Press Release – Aware Group Taps Mike Jenkins as Chairman

Global Award winning Microsoft Innovation Partner Aware Group have today confirmed the appointment of The Instillery founder and award-winning kiwi tech entrepreneur Mike Jenkins to the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Since handing over the reins of CEO at The Instillery and successfully exiting in March 2022, Mike is actively pursuing an exciting new chapter capping a stellar tech kiwi career, focused on unleashing the potential of kiwi-owned niche market leaders to accelerate growth; this time in a governance and advisory capacity.

It’s Aware Group’s core mission is to enhance the lives of people around the world through the ethical and sustainable use of emerging technologies.

Proudly 100% Aotearoa New Zealand owned, Aware are a hyper-scale growth challenger making a splash on the global stage through their unique blend of productised Professional Services and Solution set which enable rapid adoption of emerging technologies for global enterprise and government clients with a distinct focus on AI, big data, and robotics.

The team at Aware truly understands the business value data creates, and more importantly, exactly how to unleash the power of AI and ML.

They’re recognised as one of Microsoft’s most innovative Gold Partners on the planet, with recent recognition as Microsoft Malaysia Partner of the year for 2022. This follows an extremely busy couple of years for the Aware Group across the globe, with a trophy cabinet brimming with confidence following consecutive years of success at the Microsoft Partner awards across the globe and right here at home as the finalist of 4 awards in 2021 including Data and AI, Business Applications, Security, and Digital & Application Innovation Awards.

Most notably, Aware Group was awarded the Data and Application Innovation Award in partnership with its partner Ryman Healthcare for its design and delivery of the Olympics@Ryman event.

Founded in 2016, the Aware Group business – buoyed by both its portfolio of productised professional and managed services along with its market leading innovative Aware AI software platform – has grown rapidly and consistently at 80%+ per annum in a highly competitive market historically dominated by large internationally owned consultancy organisations.

At its inception, the Aware Group had 5 team members and a handful of local clients.

Today Aware is the emerging tech partner of choice with more than 40 experienced senior consultants, analysts, and technical engineers across New Zealand, Australia, Asia, and the USA. Not to mention sitting proud with a stable of more than 200 global clients – all during which having maintained a zero failure record of project delivery.

Brandon Hutcheson, Aware Group Co-Founder and CEO, says: “The emerging technology landscape is changing and developing so quickly. With COVID accelerating enterprise and government agencies adoption of this new technology, my team at Aware are uniquely positioned to activate the right balance of custom and produstised emerging technology into these enterprise organisations for maximum impact.”

“I am delighted to have Mike joining the Aware Group whānau as our new Board Chair because combining Mike’s experience as a seasoned tech leader he brings along a strong level of governance and merger/acquisition experience through his time with The Instillery, Be Intelligent, NZ Tech and Knode that will help us navigate through the industry impact we are wanting to make on the world stage. By making this appointment it will allow me greater focus to accelerate the execution of our new 3 year plan including our Series A capital raise and a number of new acquisitions in our roadmap.”

“I’m extremely happy to have secured Mike’s services as the new Chairman of the Aware Group. Mike is in rarified air when it comes to the NZ tech sector as the founder and CEO of one of only a handful of tech companies that has broken through the glass ceiling – growing the business to 200+ staff and making a positive impact beyond the bounds of Aotearoa NZ in the past 100 years. His experience, lessons learned through extreme growth, navigating the business through uncertainty of COVID and mergers/acquisitions bring a new wealth of complementary skills to an already stacked executive leadership and supportive team of directors here at Aware Group.

Mike Jenkins says “After a decade of liberating enterprises from traditional IT providers, I’ve quickly come to realise that data is definitely the new BLACK! AI and Machine Learning are on the tip of the tongue of nearly every executive I speak to. Each of whom are quite rightly in pursuit of the grandiose promise of big data: democratised access to real-time insights into their customers/citizens, their products/services and entire organisation.”

“But the cold hard reality is that many enterprises are investing huge sums of cash in next generation tech, which, on paper, should deliver the promised value but, in practice, has only delivered mediocre results.”

“In my opinion, one of the core reasons they will struggle to realise their dream, despite having all the fancy tech, is neither the culture or operating model is suitable for the ways of working required. If there isn’t a culture of putting data at the heart of everything that you do – essentially allowing the right data to get to the right people at the right time – then you can hire the smartest data geeks (with love) in the world but… you won’t see any return.”

“Quite frankly, the team at Aware group are geniuses! And great humans to boot.”

“From the first time I met them, I just loved their vibe, their ability to clearly articulate their strategy but above all – their ambition and commitment to ethical adoption of emerging tech most noteably through their Enterprise Aware AI platform was contagious. You only need to check out their purpose to feel this for yourself: “TO ENHANCE HUMANITY THROUGH THE USE OF EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES!”

“But beyond the Aware team’s immense team talents and epic investment to develop their Aware AI software product portfolio, what has continued to impress me was their unique and amazing team culture, one that has thrived during a very delicate period of hybrid work forced upon us by the impact of Covid-19.”

“During this time, Aware has well as truly leapt ahead of the traditional IT SI’s and big 4 consulting firms, demonstrating a strong ability to move away from the much maligned and low value “time for money” body shop approach focused heavily on billable utilisation and really accelerate their growth through an ongoing commitment to development and investment in a core line of products to address the core AI adoption challenges.”

“I was particularly impressed with their longstanding software product: “Aware AI” – which is a flexible AI platform that can be leveraged to facilitate data-driven decisions coming from unique ways of creating new data through emerging technology.”

Proudly Ngati Raukawa, born in Horowhenua and raised in the mighty Waikato where he stills calls home today, Mike says he is extremely proud to be joining the “Aware Group rocketship” and is super excited to be working with another Waikato headquartered business taking the world by storm.

In terms of what’s next for Aware Group, FY23 continues to shape up to be our biggest and best yet:

  • Continued hyperscale growth (forecast at 100% revenue growth in the new financial year)
  • Deep investment in Aware AI software product growth and our newest offering ML as a Service
  • Continued development of our managed services focused on innovation and emerging technology as well as the continued growth of its services division
  • Expansion into the Australian and US markets
  • Series A Capital Raise – which opens in September 2022 
  • Evaluating new business acquisition opportunities in New Zealand, Australia, and Europe

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