​Last month, Potentia and Crew Technology Recruitment joined forces to create Aotearoa’s largest locally-owned tech recruitment business, with 50+ people across four offices in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. This is the first part in a series of blogs looking at the story behind the merger, what’s next and key lessons we’ve learned along the way.

After the whirlwind of the merger, here we are! What may have started almost two years ago over a beer with the legends that are Cory Richards & Tom Sweeney, this whole thing has been on my mind since the start of 2021. At that point, the recruitment industry had learned to live with COVID-19, I’d just become GM, and I had been noticing a trend of people moving South. Side note: I’m a Christchurch boy at heart, having made the move to Auckland after the quake with a few mates. Of that group, everyone except me has returned home.

Coincidence. Fluke. Call it what you like, but the timing was uncanny. About the same time we started talking about expansion, Paddington Partners called us out of the blue about possible acquisition. The answer was no…but we did need help painting a picture of the tech recruitment landscape down South and of the four organisations that fell within the criteria (all tech OR mainly tech and privately-owned), three responded. But there was only ever one that made sense.


When you meet someone for the first time, you pretty much know straight away whether they’re your kind of person or not. So, after I jumped on a plane to meet Tom and Cory for what became a very extended lunch, I was 100% invested. And as we talked more, a few things stood out:

  • Great timing, again – when Paddington Partners reached out to Crew, they were already in the process of putting together a North Island strategy.

  • We both wanted the same thing – there was synergy around ambition, and at that time, we were the largest independent tech recruiters in the North Island (Potentia) and South Island (Crew).

  • Almost zero cannibalisation – the dream scenario. Almost too good to be true, there was only crossover with a couple of clients.

  • People-first alignment – they might have different words on the walls, but at its core Crew run their business in a very similar way to ourselves.

A two year slog

On paper, we all thought it would be easy. It was not. As well as a bit of naivety (it was the first merger either side had been a part of), our initial conversations were aimed at the acquisition of Crew, not a merger. But the lightbulb moment came about six months in…why are we looking at a management buyout when Cory and Tom are a) committed to growing the Crew brand and b) amazing humans that we want to work with, not push out!

Pivoting to a merger meant rewinding a few discussions, but there’s also been large chunks of time when merger talks had to be put on the backburner in what has been the most difficult recruitment market in a long time.

So, what does a combined Potentia/Crew business look like moving forward? I’ll dive into that story next time but for now, I am so proud to be taking on the Group Managing Director role as we navigate this together with the scale and national coverage to make a genuine difference within Aotearoa’s tech sector.