
Leading the charge with their award-winning range of electrical solutions is BEP Marine Ltd.
BEP Marine was founded in 1995. Its headquarters are located in Albany in the Grow North Innovation District. BEP and CZone brand products have become a New Zealand success story and the go-to power management and digital switching solutions across the globe.
BEP Marine is owned by Power Products LLC, a global manufacturer and supplier of electrical products for construction and maintenance, recreational marine and specialty vehicles, industrial power, and transportation – global sister brands Including Ancor, Blue Sea Systems, Marinco, Mastervolt and more.
BEP Marine designs and manufactures an extensive range of high quality electrical components for the harsh marine and mobile automotive markets under the BEP and CZone brands. For BEP’s range of power management products, performance and reliability are critical to withstanding the most extreme and unforgiving conditions at sea and on land.
BEP has been a quality brand in the market for over two decades, trusted by industry leading boat builders and the product of choice for electrical installers.
CZone’s digital switching solution offers leading innovation in simplifying control and monitoring for complete onboard electrical systems and integrated products. With one touch CZone's intelligent management simplifies operation by combining multiple circuits through Mode selection, offers effortless Monitoring oversight of key systems and components while retaining advanced Control of specific circuits and functions.
Following on from the ongoing success of CZone digital switching innovations, BEP Marine continues to engineer innovative products that simplify the installation of electrical systems and provide value to their customers. Products that are user friendly, reduce assembly time and save space.
Their product line has expanded to include a broad range of circuit protection, batteries and battery management, power distribution panels, monitors and digital switching technology.
With a global sales and a support network that stretches across the APAC, EMEA and the Americas, all technical, support and installation queries can be resolved quickly and successfully to ensure the customers remain confident in the product and problem free.
BEP and CZone have been stacking up the accolades, most recently with the Boating Industry recently naming the CZone's Combination Output Interface (COI) one of the top 50 products of 2017.
Building on the BEP legacy, BEP Marine and the wider Power Products company will continue to leverage new technology and innovate new products that are technically excellent and commercially competitive.
Today every business must address the challenge of internal and external data movement and sharing.
The principal challenge of digital transformation is integration — disentangling the technologies of databases, hardware, platforms, mobile devices and operating systems of wildly varying vintages and keeping them all talking to each other.
There’s a specific software niche devoted to helping companies integrate their technologies for production, distribution, marketing, ecommerce and everything else – Middleware.
Middleware was traditionally the realm of large Enterprise companies and Government. Albany, North Shore based Flow Software began in 2005 with the aim of bringing Middleware capability to the mainstream and into the hands of every business.
Flow Software developed its ‘Flow’ product which offers a different approach to data integration and B2B data movement. Its Middleware is capable of being quickly implemented on limited infrastructure, thereby reducing upfront capital expenditure and ongoing implementation costs while providing Enterprise level processing power and scalability to suit the needs of any size organisation.
It reduces the time, cost and risk of traditional bespoke integration and delivers a solution that can be configured to perfectly fit a business’s needs, providing immediate return on investment.
Flow helps companies keep older technologies that do certain jobs well while embracing innovative newcomers. “Technologies like middleware are designed to enable businesses to leverage existing investment in legacy systems as well as bring on new best-of-breed technologies rapidly and with low-risk”, explains David Masters, Flow Software’s CEO.
Flow has grown to over 500 recognised customers across New Zealand, Australia and abroad, integrating hundreds of different business applications and trading partners across different industries.
Read more about how Flow Software has helped companies like Lewis Road Creamery and European Motor Distributors achieve digital transformation.
Follow Flow Software on Linkedin or visit their website.
Getting scaling knowhow into the hands of startups is imperative for our economy. In order to grow a vibrant ecosystem that helps ventures like yours, we need to know more about our upcoming pioneers. If you are selling innovation and have a bold plan we want to hear from you.
