We are a group of business leaders from NZ-owned IT firms who have formed NZRise as a non-profit New Zealand incorporated society.
NZRise exists to represent the interests of NZ-owned digital technology businesses (we use the terms IT and “digital technology” interchangeably).
NZRise and its member companies are passionate about New Zealand technology and believe our IT industry can be a hotbed of innovation and growth. We believe New Zealand’s unique economic and cultural context provides the ideal conditions for building an industry that can meet world demand for agility, rapid development, collaboration, and innovation.
To achieve our aims, NZRise strongly represents the interests of New Zealand-owned IT companies. Whilst organisations exist and have existed to represent the whole IT industry in this country, there has never been any organisation that represents the Kiwi-owned and operated IT companies. Our focus on this group will help ensure a maximum contribution to the New Zealand economy in a manner that is sustainable in the long term and benefits New Zealand first and foremost.
As owner-operators of successful IT businesses, our members have the passion, vigilance, and long-term interest in the success of our industry to a level that cannot be matched by those that are stewards of businesses owned by others.
Having demonstrated their entrepreneurship and commitment by establishing their businesses, NZRise’s members are uniquely positioned to work with government entities, associations, and private industry, all aiming to grow the NZ IT sector into one of international renown.
The 2019/2020 Board Members are:
Victoria MacLennan of OptimalBI and Breccan McLeod-Lundy of Ackama.
Rahul Watson Govindan, Laurence Millar, Shane Ross, Noel Reid, Thomas Mitchell (Treasurer) and Don Christie.
Board member profiles
Victoria is passionate about many things – growing great companies, raising digital literacy, growing New Zealand’s economy, and equality for women. Her day jobs include Managing Director of data and information specialists OptimalBI, plus investing in and advising a range a great Kiwi startups as they grow.
Victoria’s community contributions include being co-Chair of NZRise a community of NZ owned digital and technology companies, Chair of the Digital Skills Forum, a cross government and industry initiative focusing on the future of work, and Chair of Digital Future Aotearoa a fabulous charity established to raise the digital capability of all New Zealanders. Victoria is also Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Group on Digital Inclusion and Digital Economy (DEDIMAG).
Often found laughing, Victoria loves what she does. She believes we live in a great country so helping every New Zealander reach their potential in life is something we can all aspire to achieve.
Breccan founded Ackama with the aim of delivering tech that focuses on ethics, fairness, and sustainable business to achieve long-term positive outcomes. He wants to help organisations improve their performance through thoughtfully applied technology.
With a global focus, Breccan has championed a capability with development projects, sending personnel to Timor Leste to work alongside the Ministry of Education to work in a challenging operating environment at the edge of new networking roll-outs. Breccan has participated in the Internet Governance Forum in Bali and is also a member of the Asia NZ Young Leaders Forum. In 2018 Breccan expanded Ackama by buying two digital companies in Melbourne, Australia – Squareweave and Plot Digital – who are now part of the Ackama Group. Through his board role at NZRise, Breccan is working to influence governmental policy, promote the interests of NZ owned companies and advocate for a vibrant NZ technology economy.
Breccan is a technologist with strong expertise in the fundamentals of the tech industry who has successfully transitioned to management, sales, and leadership. Deeply committed to lifelong learning, Breccan works to make sure the Ackama team has opportunities for continuous upskilling.
Rahul is a global entrepreneur, investor and business executive who has lived and worked in 8 different countries and has had a 20 year career in business, technology, public sector and international development. He has founded a number of companies, consulted to Nokia, Microsoft, Amazon, UNICEF and Oxfam globally and most recently was the Group CEO of a SaaS start-up in Wellington. Currently is an investor, board member and advisor on strategy, operations and performance to numerous software companies in NZ and abroad, and his current main focus is on building an exciting digital charity platform in the conservation sector to be launched in 2019. Rahul is the Board Chair of Belong Aotearoa, a Trustee of United Nations Youth NZ, and a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.
Rahul has studied at Victoria University, University of Amsterdam, Oslo University and has been awarded an University Blue from Victoria University for services to sports management (Hockey).
Shane is the General Manager, Customer Success at The Testing Consultancy, and is focused on procurement and membership for NZRise. He wants to see the growth of the NZ Tech sector, creating employment opportunities for local people and generating export income for New Zealand. Believing that the current Government procurement processes represent a high cost of entry barrier for many small NZ Tech businesses, Shane knows that partnering with Government to reduce these barriers is key to stimulating growth.
Talk to Shane about membership (why you should join NZRise), existing members and how to connect with them, current planned events and focus, and any concerns you have with Government procurement activities.
Laurence has more than 35 years experience in the innovative use of technology to support organisational change. He has worked on projects in the government, banking, telecommunications and distribution sectors; and has worked extensively in New Zealand, Asia, the Middle East, Australia, USA and UK/Europe.
He is involved with NZRise because it is the voice of the NZ owned tech sector and has been with us since the start because the cause is important and he thinks he can help make a difference in the transition to a digital nation.
Laurence is the Executive Director of the 20/20 Trust.
Noel is the Founding Director of Advanced Management Systems Ltd, a 40-years-young software solutions and services company specialising in enterprise-level Workforce Management solutions (encompassing HR and payroll functions), along with complete Life Insurance administration and management systems, also suitable for bank assurance. Noel is passionate about NZ companies getting a fair deal and is based in Auckland.
Don is one of the founders of Catalyst and has had over 25 years’ experience in IT consulting and implementation. Don is a former President of the NZ Open Source Society and was on the Council of Internet NZ for two years. He was the Co-Chair of NZRise from its inception until June 2019.
Thomas is a co-founder and Managing Director of Public Address, and is responsible for platform development, infrastructure design and feature implementation.
He is the 2016 NZ Young IT Professional of the Year and NZRise’s Treasurer.
Ensure the global competitiveness of the New Zealand IT industry.
Increase the profile, size, and skill base of the NZ IT industry.
Inspire young New Zealanders to enter the IT industry here in New Zealand.
Improve the export orientation of our industry.
Educate other sectors about the capabilities that NZ companies have to service their needs.
Be a strong voice for NZ owned and operated IT companies.
It is recognised that we, as existing companies, have an obligation and interest in achieving significant growth on an ongoing basis.