Seequent is a world leader in subsurface software, ranked 22 on the TIN100 list in 2022. Seequent helps customers in 120 countries discover and understand the subsurface to solve some of the world’s most complex challenges, saving time, reducing risk and cost, and ultimately reducing impact on the earth. Examples of how their software is used in New Zealand include modelling the Wellington basin to better understand seismic risk, helping Contact Energy manage its geothermal field development, and helping Auckland City Rail Link, New Zealand’s largest infrastructure project, to avoid impacting buildings above ground as they construct their tunnels.
Headquartered in Christchurch, we were curious to find out the benefits and drawbacks of running a global business from Canterbury, New Zealand’s fourth largest tech region
Seequent is a global company with customers and teams spread across the globe. What keeps you headquartered in Christchurch?
Our roots and critical mass are in Christchurch. We remain headquartered here, operating as a standalone business unit as part of Bentley Systems and around a third of our staff, including our CEO, COO, CRO and Exec Vice President of APAC are based here. We have a well-connected international airport close by, an office overlooking beautiful Hagley Park where many of our staff can commute by cycle. Christchurch offers a vibrant and highly networked local business and fast-growing technology communities.
Tell us a bit about the tech eco-system in the South Island’s largest city – how does Christchurch support its tech businesses and what more could the city/region do to attract large tech businesses?
The tech eco-system in Christchurch is growing fast, with a c.30% average annual growth rate in software publishing and more than 70,000 people employed in the industry locally. It’s also diverse, with a broad mix of companies, from start-ups to large companies, touching multiple vertical markets. The local tech industry is a community, with a lot of networking and collaboration, including the annual Canterbury Tech Summit.
I think we need to embrace the recent rebrand of Christchurch as a city where people can work, live, play and invest, and ensure the tech industry is front and centre as a driving force for the future of the regional economy.
You are part of Bentley Systems, a US-headquartered company – in your experience, how does Christchurch compare to other global tech hubs?
I’d like to draw a comparison with Colorado and in particular Denver and Boulder. They are known for outdoor adventure, like Christchurch. They have the Rocky Mountains and we have the Southern Alps. Colorado State was historically dependent on natural resources and agriculture, and now those sectors are no longer the sole drivers. The software industry is transforming Colorado and become a driving force in the tech sector. It’s cheaper to live there than it is in Silicon Valley, just as our cost of living is less than Auckland. Christchurch has come through difficult times, but I think we are the more resilient for it and I see the tech community continuing to grow and being even more of the Christchurch success story than it is today. We have the opportunity to scale the industry here and for Christchurch to become the most vibrant tech hub in New Zealand. It is a fantastic place to be with a bright future ahead.
When we spoke to you in April 2022, you mentioned three business priorities for Seequent:
1. Continued investment in the company culture
2. Execution of your refreshed three-year strategy
3. Continuous re-invention
What are your business priorities for 2023?
- Continued investment in culture – this hasn’t changed.
- Now we are at the tail end of joining Bentley Systems, begin to exploit their very large customer base and associated relationships.
- Accelerate the development of our data platform which will underpin the next phase of our company growth.
Click here to learn more about Seequent.
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