Our early pioneering innovators took decades to forge paths into the world’s markets. The scale-up knowledge accumulated by these pioneers along the way enabled them go on to successfully scale other global businesses.
The fierce independence that made these business pioneers successful means that while ‘what’ they have built is widely known, it is ‘how’ they are able to repeatedly start and quickly scale businesses that is not widely understood.
These people have laid a foundation of scaling knowledge that exists across New Zealand and that is not being fully tapped into, and (it happens that) a large amount of this scale-up knowledge is concentrated within Auckland’s North Shore.
Grow North is intent on connecting innovative start-ups into this seam of rich scaling experience to help create a vibrant ecosystem in which hundreds of start-ups will find themselves immersed, surrounded by the knowhow and connections needed to accelerate business growth into international markets.
Thanks to the efforts of research firms like TIN100 we now know a lot about NZ’s top pioneering scaling businesses. However, we need to gather more data about the next tier of upcoming innovators.
We need your help. If you are a business that is located in Auckland North and you are currently selling innovation and have bold plans for growth we would love to hear from you. If you are a supplier providing highly specialised products and services for pioneering innovators we want to hear from you also.
Connect and collaborate to accelerate growth and compete.
Contact the Grow North Innovation District firstname.lastname@example.org
Helping organisations communicate with their staff more effectively. SnapComms uses digital technologies to cut through the clutter and deliver the right messages to the right staff, at the right time. These unmissable channels (and formats) ensure staff are informed of news that’s relevant to them.
Information overload is a significant and growing problem. It prevents organisations from being operationally effective and employees from being well informed.
SnapComms was quick to spot this growing issue, and more than ten years ago, signed up its first customer - Vodafone New Zealand - to use its simple, user-friendly digital solution for internal comms. To this date, there is still no other supplier in the world who offers the breadth and depth of internal communication channels that SnapComms does. Its purpose is to help large organisations break through the clutter of daily communication and deliver important messages to employees – in ways they can't miss.
Based in Takapuna on Auckland’s North Shore, SnapComms provides solutions to solve internal communication challenges. Its employee communication software platform provides seven digital tools. Mobile/desktop alerts, scrolling tickers, screensavers and digital newsletters are just some of the comms channels available to internal communicators, all of which bypass email completely. These help businesses deliver internal messages to staff in the best way and at the right time.
Co-founded by Sarah Perry and Chris Leonard, SnapComms is a self-funded, privately owned business that has grown from small beginnings. The majority of its clients are US-based, with a growing client list in Europe and the rest of the world.
Innovation is at the heart of the company’s DNA. This is achieved through a number of initiatives. For example, working closely with universities to attract and recruit interns and graduates each year so that fresh ideas are tapped into; regular customer workshop sessions hosted by our Lead Innovator (this often means jumping on planes and spending quality face-time at customers’ premises); and attending relevant conferences around the world to ensure the SnapComms team remains at the forefront of digital communication technology and retain its competitive edge.
The business is now a global market leader - serving more than 1.5 million paid enterprise users in 75+ countries (including several Fortune 50 companies). It’s a Deloitte Fast 50 and Fast 500 international company. It won the ICT Exporter of the Year Award in 2015. www.snapcomms.com
Unleashed Software eyes further developments in inventory management software following $7 million boost
In competitive markets, customer loyalty is crucial. And if you are a business dealing with stock, having the right amount in the right place at the right time – and knowing exactly what you’ve got and where – is key to keeping your customers happy.
Unleashed Software is committed to making inventory management easier and more efficient for businesses all over the world. The Auckland North company now has customers in almost 90 countries and has been recognised in the Deloitte Technology Asia Pacific Fast 500 for the last three years running. Unleashed Software has recently been mentioned in the Huffington Post as one of the top 10 small business tools globally.
