I’m at NetHui at the moment, and about to facilitate a session on business ecosystem in NZ. In the interests of speeding the introduction here are the starter notes and questions.
New Zealand’s start-up ecosystem continues to develop. In the last year we saw some exits, good funding rounds with local and overseas investors and a continuous stream of new companies appearing.
Are we happy with the state of affairs?, or do we need to keep working on creating a richer primordial soup?
Funding sources are interesting in NZ, as there seems to be plenty of money for housing or partial sell downs, and some start-ups do very well. But there also appear to be very few lead funders for internet start-ups, so what can we do to promote more funding options?
Xero went down the IPO route – is that (IPO) credible for others now?
What about the VIF program – is it a success yet?
Is New Zealand producing the right talented educated people, and are we retaining them? Do we do enough to help them transition to start-up world?
Are we helping local companies access international markets well, or do we expect that anything online will sell itself?
What regulations and agreements are helping and hindering the sector – what do we need to change?
Questions (and answers) to start the session
1: Why is business important?
- Economy is money is society & cultural uplift. More comfortable, longer life, better life, more for less.
- Changes the world: Drives change, profit motive powerful – takes creation and accelerates
- Gives people purpose. Meaningful work.
2: What should be important for business?
- Change the world, improve the world
- Improve NZ
- Improve your customers’ lives – awesomeness
- Help your suppliers, staff, local area,
- Shareholders, while managing debt.
3: What do small, medium and large businesses need?
- Access to Markets
- Access to suppliers
- Talented people
- Basic infrastructure – including internet
- Access to capital
- Office Space?
Good session Lance. One thing I took out of it is that there isn’t any one systemic issue in the start-up ecosystem in NZ. There are common challenges such as size and isolation. But there are no real road blocks. The road blocks are typically specific to individual situations. If you hit one, dust yourself off, learn and move on. The onus is on individuals to work hard, be smart and to get stuff done. The number of challenges you will have to overcome before you exit a start-up is way more than you ever plan for. Struggling to find VC? Banks are a bitch to deal with? Public sector painful? Welcome to the ride. That’s 3 out of 1000 big problems you will have. Has everyone involved in your start-up got what it takes to overcome most (not all, but most) of those problems? Build a team around you that can – including choosing the right early stage investors, not just the first one that will hand over a cheque.
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