From kale smoothies to business owners : Julia & Libby talk business, books and haters

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What’s better than an incredible kiwi woman thriving in business, releasing their second wholefood recipe book, and on the brink of launching two other businesses? Well, two of them. Julia & Libby are two incredibly hard-working entrepreneurs from our BizDojo Parnell community who prove that social media can catapult your business, yet isn’t what it used to be. Are you following?


Getting started on the business path 

From the early days of studying business, Julia knew it wasn’t all gravy. Her sister, Libby, was in the mix of studying nutrition and was enriched by the effects food has on your body. Understanding the need for a well-balanced diet, Julia was already up to making new vegetarian options that had her friends wanting more. She soon followed suit and partnered up with sis, to bust out some recipes that brought both worlds together.

It started with a kale smoothie that went viral - unintentionally. Back in the day, social media was simply an easier way to get information out to friends and families faster than email. It was a place for easy posting - something mum and dad could use. And today, it’s become another necessary tool for business, with a negative stereotype.
 

Success can bring it's own pressures 

Julia & Libby have often been asked “what was the key to your success on social media?” or “how did you get so many followers? What’s the trick?”. Questions the sisters both sigh at. Yes, their “social success” has supported their business and the two will be the first to tell you they wouldn’t be where they are without it. However, it isn’t what they’re about. They are passionate about how food makes you feel, how to elevate your healthy eating options, and growing a business. Not the number of likes, followers, or posting anything you don’t believe in. The key to social success is simply, authenticity and passion.

you can’t make everyone happy
— Julia & Libby

When asking “what was one of the hardest parts of launching a business?” the girls explain it was definitely the “haters”. As many businesses introduce social media marketing during a product launch or when a marketing budget exists, this business started with it. Dealing with these haters quickly became an emotional obstacle in which these sisters now overcome with the timeless saying “you can’t make everyone happy”. Knowing that if they continue on with their passion and being true to themselves, they will in turn make so many other people happy. And that voice speaks volumes louder than any cyber bully.
 

Books unlock business success 

So how does a kale smoothie turn into an award-winning business between two sisters? Knowing early in the game they needed to take their online service-based content into a product, the sisters launched a recipe book. Already having received paid requests for recipes, content, and product, the sisters knew it was time to go all in. To launch a business, and create something concrete to solidify their brand. In 2016 ‘Julia & Libby’s Wholefood Kitchen’ recipe book was born.

It is without a doubt that these sisters know how to stay on trend. And we aren’t just talking about their outfits and social engagements. Keeping on trend with recipes is essential to keeping this business alive. Knowing what food is hot right now, what everyone is craving and what their audience needs, contributes to the growth of their brand and their creative masterpieces. No need sending out a survey or researching market needs - this is where their social success comes in handy. Where do they find the inspiration for fresh content? The sisters are quick to answer “our audience tells us what they want”. That makes business easy and is what soon became a second business. “Our audience is always asking us what we suggest for our favorite protein powder. It became so constant that we knew it was something we could make and sell ourselves, with all of our go-to ingredients.” Boom, Two Islands was born.

The name behind Two Islands Co comes from the heart of these kiwi sisters. Knowing it represents their NZ background, it also brings the sisters together as Libby is now living abroad with her bae in Minnesota. The sisters have more exciting product in the works as they are also launching a gender-neutral baby clothing line from their latest inspiration, Maxwell, Libby’s first born. As Libby decided to not find out the sex of their baby, she found it close to impossible to find gender-neutral baby clothes that were affordable and luxury - another business idea.

It is clear that these sisters mastered reading an audience - finding a need and turning it into a business. Even after winning the top social media awards in Food & Nutrition, these girls know how to remain humble, authentic and passionate about what they do. They are grateful for the opportunities their social success has created, however, prove that running a business includes rolling up your sleeves and making sh*t happen. That demand can turn into ideas, that food can turn into fuel, and that passion can turn into reality. And that, fills our bellies and our soul.


Passionate about wellness, community and women in business and leadership, Jessica Gasiunas is one of our talented Community Managers. Meet her and the rest of our awesome community at BizDojo Parnell.  

Top tips for crowdfunding success from Kate Drane - Indiegogo

It wasn't that long ago that Parrot Dog raised 1 million dollars in 7 hours crowdfunding on Pledgeme, and as they ready for their next crowdfunded equity raise Kate Drane, Senior Director of Outreach for Tech and Hardware at crowdfunding giant Indiegogo hit town. 

