Waikato Business News August/September 2023

Waikato Business News has for a quarter of a century been the voice of the region’s business community, a business community with a very real commitment to innovation and an ethos of cooperation.

Waikato Business News has for a quarter of a century been the voice of the region’s business community, a business community with a very real commitment to innovation and an ethos of cooperation.

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Company-X<br />

Innovation Award<br />

finalists announced<br />

Company-X’s Jeremy Hughes joins innovation<br />

award judges.<br />

WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER <strong>2023</strong> 5<br />

A<br />

trio of <strong>Waikato</strong> businesses<br />

are competing<br />

for this year’s Company-X<br />

Innovation Award.<br />

Helix Flight Manufacturing<br />

Machines Ltd, Flight<br />

Structures Ltd and Emergency<br />

Consult, all based in Hamilton,<br />

were named finalists of<br />

the <strong>Waikato</strong> Chamber of<br />

Commerce <strong>Business</strong> Awards<br />

on <strong>September</strong> 13.<br />

Company-X co-founder<br />

and director Jeremy Hughes<br />

was one of the Innovation<br />

Award judges and presented<br />

the finalists with certificates.<br />

“It is so good to see<br />

innovation thriving in the<br />

Mighty <strong>Waikato</strong>,” Hughes<br />

said.<br />

“Company-X has sponsored<br />

the innovation award since<br />

2017. It was an honour to be<br />

asked to join the panel of judges<br />

this year. Even experienced<br />

businesspeople learn<br />

something from the process<br />

of entering and the feedback<br />

process in these awards, and<br />

that goes for judges too. I loved<br />

hearing about the journey our<br />

innovators are on. I enjoyed<br />

the process tremendously.”<br />

This category recognises<br />

organisations that have<br />

enhanced their success<br />

through innovation - both in<br />

thinking and implementing of<br />

an idea.<br />

Their innovation can be in<br />

a product, service, technology,<br />

or process.<br />

<strong>Business</strong>es entering the<br />

Innovation category are<br />

required to have a minimum<br />

of two full time equivalent<br />

employees and annual net<br />

turnover more than $1 million.<br />

“Company-X Innovation<br />

Award finalists are a<br />

testament to the creativity and<br />

ingenuity of Mighty <strong>Waikato</strong><br />

companies,” said Company-X<br />

co-founder and director David<br />

Hallett. “We’re proud of their<br />

work, and excited to see what<br />

they do next.”<br />

Head judge Dr Heather<br />

Connolly of <strong>Waikato</strong><br />

University’s Management<br />

School said the panel of 29<br />

judges was impressed with the<br />

quality of the finalists.<br />

“We were also pleased to<br />

see the number of entries up<br />

on last year, with a total of 76<br />

entries this year. The calibre<br />

of entrants was excellent and<br />

From left to right, Flight Structures founding director Jon Kerr and business manager Sally Kerr,<br />

Emergency Consult chief executive Jenni Falconer, Helix Flight Manufacturing Machines global<br />

marketing manager Graham Brown and Company-X co-founder and director Jeremy Hughes.<br />

