Wherescape takes the honours in business awards

Wherescape's clever transition from a product company to a sales organisation has allowed it to exploit the global opportunity.

Data warehousing company Wherescape was the supreme winner in the 2016 New Zealand International Business Awards with judges impressed by its ability to turn big data into big business.

The company, which also won the Best Medium Business award, develops automation software for organisations to manage and analyse their big data.

Founded in 2002, Wherescape originally started as a business intelligence consultancy within New Zealand and pivoted a few years ago to providing software products globally that help makes business decisions faster and cheaper.

The company is based in Auckland and Portland, Oregon and has customers in 26 countries after recently expanding into Asia. The United States is the company's largest and fastest-growing market, where clients include GE, Nike, and the Dallas Cowboys.

It was also a finalist in last year's international business awards and this year's supreme award judge David Downs says Wherescape has made outstanding progress in the past year.

"Its clever transition from a product company to a global sales organisation has allowed it to exploit the global opportunity for data analytics, right at the time when expertise in big data is most sought after," he says.

Company co-founder and chief executive Micheal Whitehead said last year Wherescape had considered and rejected the idea of an initial public offer but he wouldn't rule it out in future.

Venture capital firm Pioneer Capital invested more into the business last year, lifting its stake to about 43.5% while Mr Whitehead has a slightly higher stake after buying out his co-founder, Wayne Richmond.

Other award winners include Haka Tours and Timely in best emerging business, Hamilton manufacturer Gallagher for best business and excellence in design, Straker Translations for excellence in innovation, New Zealand Mint for excellence in marketing, Ngai Tahu for Maori excellence in export, and Xero for excellence in leadership.

NZTE chief executive Peter Chrisp says this year's winners have used their Kiwi ingenuity and tenacity to build global businesses from New Zealand.

"We're seeing an exciting shift in the mindset of digital businesses as they go global from day one," he says. "It can be a winning strategy as these companies chase rapid customer growth in niche high-value markets."


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