The natural choice to spread the word about all things crowdfunding,  Kate joined Indiegogo after successfully launching a mobile beer canning business "The Can Van", itself funded by the crowd. Thanks to The Project and the U.S Embassy Kate arrived on our fair shores ready to deliver master-classes on the art of crowdfunding, and we managed to wrangle some time with her to share her secrets not only with our residents but as it turns out - with you. 

Kate's visit comes at the perfect time, in 2015, crowdfunding generated US$34Billion and was predicted to surpass Venture Capital by 2016. And with the rise of equity funding on sites like Indiegogo, 2017 is set to be a watershed. By 2025, the World Bank Report estimates that global investment through crowdfunding will reach $93 billion.
 

Top 5 crowdfunding tips for crowdfunding success from Kate Drane - Indiegogo


Connect with an audience that cares

Your first 30% of pledges are likely to come from your tight-knit network so get them ready and excited. As well as your friends, family and coworkers Kate suggests building out qualified lead-lists in advance that will enable you to make the most of that first push. You can do this by running low-spend facebook advertising enticing people who are interested in learning more to sign up to a database, by talking to local business groups and creating engaging organic content through social media. 

Keep conversion rates front of mind when building databases

A qualified lead list or email database converts on average at a rate of 5% - %10, so approaching your campaign with this in mind is useful. This may mean you delay your campaign to build an excellent lead list, or that you work harder on your earned media and adverts. For more on that head over to Indiegogo blog

Strategise, Plan and THEN push play

Crowdfunding campaigns that raise 50% of their funding goal in the first 48 hours go on to raise more money than those that do not. A connected, and engaged audience will help here, but so will putting time and effort in before your funding campaign goes live. On average, successful campaigns involve six months of forward planning. Approached like a typical launch program, these include everything from teaser messaging through to press and how updates can and will be handled. The more organised, and the more effort you put into getting people on-side and then keeping them there with ongoing comms the better you will fare. 

Communicate in a way that engages multiple kinds of people

Building out campaign pages? Keep in mind that some people love video, some people love graphics and images, and some people love copy. Try not to forgo one way of communicating, and instead work in broader strokes that incorporate all of the above so that all your bases are covered. 

Think about your audience when crafting your copy, or selecting the music for your video. What would appeal to them, what would entice them to say yes? And don't be afraid to spend time or money in creating this video content "many people see this as a strategic piece of communications they can use on an ongoing basis", making a larger video that can then be cut up in various ways for different parts of the campaign.  

Do not just ball-park the money element of this

Build out a campaign based on what you need to make your dream possible, knowing full well that "if you make that value too high, it will be hard". Kate pointed out that the goal amount is so critical, and it needs to be created with the ability for your business to say with confidence that you can deliver what you promise on that amount, while also keeping it low enough that the barrier to reaching that funding goal it is not too high. On average, campaigns that do not reach 30% of funding within the first days will struggle to complete their round. 


What's the haps with BizDojo Ponsonby, Wellington & Christchurch?

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Phew! It's been a busy few weeks for BizDojo across Aotearoa as we've hosted three 'Town Hall' events to give all you wonderful people a sneak peek at your future BizDojo's to call home. 

Some quick highlights include that fact we're keeping our current sites in Christchurch in Wellington, and the new sites will become a second campus to connect with (yusss!). We're also very excited to introduce you to our "If We Ran The Zoo" coworking cafe offer, which will be present in all the new BizDojos. If We Ran The Zoo, combines everything we love about coworking at a cost accessible price for anyone just starting on their entrepreneurial journey.

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If you missed out on attending these events, or curiosity is now creeping in then check out the details on each site below. 


BizDojo Ponsonby - we're coming home.

BizDojo's first-ever home was just around the corner from Ponsonby, on K Road. From that little space nearly eight years ago we have taken our idea across New Zealand, and coming back to this community feels like we are bringing BizDojo home.

On the 5th of October, we brought together the great people of Ponsonby, Grey Lynn and beyond to talk about coworking, the future of work and what it is like being part of BizDojo.

The dets.

  • Opening early 2018
  • Level 9, Cider Building, Ponsonby
  • 2,500 sqm
  • Room for 380 coworking humans
  • "If We Ran The Zoo" coworking cafe

Keen to be kept in the loop on all things BizDojo Ponsonby? Get in touch with us via the link below.