it’s always encouraging to see<br />

businesses enter for the first<br />

time,” Connolly said.<br />

“As judges we feel<br />

privileged that the entrants<br />

again have provided us with<br />

the opportunity to find out<br />

more about what makes them<br />

special. And as businesses in<br />

the region, there are some<br />

amazing things happening.”<br />

Even experienced businesspeople<br />

learn something from the process<br />

of entering and the feedback<br />

process in these awards<br />

Project manager<br />

joins Company-X<br />

Company-X has announced<br />

Basundhara Rai has joined the<br />

software specialist as a senior project<br />

manager.<br />

Hamilton-based Rai manages planning,<br />

scheduling, budgeting, execution, and<br />

delivery of projects for a number of<br />

Company-X clients.<br />

Rai came to Company-X with extensive<br />

experience as a project manager and<br />

business analyst with a diverse range of<br />

multinationals. Rai joined Company-X<br />

from Canadian multinational media<br />

conglomerate Thomson Reuters where<br />

she was a project manager responsible for<br />

legal content for the United Kingdom and<br />

European Union. Before that Rai worked<br />

for US multinational financial services firm<br />

JP Morgan Chase and Co as an associate<br />

project manager and senior business<br />

analyst.<br />

Rai is a certified scrum master, certified<br />

in the most popular agile scaling framework<br />

in the world, Scaled Agile Framework<br />

(SAFe) and is Project Management<br />

Professional trained.<br />

Rai has a postgraduate degree in<br />

Information Technology and a Master<br />

of <strong>Business</strong> Administration from Narsee<br />

Monjee Institute of Management Studies in<br />

Mumbai, India.<br />

Rai, who joined Company-X in June,<br />

said she was enjoying immersing herself<br />

in Company-X culture getting to know its<br />

clients and their projects.<br />

“It has been extraordinary,” Rai said.<br />

“It is awesome to connect and collaborate<br />

with such bright minds, each with different<br />

specialties.”<br />

Company-X professional services<br />

manager Michael Hamid said: “We are<br />

Basundhara Rai<br />

delighted to welcome Basundhara to the<br />

Company-X team. She has come up to<br />

speed on several projects very quickly<br />

and our clients are already benefiting<br />

from her project management skills and<br />

experience.”<br />

In a short period, I have<br />

experienced the array<br />

of software services<br />

Company-X provides.<br />

I have already learned<br />

so much and am really<br />

looking forward to<br />

expanding my knowledge<br />

horizon.<br />

Acquisition led<br />

to Innovation<br />

Award<br />

Software specialist Company-X’s<br />

acquisition of Pepper Creative<br />

in 2019 led to the development<br />

of the innovation award winning<br />

software Voxcoda.<br />

The inspiration for<br />

Voxcoda came from<br />

Pepper Creative founder<br />

Lance Bauerfeind, who joined<br />

Company-X as product owner<br />

of the software after the acquisition.<br />

Voxcoda uses artificial<br />

intelligence to generate<br />

natural-sounding audio files<br />

from text. This makes it a<br />

cost-effective and efficient<br />

way for businesses to create<br />

voice-overs for their products,<br />

services, and marketing<br />

materials.<br />

In October 2020,<br />

Company-X won the<br />

Homegrown Innovators<br />

Independent Software Vendor<br />

category for Voxcoda in IDG’s<br />

Reseller <strong>News</strong> Innovation<br />

Awards. The judges praised<br />

Voxcoda for its ability to<br />

automate a labour-intensive<br />

manual process and introduce<br />

automated<br />

workflow<br />

technology to transform the<br />

process for users.<br />

“Voxcoda is one of the jewels<br />

in the crown of our acquisition<br />

of Pepper Creative,” said<br />

David Hallett, co-founder, and<br />

director of Company-X. “It’s a<br />

product that revolutionises the<br />

way that companies create and<br />

manage voice-overs.”<br />

Voxcoda was also<br />

instrumental in Company-X<br />

becoming an Amazon Web<br />

Services (AWS) Partner. AWS<br />

Partners are companies that<br />

have demonstrated expertise<br />

in using AWS services to<br />

help customers achieve their<br />

business goals. Company-X was<br />

awarded AWS Partner status<br />

following an AWS foundational<br />

review of Voxcoda.<br />

“We are excited to become<br />

an AWS Partner,” said Jeremy<br />

Hughes, co-founder, and<br />

director of Company-X. “This<br />

partnership will allow us to<br />

provide our customers with the<br />

best possible cloud solutions<br />

and help them to achieve their<br />

business goals.”<br />

The acquisition of Pepper<br />

Creative was a strategic move<br />

by Company-X to expand its<br />

capabilities in extended reality.<br />

Lance Bauerfeind<br />

As a result of the acquisition,<br />

Company-X was able to build<br />

a state-of-the-art virtual reality<br />

(VR) training programme for<br />

First Gas. The VR training<br />

programme uses a true-to-life<br />

VR model of the Te Kowhai<br />

Main Line Valve in the <strong>Waikato</strong><br />

to train First Gas employees on<br />

how to safely operate the plant.<br />

Company-X also built<br />

a VR welding fume risk<br />

identification and control<br />

implementation experience for<br />

WorkSafe. The VR experience<br />

allows WorkSafe employees to<br />

learn about the risks of welding<br />

fumes and how to control<br />

them.<br />

“The acquisition of Pepper<br />

Creative has been a major<br />

success for Company-X,” said<br />

Hughes. “We have been able<br />

to develop innovative new<br />

products and services, such as<br />

Voxcoda and the VR training<br />

programmes for First Gas and<br />

WorkSafe. We are excited to<br />

continue to innovate and grow<br />

our business in the years to<br />


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