Last night was a night to remember. Jacqui and I had planned to attend the 2020 New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards in-person at the Cordis Hotel in Auckland. Not for the first time this year, COVID-19 decided to play an un-supporting role. Instead of hosting an in-person event, the organisers had just 10 days to transit to virtual. They did an awesome job.
For the second year running, I was a judge for the NZTE Best Hi-Tech Solution for the Agritech Sector category. My fellow judges and I had selected four finalists from the large number of entries. Given the high quality of submissions this had in itself been a task. We had however to make the call and our final four were;
Last night, Compac were announced as the worthy winners of the category. Compac provides integrated post-harvest solutions and services to the global fresh produce industry. The company’s mission is to enable its customers to improve returns, gain operational efficiencies and ensure a safe food supply via the application of smart, useable technologies.
My congratulations to the other three finalists and to all the other agritech businesses who had entered. It confirmed what I already knew. New Zealand has an outstanding array of agritech businesses addressing some of the really big challenges facing farmers and growers everywhere.
Given that we had to dial into the event from Tauranga, we had decided to make the most of it. If we couldn’t do black tie in Auckland, we would do black tie at home. We also decided to adopt a global view. Having spent 10 years owning HBI Software in India, we decided to dedicate some time to our adopted city of Bangalore. Go the Royal Challengers!
We had reason to celebrate further on the night. Mint Innovation, an investee company of WNT Ventures, won the Most Innovative Deep Tech Solution. I’ve posted about Mint before. They make up a highly impressive WNT Fund 1 portfolio which includes Avertana, Nyriad and Mastaplex.
We had been told by the organisers to make the most of the night and to celebrate in style. We took them at their word. Salmon, prawns and an array of other seafood was washed down by some of Marlborough’s finest. Kingfisher kindly sponsored our Bangalore outfits.
Next year, we hope to be able to attend the 2021 event in-person. Twitter doesn’t quite replace the intimacy of face to face. The good news for New Zealand and the rest of the world from last night’s event is this. Our tech sector is going from strength to strength in spite of the global pandemic. As we embark on our economic recovery, the growing tech sector means that New Zealand is well-placed to re-build and recover.
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