BizDojo Wellington - we're building a tech precinct

We've finally got too big for our boots at 115 Tory Street, and will soon have another Wellington campus at 3 Market lane. Not only is this new location the right place for our community as it continues to evolve but we’re in very good company with Trade Me, Xero, Mahuki, ProjectR & CreativeHQ all in our neighbourhood.

We've made the no-brainer decision to also keep our current Tory Street home which will support larger teams as they scale, while our Market Lane campus will continue to serve entrepreneurs and companies earlier on in their business journey.

The dets.

  • Opening early 2018
  • 3 Market Lane, Wellington Central. 
  • 2,000 sqm
  • Room for 350 coworking humans
  • "If We Ran The Zoo" coworking cafe

Keen to be kept in the loop on all things BizDojo Wellington? Get in touch with us via the link below.


BizDojo Christchurch - we're supporting a new Christchurch

Christchurch is a place of transformation and BizDojo wants to be a part of that change. By early 2018 we'll occupy three floors of the new building being constructed at 150 Litchfield Street. BizDojo Litchfield Street will become our second campus for Christchurch.

We've always been a company to embrace innovation to help create a strong economy and by moving to 150 Litchfield Street we’re able to better connect and support the city’s entrepreneurs and innovative businesses.

The dets.

  • Opening early 2018
  • 150 Litchfield Street, Christchurch
  • 1,500 sqm
  • Room for 280 coworking humans
  • "If We Ran The Zoo" coworking cafe

Keen to be kept in the loop on all things BizDojo Christchurch? Get in touch with us via the link below.

Communications tips: are you making things too hard for your customers?

Explain what you do and how. Seems simple? For many startups, scaleups and small businesses it is a pretty huge challenge, especially if you throw tech into the mix. We cornered the king of clear communications -  BizDojo @ GridAKL resident Ian Howarth from Directly and asked him. So how do you do this whole clear communications thing? 


Ian, and the rest of the directly team 

Ian, and the rest of the directly team 

Every message you send has some complexity. It can be complex for you to simplify it, or it can be complex for your customer to understand. We call this the “Conservation of Complexity” – and taking the easy route isn’t good for customer engagement.

Ever read something that sent your brain into an instant coma?

“Where the Rate for Age option was selected, the premiums will be recalculated at each policy anniversary based on:

  • Your age
  • The amount of cover you have
  • Our current premium rates.

“Where the Consumer Price Index (CPI) option was selected, the premium will increase annually in line with the movement in the CPI.

The amount of cover you hold for benefits categorised as ‘Level’ will remain the same.”

Ok. I’m back. Blink a few times and get that glaze off your eyeballs.

This letter excerpt is a classic case of throwing complexity over the customer’s fence. What if I started my policy 15 years ago and I have no idea what “Rate for Age option” I chose? What even is a “Rate for Age”? Do I need to pay more? What’s going on? Where am I?

Complexity kills customer engagement

We think about this as the “Conservation of Complexity”. It’s a simple concept.

Every message has a certain amount of complexity. As a communicator, you get to decide who takes on that complexity: you, or your customer.

You can take responsibility for the complexity by simplifying your message and making it as easy as possible to understand. Or, you can just load it on the customer.

But when you give your customers the heavy lifting, they probably won’t even try. People don’t like not understanding something. And if they have to work too hard to understand your message, you can bet they’ll just ignore it altogether.

And of course, it’s not just a one-on-one with you and a customer. You’re probably communicating with thousands of customers – all of them scratching their heads, trying to work out what you want.

So how do you simplify?

1. Define your goal

What do you want your customer to do? Keep that single goal in mind, and stick to it. Cut everything else, or put it on your FAQs section or a website link.

2. Need to know basis

Focus on what your customer needs to know right now to reach your action goal. If you can, confirm their success at that point and, if necessary, tell them any further steps.

Let them know clearly what action they need to take now, and what they can expect as a result.

3. Keep your knowledge bias in check

You know your product inside out. But your customers have a million other things on their mind and are coming into this cold. Cover off any concepts they may not be familiar with, even if it’s just a quick refresh.

4. Watch your language

Keep your sentences short and your words shorter. Simple language, clear paragraph structures and an active voice go a long way. Numbered steps are fine.

5. Talk to them directly

For the love of God, don’t start your messages with “Dear customer”. Write like you’d talk to them: like people. Use “you”, not “the user”. It brightens your language and is much easier to write.

And try not to order people around. Words like “must” and “need to” raise hackles.

