Lani Evans (Thankyou Payroll), Ryan Baker (Timely) and
Jason Leong (PocketSmith) all enjoy being based in Dunedin.
Photo by Peter McIntosh.
A rapidly growing global software-as-a-service industry
suits three Dunedin-based tech companies down to the ground.
Between them, Timely, PocketSmith and Thankyou Payroll have
more than 90,000 clients in 170 countries.
All three spoke of valuing the lifestyle Otago afforded,
which played a major part in their decision to stay in the
PocketSmith, which was founded in 2008, is a simple budgeting
software tool that can help people manage their finances.
When Xero wound down its personal finance product last year,
it recommended PocketSmith to its Xero Personal customers.
Co-founder Jason Leong said the company's seven staff
understood that it was ''exciting selling to the world''.
Software-as-a-service products delivered better value than
traditional software as they were iterative in nature, he
It has been suggested that sales of cloud-based software
could reach $US21.3 billion ($NZ24.6 billion) by next year.
Mr Leong said a company could not be started globally. It
took some skill and training to get to that point, getting
the right systems and resources in place.
Most of PocketSmith's customers were from the United States,
but he also saw ''huge opportunities'' in Australia. The goal
was for another 130% growth this year, he said.
Mr Leong has lived in Dunedin for more than 15 years,
preferring the pace of life to that in his home city of Kuala
Timely, which has just hired its 11th staff member and opened
an office in the United Kingdom, offers scheduling software
for service businesses such as physiotherapists, hair salons
Chief executive Ryan Baker said cloud-based software provided
businesses with a lot more flexibility, allowing companies to
avoid up-front infrastructure costs and focus on projects
that differentiated their businesses, instead of
Mr Baker has a young family and, like the other Timely staff,
loves the Dunedin lifestyle.
It was ''pretty cool'' watching people balance their work and
lifestyle, and that turned into motivation for their work.
There was a huge market in the space that Timely operated,
but there was room ''if you do it better''.
There was some good growth in the UK and also a big
opportunity in Australia, he believed.
Timely is a finalist in this year's New Zealand Hi-Tech
Awards, in the IBM hi-tech start-up company of the year
Thankyou Payroll, which was established in 2010, operates
online payroll services. It has 650 clients and was looking
to hit 2000 by the end of the year and has processed more
than $60 million in wages to date.
It was growing about 15% month-on-month, chief executive Lani
Ms Evans, who often breaks up the morning commute by kayaking
to work from Port Chalmers, cited the ''amazing'' lifestyle
in the city, the collaborative and supportive community, and
the ''great talent'' coming out of the University of Otago.