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The Instillery scales beyond a start-up

The Instillery scales beyond a start-up

Mike Jenkins assumes the role of non-executive director with Michael Russell taking the reins as CEO.

Michael Russell (The Instillery)

Michael Russell (The Instillery)

Credit: The Instillery

The Instillery has unveiled plans to transition from a “start-up to a scale-up” through the appointment of a new CEO, the launch of a new Development division, the addition of new hires and the opening of new offices in Auckland and Wellington.

Billed as the “next phase” for the Auckland-born business -- which first launched to the market in 2013 -- founder and CEO Mike Jenkins will assume the role of non-executive director with Michael Russell now taking the reins as CEO.

This is in addition to the launch of a new Development practice designed to support “growing demand” for digital transformation expertise delivered via public cloud services, alongside increasing headcount by 25 per cent since March to reach 200 employees across the organisation.

“Mike has done an amazing job at growing The Instillery through his tireless energy, passion and commitment,” Russell said. “Having guided the business from a start-up through to where it is today, Mike’s continuing contribution on the board reflects his focus on further governance roles and will be invaluable as we enter the next phase of our business. This exciting new phase of our development will entrench the company as a major force in the industry.”

Russell takes control two years after The Instillery and Origin merged businesses to create an end-to-end technology provider capable of challenging tier-1 incumbents in New Zealand.

As exclusively revealed by Reseller News, the combined entity now houses deep expertise across cloud, automation, connectivity, security and managed services, targeting mid-market, enterprise, local and central government organisations.

Operating under The Instillery brand, the business has offices in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and New Plymouth, in addition to Palmerston North, Napier, Wellington and Christchurch.

Going forward, Jeremy Nees will continue as COO -- tasked with driving key elements of the technology provider’s go-market-strategy -- while Wellington-based Steve Martin will lead the Security Operations Team, joining the business following roles at Datacom and Vodafone.

“As public cloud adoption continues to increase, the burning platform for lift-and-shift migrations is shifting towards a focus on true application transformation,” Nees outlined. “Our new Development arm will be applying our expertise in cloud services to help Kiwi businesses realise the full potential of their own products and services to deliver value for their own customers.”

According to Nees, the Development arm is currently in an incubation phase supported by foundation customer Earthquake Commission, with a “full launch” planned in early 2022.

In addition to structural changes and divisional launches, The Instillery is also moving into new “architecturally-designed” premises in Auckland, located at Future House in Parnell -- home to current customer Modica and fellow technology companies such as Outset Ventures.

Following 12 months of consultation with Industry Architects, the custom fit office has been designed to provide a more “productive, collaborative and functional” workspace supporting hybrid working-styles post-pandemic.

“This will be our first custom designed workspace, signalling a major long-term investment in the future of the business,” Russell noted. “While flexible work arrangements remain for our team, The Instillery has always been built upon the energy and passion of our people. We wanted to keep the option of a physical space where our team can bring all of this together.”

In addition to the new Auckland premises, plans are also in place to open a new Wellington office in the same building as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft with space to house more than double the current number of staff.

New Auckland premises for The InstilleryCredit: The Instillery
New Auckland premises for The Instillery

Growing beyond start-up status

Since launching in 2013, The Instillery has operated as a business which -- by its own admission -- was “born and bred” with a start-up mindset and challenger attitude. Since day one, the mandate has been clear; “shake up the world of technology and make sure that New Zealand businesses get the best of the best”.

Naturally, the critics will assign such ambition as nothing more than smart marketing -- a sparkling website, strong font type and aggressive public relations. Fair that substance always carries more weight than aesthetics but underneath the surface, the provider boasts a healthy and expanding line-up of credible Kiwi customers.

Following the recent acquisition of TwoBlackLabs and an increased Wellington presence, new customers include New Zealand Rugby, Earthquake Commission, Fonterra and BNZ, in addition to long-term engagements with Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), Milford Asset Management, Loyalty New Zealand and Hamilton City Council among others.

Meanwhile in March, the specialist provider helped Auckland Council’s Watercare migrate away from legacy systems to Microsoft Azure -- consolidating and optimising business processes through the upgrade and building of new infrastructure.

Such customer expertise has also been recognised on more than one occasion at the Reseller News Innovation Awards, namely through Cloud Partner (2020 and 2017), Export Partner (2018) and Mid-Market Partner (2016) honours. This is in addition to Jenkins receiving individual acknowledgment for Management Excellence (2018) and the then Origin IT awarded Mid-Market Partner honours in 2015.

“From day one, we felt duty bound to help unlock Kiwi businesses and government agencies from legacy, expensive and inflexible IT supplier arrangements and instead empower our clients through a value and outcome based approach,” said Jenkins, who founded the business eight years ago.

“I’m proud to say that we’ve achieved that and so much more. Building on our people and culture and working inside some of our country’s largest and most innovative organisations, The Instillery has never been in a stronger position and I know I’m leaving our whānau, customers and partners in great hands with Mike Russell at the helm.”

Having held a number of governance positions -- including as a member of the D&I sub-board of NZTech -- Jenkins is turning his focus to "pursuing opportunities for progress" in the education, health and public sectors.

“From the bottom of my heart, I want to say a massive thank you to all our customers and staff who chose and believed in us and I look forward to what comes next,” he added.


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