reflections on 2018 from our commercial team



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As will be clear from our recent blog on financing deals completed in 2018, we like to collect data on the work we do for our tech company clients to help us monitor trends and fine tune our services.

We’ve analysed the data on our commercial work in 2018.  In total, the stats show we completed over 600 jobs for our New Zealand and international clients in that calendar year.  This represents a 20% increase on 2017 and a 50% increase on 2016.

Most of this work was for NZ clients, but Southeast Asia was a meaningful contributor, making up 15% of the total.  And based on the first few months of 2019, we expect the percentage of commercial work coming from Southeast Asian clients to increase a lot in 2019.

The data highlights several clear trends for NZ tech businesses:

  • the biggest mover in terms of work type was data protection and privacy. GDPR compliance is now a big issue for NZ tech companies, particularly SaaS businesses, and we helped many clients with their compliance programmes.  In fact, it kept us so busy that we decided to launch an online tool to produce customised privacy policies tuned to comply with the GDPR
  • there was a big increase in NZ tech companies doing business outside the more traditional offshore markets (e.g. Australia, USA and Western Europe). We helped many Kiwi clients with commercial deals in China, which in past years was more of an outlier (despite China’s market size), and with deals in countries as diverse as Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, India, Uganda and Ukraine
  • multinationals remain very willing to do business with innovative kiwi tech companies, including startups. We’ve seen some big names doing exciting deals with Kiwi companies, and we love being part of the team getting these deals over the line
  • among our clients, SaaS is the fastest growing category of tech exports. Of course, the SaaS business model avoids many of the obstacles faced by traditional NZ businesses as the product is infinitely scalable, weightless to deliver, and requires relatively little capital to get to market and prove customer demand.  Also, NZ is increasingly recognised as a centre for excellence for SaaS – and this is reflected in the increase in international VC funds interested in opportunities to invest in NZ SaaS companies.

We expect the amount of commercial legal work we do to continue its trend upwards and look forward to sharing with our clients the lessons we learn in 2019.

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