6. Respect your existing relationships

When you can, create variable-based communications from your customer data. You can target messages directly, and push relevant information forward in your message. For example, that insurance letter could have told me the plan I was on, and any change to my premium. Simple.

Building a variable, data-driven communication is a good investment. It’s a communications machine, ready for you to use next time.

7. Use pictures, diagrams and infographics

People assess their communications with a “first impressions” glance. If your message is all text (like this blog…) it’s easy to reject. How can you add visual appeal? Use diagrams or infographics to simplify your concepts.

8. Replace long descriptions with animation or video

Some concepts are easier to understand through video or animation. They’re more engaging than text. They can also be permanent sales tools on your website and on social media.


Don't have the capacity to deal with the above? Contact the crew at Directly... directly. They specialise in making the complex simple.  Their team are big on communication that leads to action and making complex propositions compelling using strategy, writing, animation, design and code.

Mevo is your answer to traveling in style while doing your bit for the climate.

Welcome to our Innovation Awards series, where we give you the 101 on each of our six BizDojo resident businesses from across New Zealand who were finalists and Highly Commended in the 2017 Innovation Awards. Today we are giving you the quick rundown on Mevo! Curious about other innovation award nominees that call Dojo home? Then be sure to check out our piece all about BizDojo Christchurch business - Anteater, or our piece on the innovative world of toothbrushes with James Hurman


Do you like the environment?

Yeah, we thought so.

Do you also like the thought of looking super swish in a fancy car?

Yeah... picked that one.

It’s probably time you checked out Mevo then. 

Wellington-born and raised, Mevo is New Zealand’s first hybrid car-sharing scheme who are making some pretty big noises with some very quiet cars.

Founded by BizDojo Wellington residents, Erik Zydervelt and Finn Lawrence, Mevo has been in operation since December 2016 and it's clear they’re here to stay. Their humble fleet of 3 in 2016 is on track to have more than 50 by the new year!

Using a the Mevo service is beautifully easy.

The Mevo app connects you to electric vehicles around Wellington, whenever you need them most. Whether you want to escape the capital’s winds in search of nicer weather (often!) or you got carried away at the supermarket buying 241 Anchor Blue, an Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is just two taps away. The car is all yours till you’re done and you only pay only for the time you use, from an hour up to three days! 

Mevo works on a membership plan which ranges from $11 an hour to $49 a week. Your insurance, fuel, maintenance and ongoing costs are entirely covered so all you gotta do is reserve a car and get zooming. 

Not only is Mevo New Zealand’s first electric car sharing scheme but they’re pretty unique on a global scale too. Mevo is the world’s first climate positive car share, using responsible carbon credits to not only sustain but restore the environment they operate in.

The BizDojo crew were lucky enough to check out their service first hand as Mevo's Audi's were our shiny chariots getting us from Wellington to Martinborough for the PwC Charity Relay earlier this year. We can testify that they make you feel pretty swish.

CoLiberate want us to approach mental health differently in New Zealand

Welcome to our Innovation Awards series, where we give you the 101 on each of our six BizDojo resident businesses from across New Zealand who were finalists in the 2017 Innovation Awards. Today we are giving you the quick rundown on CoLiberate! Curious about other innovation award nominees that call Dojo home? Then be sure to check out our piece all about BizDojo Christchurch business - Anteater, or our piece on the innovative world of toothbrushes with James Hurman or get your Squawk on with our Squawk Squad piece here.  


It seems that 2017 has been a year for conversations about Mental Health in New Zealand. Questions about what we are doing, what we aren't doing, what people are facing, how they are facing it are bubbling to the surface. The conversations have played out between friends, in the press, in the lead-up to the election and as we close out Mental Health Month here in New Zealand, the conversation feels more present than ever. 

For CoLiberate, these conversations are ones they have daily in order to feed into their action - creating avenues for people to access toolkits, help and learning around the topic of mental wellness. 

"CoLiberate is a Wellington-based organisation on this mission to enable all NZer’s to thrive! We are creating a wellness revolution, by eliminating the stigma around mental illness and supporting our community to value their mental fitness as much as their physical fitness." 

People can book in an emotional workout at their gym and workplaces can utilise their Mindwork Bootcamp, Mindfulness 101 workshops or engage in one to one personal training for your mental health. The CoLiberate crew are also the official Wellington providers of the Mental Health First Aid Certificate. 