Unleashed was developed in Massey University’s E-Centre in Albany, making the most of Massey University’s resource and dedication to helping innovative ideas go from garage to global. It was here that CEO and founder Gareth Berry, who is now on the Grow North Innovation District Steering Committee, was introduced to investors to bring his vision to life. His goal was to create software that allowed customers to take control of their inventory health in real time.
Through Unleashed Software, customer retention can be improved by analysing past inventory trends to predict optimal future levels of stock. Efficiency can be improved by knowing exactly where stock is at all times, so any enquiries can be responded to with an accurate prediction of delivery times. Transactions are monitored in real time, and an accurate stock count is available anytime, anywhere.
After their initial investors came on board, more companies started to pay attention to this Kiwi company that's punching well above its weight. After raising $18 million in capital in just a few short years, Unleashed Software has this year announced a Series C investment of NZ$7.0 million from Movac, New Zealand’s largest and most experienced technology investment company. The investment funds will go towards fuelling the development of the next generation inventory management software and support the global growth of the company that now services customers in nearly 90 countries in the wholesale, distribution and manufacturing sectors.
CEO of Unleashed Software Gareth Berry says: “We have been building both our core product and markets for eight years now. We see big opportunities in the United Kingdom and the United States markets where businesses are starting to migrate and adopt best-in-breed component solutions to run their businesses. This presents an amazing opportunity for us, with a substantial amount of growth in our businesses forecast to come from the Northern Hemisphere over the next few years.”
Leaders representing some of New Zealand's highest performing technology businesses at the 2017 TIN Report launch
Inclusion in the ranks of the top technology companies in New Zealand is a benchmark that many companies aspire, bringing kudos, connections and benefits. The information collected by TIN is helping the government, business and the investment community understand NZ’s fastest growing export sector.
The TIN Report is firmly established as NZ’s leading source of information on NZ’s most successful tech exporters.
TIN was formed by Greg Shanahan in 1999 with the simple objective of supporting the growth of NZ’s Technology Export Sector; focussed on High-tech Manufacturing, ICT and Biotechnology.
In 2005 TIN produced its first TIN Report beginning an annual benchmarking study of NZ’s largest technology exporters. The first Report included just 50 companies but it has grown considerably to where in 2017, it included 300 companies.
The catalyst for TIN’s creation was a major event TIN organised for the 2000 defence of the America’s Cup in Auckland which attracted some of the most powerful people in Silicon Valley at the time, including, the late Tom Perkins, founder of legendary venture capital company Klein Perkins, Jim Clark, founder of Silicon Graphics and Netscape, John Sculley, former Apple CEO, and Bill Koch, son Fred Koch, founder of Koch Industries, at the time America’s largest private company.
From their event, TIN set about building a network of NZ’s most successful exporters through regular events focussed on either capital raising or inspirational examples of business growth.
TIN also publishes “The Investor’s Guide to the NZ Technology Sector “in partnership with MBIE and is distributed to over 3000 investment and professional service firms in the Asia Pacific Region.
Based in the Grow North Innovation District, TIN continues to expand, hosting events across the country, including TINShed events for CEO’s and larger TINTalk Events for the broader business community.
In 2017 the revenue of 200 largest companies in the TIN Report passed the NZ$10B milestone for the first time and produced an equivalent export value of 10% of NZ’s exports. Total employee figures surged past 43,000.
The momentum of NZ’s tech export sector is now firmly established. It is changing NZ and the way that we think about our country, in ways that we could have only imagined when TIN began in 1999.
See a snapshot of the 2017 TIN Report: https://tin100.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/2017-TIN-Report-Snapshot.pdf
TIN and the Grow North Innovation District have joined forces to collect and analyse data on the top emerging innovative businesses within the Grow North district. The Grow North TIN Report findings will be discussed at the Grow North Innovation Event to be held at the B:Hive Takapuna on 07 May 2018.
Imagine contacting your bank or mobile phone company at any time day or night and be instantly connected to someone who recognises you, is attentive and concerned about your problem, recalls your transaction history and resolves your problem there and then - a genuine one-call resolution each time. Then, if you were to call 12 months later the company would immediately remember you.
