Member log in

Vend boss marks office opening by shooting cash register (VIDEO)

A month back NBR took a quick tour of Vend's trendy new office in Parnell (see pics below).

This afternoon, the cloud point-of-sale software maker's new digs were formally opened by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce, with Vend CEO Vaughan Rowsell shooting a cash register in lieu of cutting a ribbon.

The old fashioned cash register proved surprisingly resilient under the fire arms attack, but agile developer Mr Rowsell subsequently took it out with his foot (a moment not captured by NBR's reporter as he stuffed around with the slow motion feature on his iPhone 5s):

ABOVE: Vend CEO Vaughan Rowsell with Steven Joyce.

No doubt the minister was happy to grab a good-news photo-op away from the Chorus mess. But neither was he a complete gatecrasher. He noted while Vend has made most of its own luck, the company has also had some R&D support from Crown agency Callaghan Innovation, and some help from NZTE as it expands its foothold in foreign markets.

Joyce also said while Fonterra accounts for about 20% of NZ's exports, technology companies bring in a respectable 9% of export receipts - and counting. That's a healthy trend, and one the government will hopefully remember as it juggles agribusiness and creative industry/IP concerns during TPP negotiations.

ABOVE: A very Vend moment as the minister inspects the Employee of the Month doll.

ABOVE: Joyce is seriously out-classed in a pre-photo pose-off.

But seriously - great office, guys. And great company. Good luck taking on the world.


Inside Vend (PHOTOS)

Hot software company Vend has just moved into new digs in Newmarket, Auckland. 

NBR took a quick tour.

Since raising $8 million in new capital in May, the maker of cloud retail software has been on an expansion push, adding staff in NZ and the US.

Vend staff - or Venders, as the company calls them, just managing to stay on the right side of cute - now occupy the Watercare-signed building on the corner of Nuffield Street and Remeura Road.

Presumably rents not cheap. This is, after all, perhaps the posh shopping precinct in the city.

But founder and CEO Vaughan Rowsell explains it helps to be able to walk out the front door and talk to his customers - retailers. Among Vend's 4000 customers worldwide are three in Nufflield St, and 20 sprinkled around Newmarket as a whole. (The Council-owned Watercare's need to be located in the middle of a fashion district is less clear.)

Since it's a retails software maker, Vend kits its foyer out like a shop, with company paraphernalia on the shelves.

It's a pretend shop, but happily the barista in the corner is real.

And it's at a bench by the barista that NBR finds Vend CEO Vaughan Rowsell, perched with his MacBook. The founder says in the two weeks Vend's been in the new office, he hasn't worked from desk once.

A secret door (above) leads from the cafe through to Vend's main office.

The plan is to cover it with a bookshelf, for more of a hidden/Narnia feel.

Vend took over the 1000sqm space from Sony Music and Sony Entertainment (who decamped to Ponsonby), breaking down the wall between the company's two divisions to create a single, light and airy space bordered by huge windows looking out onto tree-lined Nuffield Street.

Light-industrial chic is the order of the day, witih exposed pipes and ducts.

Hot-desking is the order of the day for most staff (fibre into the building means fast wi-fi, which helps). NBR slightly recoils at the notion of being a nomad around an office. But Vend's new space makes itself amendable to the notion with a choice of work environments from desks to stand-up benches to an expanse of sofas.

70 staff have migrated to the new office from a snugger 300sqm space.

A neon sign in a meeting room reinterprets Nike's famous "Just do it" slogan. There a lot of zany touches around the office, but also an intensity. Bodies are sprawled over couches, but eyes are fixed to screens and fingers fly over keyboards. Development manager Ben Gracewood says there are no big version number upgrades for Vend's cloud software. Instead, there are constant incremental upgrades being pushed out. As NBR visits his team is finishing of a Canadian sales tax tweak.

Vend's previous office was a tighter 300sqm. Here, things are more spread out.

Marketing head Nick Houldsworth (foreground) says as Vend expands beyond early adopters, recruiting good resellers is becoming more important. Mainstream retailers need to be convinced face-to-face on the merits of binning a traditional cash register in favour of a laptop or tablet running Vend's cloud software.

A number of walls do double-duty as whiteboards. 

A giant screen TV on one wall displays a permanent video link Vend's Melbourne office, and vice versa. Vend also has hotdesks at the Kiwi Landing Pad in San Francisco, six staff in Toronto and its heavyweight new hire Anton Commissaris, who is going to recruit an expanded North American sales team.

ckeall@nbr.co.nz

More by this author