"It's a 2-day course where you are trained to recognise and respond to mental health challenges, and at the end, you come out with a certificate that is valid for two years." 

You can find CoLiberate co-founders Jody, Bop, and Sarah amongst the community of BizDojo Wellington, or in their studio! 




Co creating influencing with integrity and 5 tips for codesigning

While most of Wellington may have spent their weekends binging on netflix, or soaking up caffeine at long brunches, I was inside working. And do you know what? I think I may have had the better deal.

Over the Labour Weekend, the organisations that BizDojo help operate, Collider and Founders Central held a one day workshop “Influencing with Integrity”. Behind the scenes, I worked to create this bespoke event with Lucy Revill from The Residents to discuss all things influencer marketing with a group of business owners and influencers. So while we weren’t soaking up mimosas with our brunch, everyone in the room was soaking up knowledge, making connections and generally levelling up on all things influencer and content marketing.


Have you met Lucy Revill? We did and it helped lead to this event.

Earlier this year Lucy Revill was part of our Business Resolutions Summer Series. Lucy shared the insights, tips, and tricks she has learnt while growing The Residents blog to its current form, building an Instagram following (now over 10k!) and staying true to her personal brand and values along the way.

Lucy’s workshop was an absolute hit, it sold out and feedback was 5 star! The only negative feedback we received was that it was too short (at 1 hour), people wanted to talk about how to create content all day! So when Lucy said she’d be keen to collaborate on future content for BizDojo or Collider, we were in.


The co-design process

Every product, process or business begins with a designer. Someone that thinks up an idea, and designs a product to go with it. Typically, that designer takes their product out into the world and the world tells them what they think. Over time, the product designer will take on feedback - improving on what the product is. Co-design turns that idea on its head and involves the user into the design process from day one. And that is really what happened with Influencing with Integrity.

We knew we wanted to do more work around marketing for startup and scaleup businesses, and we knew that our community were asking for us to cover off a variety of topics. But by working with Lucy, who is both a small business owner and an influencer; the workshop we created together was stronger, more focussed and more suited to the people that attended than any workshop we would have designed separately.

Lucy was keen to talk more about her experience and share insights on social media and influencer marketing with a particular focus on integrity and disclosure. We already knew this would be of interest and value to loads of people. But we needed to ensure this was relevant to our Collider mission to support business growth in Welly.

Over coffee at La’ffare it dawned on us - the interface between content creators and business owners is influencer marketing! So we co-designed an activation to get them all in a room together that was part seminar, part panel discussions, part networking and part the best blind date ever!

The idea developed into tracking the creation of a piece of influencer marketing content (e.g. a blog piece on a new business). We focussed on 4 key steps in the process and identified a group of experienced people to deliver on each:

  • Navigating relationships - Rebecca Reed, Arriba PR

  • Creating compelling content - Danijela Unkovich, Healthy Always

  • Disclosing paid content - Lucy Revill, The Residents

  • Maximising content - Ben Woodward, independant social media consultant


5 tips for codesigning success
 

Embrace the ambiguous
Some of the best gems of wisdom, design cues, or insights come out of general conversation. Giving yourself permission to follow a course of questioning, a conversation or an inkling may turn out to be the “aha” moment for your project.

Shop your idea around to a diverse group
The more people we talked to about the concepts behind the workshop, both at an influencer and a business level, the stronger these concepts became.

Keep a light hold : embrace critique
Keep front of mind that this is a collaborative, unfolding process. Keeping too strong a hold on your ideas and assumptions may lead you to not listen to feedback or critique from the people you are codesigning with.

Create ways for people to share their insights in ways that are comfortable to them
You may want to have group conversations, one on ones, or lead people through a traditional workshop process. Keep in mind the people that you are working with, and alter the flow of your sessions to work for them.

Listen, listen, listen
Collaborating with your users to create stronger outcomes can be addictive, and I now find myself hearing things people are saying and asking myself, “hmm is that something we can solve together”, “who else should that person be talking to”. Opportunity is everywhere, so listen carefully and you will likely see it pop up!


What was the result of our collaborative, codesign lead approach to this workshop?

What was the result of our collaborative, codesign lead approach to this workshop?

Forty awesome humans took part in the workshop - 25 influencers and 15 businesses. The presentations were super insightful and focussed on giving participants practical takeaways (watch this space for a ‘top tips’ blog).

For me, the best part was seeing people interacting - sharing their visions, bouncing ideas and seeing possible businesses conceived. Like the florist, hairdresser and makeup artist who talked about launching a package wedding service!