FaceMe’s ‘digital employee’ never leaves their job and constantly learns from each customer transaction, continually gathering vital customer data. Furthermore when they meet a customer face to face or over Skype they respond according to each customer’s emotional state.
These are not robotic ‘synths’ that create good science fiction stories. Digital employees only ever exist on the phone, computer or tablet or in-store with the sole purpose of providing amazing customer experiences.
FaceMe have a background of world-firsts and continue to focus on making complex technology, simple and accessible. FaceMe’s recent project, Nadia, was the first ‘Virtual Assistant’ built for over 460,000 people with disability in Australia; FaceMe is now challenging all businesses to review their approach to digital customer interfaces.
From their Smales Farm base in Auckland North FaceMe are enabling customers in New Zealand, Australia and the USA.
FaceMe recently won the Virgin Business Challenge, voted The Most Likely NZ Startup to Succeed Internationally. This gave FaceMe access to mentoring from Richard Branson and built the foundation for FaceMe to become an international business.
Danny Tomsett, FaceMe’s founder says “Amazing customer experience is about people and AI working together in a pervasive way with immediacy, personalisation and empathy being core. We know people are great at building relationships and doing complex tasks; AI has an incredible ability to learn and complete high volume transactions. We believe this approach is the recipe to re-define Customer Experience.”
Customers’ expectations of service are higher today than ever before and have such a significant weighting on both loyalty and wallet share. As customer experience increasingly becomes a key strategic driver for most firms, the traditional contact centre will be disrupted by Artificial Intelligence, estimated to be a $47b market by 2020. www.faceme.com
FaceMe's founder and CEO Danny Tomsett in conversation with digital employee Elyssa.
Sealegs has grown from a single inspired idea into a global company providing craft for civil defence, military use and for many global customers including acclaimed designer Philippe Stark.
How many ideas are discussed over a few beers and later dismissed as unfeasible? How many ideas come from the thought;
“I wish there was an easier way to do this” and then turn into a unique product that grows into a global business?
New Zealand has a long history of marine innovation. Kiwis were the first to use refrigerated ship holds to export meat and butter around the world. Kiwi farmer Bill Hamilton built a jet boat to travel up shallow South Island rivers. Today his company is providing commercial jet boat engines globally. SEALEGS® began with a revolutionary idea to make boat launching and retrieval easy and today is providing purpose-built amphibious craft to customers around the world.
Sealegs patented fully integrated solution uses motorised, retractable, steerable wheels that allow craft to be driven from a storage location down a boat ramp or beach and into the water with the occupants remaining dry within the boat. Once in the water Sealegs wheels are retracted allowing normal high-speed boat operations.
A Sealegs craft’s unique ability to transverse land and water allows them to travel through floodwaters of varying depths, allowing fast and effective access to communities in flooded urban and rural communities making Sealegs ideal for civil defence work.
The craft are increasingly used for purposes such as super yacht tenders allowing access to remote beaches and waterways. A Sealegs craft was recently built to Phillipe Starck’s exacting specification for his own personal use, and a customised fleet of Sealegs craft recently went to the Fijian government to support emergency response operations with 23 Sealegs amphibious craft supplied to the Malaysian Civil Defence Force. See the press release here.
Owned by Future Mobility Solutions, Sealegs operates from its modern factory and offices in Auckland North where complete craft and amphibious enablement kits are designed and built.
The company that began with a “I wish there was an easier way” dream of effortless boating has become a publicly listed company that has designed and built more than 1250 amphibious craft that can be found in more than 55 countries.
Grow North articles are written by those who work closely with businesses, incubators, accelerators, academics, investors and business interest groups within the Auckland North Innovation Corridor.
For more Innovative Kiwi stories
For more information about the Grow North Smart Innovation District
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For more information on Grow North's Partners