Dunedin's tech sector is being dubbed the Silicon Valley of the south, as companies harness the online world.
Three of the city's businesses are collectively servicing more than 90,000 clients in 170 countries. They're part of the growth industry of cloud-based software.
Kayaking to work is something Lani Evans enjoys doing on a fine Dunedin day. It's this kind of relaxed lifestyle that brought her back from Australia a few years ago to set up an internet-based company.
"I think there's a bunch of great things about Dunedin. I think we've got a really supportive and collaborative community, we've got great lifestyle options, we've got great talent coming out of the university and we've got cheap rent," says Mr Evans.
Her business, Thankyou Payroll, offers free payroll services for companies and charities all across New Zealand. Revenue comes via an IRD payroll subsidy, and their entire business is conducted in the cloud – that means it's all done online.
"For companies like ours that are cloud-based, we can do our work from wherever we want and deal with clients all over the country," she says.
Ryan Baker is another in the growing world of cloud-based software. His online appointment system, Timely, is aimed at small service businesses, with all schedules and client information stored in the cloud.
And users don't have to be based in New Zealand – Timely has customers in 35 countries.
Mr Baker says cloud computing has removed a lot of barriers for software developers.
"I see this as a huge opportunity – not just for Dunedin, but for New Zealand as a country."
It's an opportunity Dunedin's PocketSmith has also tapped into, attracting users for their personal finance software.
"Being in the cloud means that we've got access to the world's audience," says CEO Jason Leong. "We have users in 190 countries, about 80,000 of them, and we can connect to over 15,000 banks."
The budgeting tool is used by both individuals and small companies, all comfortable with transmitting personal data over the web.
"People used to be concerned about putting their data in the cloud, but we've got a very high level of reliability, and we use the same security as the banks do."
No longer a pie-in-the-sky idea, cloud computing is providing businesses with more flexibility, and opening up the world to talent from the deep south.
source: newshub archive