As a BizDojo Activation Manager, Kate helps create events and opportunity to help our residents and those who use Collider. She loves working with people to design events to fill gaps in support available for those doing business in Wellington so if you have a suggestion for a great event get in touch on Twitter, or via email

Squawk Squad are saving birds but they can't do it alone: they need tech and you.

Welcome to our Innovation Awards series, where we give you the 101 on each of our six BizDojo resident businesses from across New Zealand who were finalists and Highly Commended in the 2017 Innovation Awards. Today we are giving you the quick rundown on Squawk Squad! Curious about other innovation award nominees that call Dojo home? Then be sure to check out our piece all about BizDojo Christchurch business - Anteater, or our piece on the innovative world of toothbrushes with James Hurman


As we look back on Conservation Week 2017, the Kea taking out bird of the year, and announcements for our new Minister For the Environment, it seems apt timing to talk about the folks from Squawk Squad

You can find Squawk Squad Co-founders Alex and Fraser doing their thing in BizDojo @ GridAKL. The duo, hot on the heels of a successful kick-starter campaign have been heads down spinning up the next steps for their business that combines tech and conservation

"The idea grew from Startup Weekend Auckland last November where we took out the title for winning social-enterprise idea. We were all very passionate and excited about the potential of the idea so decided to take the plunge and put our idea on Kickstarter. It was a great way of validating our idea and seeing whether people were actually interested." - Squawk Squad in Stuff Homed 

After seeing the massive impact introduced pests were having on native wildlife populations, Squawk Squad set out to create a solution. 

"Squawk Squad connects people with sanctuaries by an app that gives them the ability to collectively invest in sensor-connected traps in aid of sanctuary projects. The investors can see where their trap is deployed in the sanctuary and are notified in real-time when their trap activates. This indicates the positive impact that their investment is having on native birdlife.

We use modern, self re-settable traps that trigger 24 times without any maintenance. Together with a live view of all traps and when they activate, sanctuaries are saved a considerable amount of labour time."


The meeting point of toothbrushes and innovation: meet James Hurman

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Welcome to our Innovation Awards series, where we give you the 101 on each of our six BizDojo resident businesses from across New Zealand who were finalists in the 2017 Innovation Awards. Today we are giving you the quick rundown on James Hurman who runs Previously Unavailable, and has helped create Toothcrush! Curious about other innovation award nominees that call Dojo home? Then be sure to check out our piece all about BizDojo Christchurch business - Anteater

Some people are simply put, very interesting.  James Hurman is one of those people. He may be photographing something in a corner, casting his eye over creative, typing furiously at his computer, and on the odd occasion - if you are very lucky, mixing a cocktail. You may have passed him as he skips down the stairs at BizDojo @ GridAKL, helmet tucked under his arm - off somewhere in a hurry. 

So it is unsurprising, that James - curious and clever has the power to make even your toothbrush interesting. 

If the name is not familiar, the work might be; and his imprint can be seen strongly in the brands and projects he has worked on from Stolen Rum, through to Simplicity Kiwi Saver. One of his most recent projects is Toothcrush, an eco-friendly toothbrush subscription service he co-founded with Annabel Hurman under his Previously Unavailable brand, "a ventures company, specialising in the rapid creation of innovative products with untraditional business models. We work as co-founders of new start-ups and corporate ventures."

Featuring cute as a button branding, the environmentally friendly brushes have made it big in NZ, leading Toothcrush to look abroad for new markets. 

"The first-of-its-kind service – which mails a new, 100 percent biodegradable toothbrush to subscribers each month – has grown to more than 4,000 subscribers throughout Aotearoa, and now plans on expanding into Australia this spring." - Idealog 

Outside of the land of toothbrushes; you may have read Hurmans work, or seen him talk at an event, heard about his innovation report or  experienced his children's book in AR. We have pulled some of our favourite James Hurman bits of goodness and popped them below for you. 


James Hurman talking at Creative Mornings Auckland 


James Hurman talks on The Case For Creativity

Have you got an innovative enterprise or great idea like Previously Unavailable? Join our community of founders, freelancers, entrepreneurs and interesting humans doing awesome stuff. 

Want to eat Insects? Anteater think you should!

