Many small business people get into business to pursue their passion, yet end up spending a lot of time on the admin and accounts, and the salt in the wound is that this can also be wildly expensive black hole to throw hours, dollars and tears down. It’s a pain-point alright. And where there's pain there’s profit to be had.
Enter Beany, a company that has come in to ride the wave of disruption currently hitting accounting services. They are adding their own push by offering a service that, for a low fixed fee, connects small businesses with their accountants and to work in the cloud. They're providing great professional services efficiently and cheaply, and allowing new ways of working both for the accountants and the businesspeople. The CEO Sue De Bievre braved the Spinoff stairs to talk Simon.
One day when working on an online marketplace entrepreneur Holly Cardew was trying to get some imagery clear-cut onto a white background. Unless you’re a bit of a photoshop whizz, that is a real mission. Holly thought that if this was a problem for her it probably was for others looking to make a professional site, and that insight has led to her successful online enterprise pixc. The demand was out there, and the business has led Holly to startup incubators, being named on the Forbes 30 under 30, and to New Zealand, where she is part of techweek and the sales and marketing jams that the Kiwi Landing Pad makes happen.
In a few years' time, once enough cars are autonomous and car ownership has collapsed and we’re turning roadside car parks into bike lanes and garages into four storey apartments, we will look back and wonder at how much space was left vacant just waiting for these cars that only ever got driven five percent of the time.
Some people didn’t have to wait until the future to see this. They looked at all that time, space and capital sitting inefficiently a bit earlier. The big names you know. Uber and Airbnb are two standard bearers for the sharing economy, taking what’s underused and sharing the usage. And locally, in the car park space, we have a very cool company called parkable.
They take your empty car parks and match them with parkers who pay a fee. They market and provide the tech, clip the ticket, and help the world squeeze some more efficiency out of the model.
Parkable is run by Brody Nelson on the technical side and Toby Littin on the commercial side. They're here today to chat through the idea, about seizing the moment, and their new app, Campable. Campable is opening up spots all over the country to mobile home and vans of travelers, providing vineyards, marae and paddocks a new income stream, and hopefully putting an end to pooping in public car parks.
One week ago, on the second week of this podcast, we had a lovely chap in to talk about the Techweek that was going on. A week to bring in local and international experts to talk about how tech can solve today's problems and advance tomorrow's industry. It was a great success and it's now back for its second outing.
To discuss what the week has in store, we are again joined by Patrick McVeigh, general manager - business, innovation and skills at ATEED.
Not sure which events to catch? Read The Spinoff's Techweek'17 recommendations here.
Here’s a cool idea. How about taking a service every company needs, then doing it for free for them while also managing, as part of the deal, to get funds to charity. It sounds like you’ve just managed to clock life. Well, today’s company has done just this with Thank You Payroll.
It's a clever service, where they’ve turned an IRD subsidy into a force for good. Christina Bellis and Lani Evans of Thank You payroll Simon to discuss the business, a crowdfunding venture they have on, and how they make it happen.
Note: Apologies for the sound quality. This episode was conducted over the phone.
Adàn Tijerina is the director of Almighty Beverages. It's a Wellington based company producing a range of organic juices now to be found in stock around the country. It's hard graft making a boutique company work, particularly one that has a organic and community based ethos at heart. But hard work is something Adàn's well acquainted with. His background includes farm work in the States, working with the homeless, running some of Wellington's most iconic bars and restaurants, the Wellington orchestra and finally helping drive the Almighty ship. Simon caught up with Adàn while he was on a business trip to Auckland and enticed him to The Spinoff towers for a chat.
It's a remarkable success story: create a enterprise that combines both business and philanthropy and before you blink, you're knee deep in work. The idea is simple: order a lunch and the price pays for another free lunch to go to a hungry school kid. Such is the journey of Eat My Lunch, which started from a home kitchen and very quickly ended up supplying 40 schools and a similar number of businesses. The CEO Lisa King talked to Simon about how rapid the growth in the business was, how they managed it as well as the logistics of delivering 1400 lunches every day.
If you're looking at companies in the last few years that have made a real impact in the local entrepreneur and general scene, you can't go past My Food Bag. Pulling an idea in from overseas and making it work here in tiny, weird New Zealand was a passion for Cecilia and James Robinson. The idea was weekly delivered food parcels that contained everything a family needed to make meals for the week. They got Nadia Lim on board as a brand ambassador and next thing you know they're making $100 million in revenue.
But it can't have been that easy. In this conversation Simon talks to Cecilia about making the move from their earlier company Au Pair Link, approaching Theresa Gattung to sit on the board, creating a well regarded customer service operation and living on Weetbix during the hard times.
Vic Crone was announced as the new CEO of Callaghan Innovation in February of this year. Crone comes with a high profile won in executive roles at Chorus and Xero and from her bid for the Auckland Mayoralty. Simon invited her in to talk about her career, her time at Xero, what she learnt from politics and what's coming next for Callaghan.
Disclosure: Simon works at Vend, who have received Callaghan grants and Callaghan Innovation are a sponsor of this podcast.
You might have heard of the PayPal mafia, a term given to people that came through PayPal and then went on to invest in, found, and help grow other tech companies. People like Elon Musk, Peter Theil, Reid Hoffman; companies like Tesla, LinkedIn, Yelp, all trace back to PayPal. Well, in New Zealand I think we have our own version of that, the Trade Me mafia. The people who helped that company start, scale, grow and sell have gone on to use the capital they built up - both in terms of money they made and the social proof of their skill and judgement - to go on and foster a lot of the local industry. It's a theme of this podcast, and one of the key members of what I'd call that mafia is Lance Wiggs.
You can draw one of those detective show style photo boards with the lines and there'd be lines all over Business is Boring for today's guest. Lance has been a director, investor or advisor to many of our guests. Wierdly, Onceit, Vend, Populate and Timely to name a few of our guests. Lance has taken his experience and created a vehicle to help fund and propel high-growth companies forward, with Punakaiki Fund, and is a prominent commentator on local hi-tech companies.
We get him on today to find out about his career, his fund and why he keeps doing it when he has probably done well enough to go for a long bike adventure and not be busy as an active director on a number of companies.
Disclosure statement: I work at Vend, hold a tiny number of shares in the Punakaiki Fund and Lance is a semi-distant cousin. #NZ