By BNZ Head of Small Business, Harry Ferreira.
Six of the hottest names on the NZ start-up scene pitched their growth plans at BNZ Start-up Alley at the St. James Theatre in Wellington. The competition was tight, but together with fellow judges Derek Sivers, Anna Guenther, and Leah Culver I’m excited to announce that we have selected two winners this year.
Over the past few years I’ve seen the start-ups pitching at Webstock become much stronger in articulating the unique proposition of their business. They are more specific about what they do, who their market is, and where the value of the business lies. Businesses need to continue to improve in this area as it is vital to gaining a foothold offshore.
Congratulations to Talk Town for winning the Social Enterprise Kick Start category. Talk Town has developed a digital self-advocacy and communications skills game for deaf kids, who often have trouble with social interactions. Users will be able to develop the skills through interactions with game characters.
Zoë Haws, Mayor of Talk Town said winning Start-up Alley was a massive endorsement for what they’re doing. “The prize money and the connections we’ve made bring us another step closer to what we’re trying to achieve.”
“We’ll use the money to launch in beta in Australia and New Zealand. With the feedback and information from those markets we will then continue globally, starting in English speaking countries.”
And congratulations to coHired, whose pitch was the strongest in the Start-Up Accelerator category. Through coHired, companies are able to shorten the recruitment process. The software matches jobseekers to new jobs and shortlists applicants using their CV and a 10-minute questionnaire, providing the recruiter with a top 5 based on experience, skills, and cultural fit.
Andrew Nicol, co-founder & CEO of coHired said he was incredibly proud of the team. “We’ve been working tirelessly to make something so new – and this is great recognition.”
“We’ll use the $20k cash from BNZ to support the development of the software and machine learning. The US is a lot closer now, particularly with the flights we won. It’s a massive market and we already had plans to go up there. And in a few weeks we’re having some meetings in Australia.”
We’re granting both businesses a 20k cash prize towards their endeavours, as well as access to business mentors provided by BNZ. We believe coHired have a great opportunity lying ahead of them in the US and therefore we’ve also got them two return tickets to make new connections across the Pacific. This is a company that can literally scale into any corporate in America and the rest of the world.
Talk Town closely understood what was needed to really improve the lives of hearing impaired. The quality of the applicants this year was superb and both the social and tech enterprises have the ability to make a real mark in their area of specialisation.
BNZ has been supporting Webstock and organising BNZ Start-Up Alley for many years. New Zealand is a country of ideas, and of people who give things a go. As a result of that we see a lot of ideas turning into businesses.
As a bank, we have a part to play in helping these businesses become established and thrive and we want to work alongside their founders. What better place to start than the largest gathering of tech thinkers and entrepreneurs in New Zealand? Tech is going to play a vital role in the transformation of New Zealand. Because we are so remote as a country, we have an opportunity to develop strength and over-perform in the tech space, the weightless export industry.
Of course, we won’t forget the other four start-ups and the exciting plans they are working on. Here’s what you can expect from them:
Accreditron is a web-platform for the social sector, supporting social service providers by enabling them to store key information for government agencies. This means they won’t have to provide the same information over and over again for every new government interaction. The software ensures providers are only asked a question once, decreasing the workload by 50-80%.
Charity Whare Hauora wants to empower New Zealanders to measure their environment and make changes for a healthier home by providing affordable sensors. Consumers who buy the equipment will be gifting one to someone in need and sensors will be installed into social housing free of charge.
To make investing simple and affordable, Investify offers an app that provides users with information about stocks presented in simple infographics and video content. Users are able to access detailed research and make trades.
KITT aims to make property management simple and efficient, saving landlords both time and money. The platform lets landlords communicate with and manage flats, deal with issues and helps them get paid as well as list their properties.