Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Profitable future lies with business apps

Rod Drury. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Rod Drury. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Wall St may be disappointed with market appetite for tech firms but New Zealand commentators say there is life in Silicon Valley beyond them.

John Holt, a director at the Kiwi Landing Pad in San Francisco, said there was "incongruity" between the valuations of some companies and their earnings but this appeared to be focused around the social media space.

"I tend to disagree with the [idea] that if Facebook doesn't make it or isn't hugely successful everyone else falls over... investors are getting a feel of whether something has commercial legs," he said.

While a bubble may be emerging around consumer technology, analyst and commentator Ben Kepes said there were huge opportunities for start-ups targeting the business or enterprise market.

"We're seeing a real polarisation between consumer and enterprise tech. I'm really bullish about upcoming IPOs for companies like [online-software developer] Box, where there's absolutely a substance and they're making revenues," Kepes said.

"You take a look inside most enterprises and they're using tools which are essentially the same as 10 years ago and their workers at home are using Facebook and Google Docs and those sort of things.

"There's this massive divide, because 10 years ago enterprise had technology that was far, far more advanced than what consumers could have. That's absolutely reversed, so that's the big opportunity," Kepes said.

Xero's Rod Drury said the problem with a lot of the consumer-focused offerings, such as photo-sharing platform Instagram, was they were not "deep tech".

"They're not intellectually massive tech builds and they're not that complex. They're basically a great idea with great execution [that] get to scale quickly but then can be quite taken quickly taken out."

Facebook acquired Instagram for close to US$1 billion this year.

- NZ Herald

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