Auckland-based software developer Starsoft was one of the companies that showcased for the first time at CeBIT in Hannover, Germany — the biggest IT fair in the world — at the beginning of March.
Dermott Renner, Starsoft’s founder, has just returned to New Zealand after the fair and a couple of weeks at the company’s newly established office in London.
Renner is “extremely pleased” with the whole experience, he says. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise did a great job of putting together the stand, he says. “New Zealand really stood out”, he adds.
Renner was also impressed with the infrastructure, support and PR capabilities NZTE made available to the Kiwi companies at the fair.
Starsoft is a Microsoft shop focused on developing custom software. The company has just launched a task and work scheduling application that plugs into Microsoft Outlook 2007 and 2003. The new Windows application, Ezidoesit, was officially launched in Europe at CeBIT, says Renner.
The New Zealand stand attracted “a lot of foot traffic”, says Renner, and his team took the opportunity to demo its product to as many as possible. The company gave away nearly 500 review copies of the software, some to people who worked in significant corporations in Europe, he says.
The fair was hard work but as a marketing effort it was well worthwhile, says Renner. He would go back “in a heart beat” if invited again, he says.
Starsoft is now following up leads and getting in touch with contacts made in Europe.
The New Zealand Day at CeBIT — new this year — also helped raise the profile of the New Zealand stand, he says.
“The stand punched above its weight,” Renner says.
Meanwhile, Australian firms put on their worst showing ever, with just five companies attending, according to The Australian.
“The 14 New Zealand exhibitors had their own government-sponsored pavilion in a hall with heavy passing traffic, and everyone on the booths was resplendent in all-black Kiwi uniform,” the paper reported earlier this month.
It said the New Zealanders also had government, in the form of economic development and research, science and technology minister Pete Hodgson, on hand to “help with schmoozing”.
Australia’s minister for innovation, industry, science and research, Kim Carr, was in Germany but did not attend CeBIT, instead making the case for the Square Kilometre Array, a multi-milliondollar radio telescope project that New Zealand could also benefit from if the Australian bid is successful.