The building which was once occupied by the region’s largest newsroom is now home to a new kind of media company – one that many Nelsonians would have never heard of but one that is on track to be a billion-dollar enterprise.
Shuttlerock moved its global head office to the top-storey of the Nelson Mail building on Bridge St last week. The building is now owned by Gibbons, which also did the fit out for Shuttlerock. Its founder and CEO Jonny Hendrickson says being based in regional New Zealand and doing business around the world has been a “dream” of his.
“We’ve always said that, as a tech company, we can operate anywhere and what better place to live in New Zealand than Nelson.”
Jonny Hendrickson founded Shuttlerock in 2011 and it shot to prominence in 2016 when his company won the Global Innovation Spotlight Awards, a worldwide tech competition. That win courted the attention of Facebook, which has since made Shuttlerock a Facebook Marketing Partner and an Instagram Partner. There are only a handful of companies at that level around the world.
Jonny says Shuttlerock creates data-driven mobile-optimized ads for Facebook and Instagram at scale. Only three per cent of its income comes from New Zealand, with Asian, European and Americans companies its biggest clients.
“We’ve just started this journey, we’re out to grow a billion-dollar business so we’re just getting started. Our goal is to be the largest creative platform across all media proprieties, so we have a lot of work to do.”
Shuttlerock was operating out of the Network Tasman building in Richmond until last week. It also has offices in New York, Berlin, Paris, Los Angeles, Singapore, Tokyo and Austin, Texas.
Jonny, originally an Aucklander, says doing business in Nelson has also been to the city’s gain with around half of Shuttlerock’s Nelson employees local and the other half enticed here from other regions.
One of those is Cam Burns. He has worked for Shuttlerock for three years, originally from its Auckland office, but after a work trip to Nelson decided he wanted to make the move south.
“When I first started, I remember going down to Kina where Jonny lives and I thought ‘gee, this isn’t too bad’. I remember tapping Jonny on the shoulder one night and I said, ‘you know I could probably live here’. Once my wife and I had a baby we thought ‘let’s go and do it’.”
He’s been living in Mapua for almost a year and says it’s the “perfect” environment to raise a young family.
“And along with work doing so well, it’s great.”
Jonny says while it’s nice to be based in central Nelson he’s not too focussed on his surrounds at the moment.
“In this space you can be yesterday’s news very quickly, I’m very aware of that, a lot can still go wrong. So, you have to remain humble and focused and don’t stop innovating.”