Welcome to our Innovation Awards series, where we give you the 101 on each of our six BizDojo resident businesses from across New Zealand who were finalists in the 2017 Innovation Awards. Today we are giving you the lowdown on Christchurch business - Anteater

Do you enjoy your crayfish with a dusting of ants? Well, Christchurch residents Anteater do. Finalists in the 2017 Innovation Awards for "Innovation in Food & Beverage," the duo behind Anteater hail from Christchurch - where they call our Christchurch BizDojo home. We proudly sponsor Anteater founders Peter and Bex, who started off their premium edible insects business off the back of another one of our favourite things, Startup Weekend

Overseas insect protein startups have been getting attention, with EXO raising 4 Million in 2016 to bring cricket flour protein bars to the masses. Anteater, however, do things a bit differently, working on the high-end of the market they work with leading chefs and restaurants to supply locally farmed grass-fed locusts, and wild harvested lemongrass ants. Their products enable chefs to create innovative dishes like the aforementioned cray with ants; an approach to using insect protein made most famous by the award-winning restaurant Noma

Check out what Anteater are doing hereHear more about what they are up to here


So what is it like eating bugs? BizDojo team member gives bugs a taste test


Anteater talk to Nigel Latta about why you should be eating bugs


Have you got an innovative enterprise or great idea like Anteater? Join our community of founders, freelancers, entrepreneurs and interesting humans doing awesome stuff. 

Our top 5 lessons from Founders Central Founder Night

The constant hectic-hustle of entrepreneurial life can be tricky to navigate for anyone, but what if we came together for just one night to celebrate the leaps, the wins, and the pivots? Under our Founders Central banner, we took this idea and ran with it, putting together Founder Nights in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners.

The nights kicked off with chats, vino and good eats, followed by a screening of startup documentary The New Hustle, and the ability to grill one of its stars Vinomofo Co-Founder and Co-CEO Justin Dry.

The movie and conversation with Justin covered everything from running out of cash to ruining your own product and grappling with mental wellness on the founder journey. Did not manage to make it along? Never fear, we have put together a rundown of our 5 top lessons from the Founders Central Founder Night events across the country. 


1: Startup? Scaleup? Entrepreneur? Pre-startup? Yall need to watch The New Hustle.
Ya’ know when you are watching something on screen which both mirrors your experience, and gives you a few “aha” moments? The New Hustle, a documentary following a series of Australian startup founders is one of those films. Played as part of Founders Night, it was one part educational, one part “omg thank god it’s not just us”, as the movie delved into the highs, lows and sideways moments that come with starting, and sustaining a growth focussed business.

We could see a lot of shared experiences between the documentary subjects (Canva, VinoMofo, SafetyCulture) and a fair few of our residents. There were also more than a couple of moments that felt quite similar to things we have faced along the BizDojo journey as we have scaled too. Not surprising our investor in residence Gregg Sitters said it should be essential viewing. Nuff said.


2: Keeping perspective can be challenging, but is essential
“A thing we talk a lot about at BizDojo is this idea of resilience, resilience amongst founders and entrepreneurs. You just have to watch the theme of that documentary, and it's just stress, stress, decisions being made on a knife edge…” - Jonah, Co- Founder BizDojo. 

The above statement from Jonah started a conversation with Justin about the realities of being a founder. For Justin, managing the rollercoaster of building a business comes down to being able to separate your self-worth from the business idea you are growing. Not only does this separation maintain your feelings of worth even when the idea is failing. This approach also gives the space needed to allow you to look at an idea and say - "this needs changing" without having your ego wrapped up in that. 

Founder mental health was a big topic in Wellington too, where Nick quizzed Justin on maintaining perspective and keeping positive in the face of massive challenges. 

"You have to envisage yourself as someone who has made the changes you need to make to make your business successful. You cannot dwell. You have to move forward." Justin, Co-Founder, Co-CEO Vinomofo. 


3. That co-founder mix can be a game-changer

The Dojo’ team jokes from time to time that much like Captain Planet, the powers of our founders Nick and Jonah really come to the fore when combined. As a business built on the idea that collaboration amplifies results, it was great to see this in action; both with Justin’s talks around the country but also in the documentary.

Both Canva, and Vinomofo have Co-founder, founder relationships featuring contrasting personalities with different skill-sets. Whilst Andre from Vinomofo is driven by a life with more fulfilment and independence - trying many creative pursuits along the way, Justin was a serial entrepreneur from an early age with some success to prove it.

“I definitely had a moment of, oh that is a stupid f*cking idea to go into business with your brother in law. But you have failed at every venture you have tried Andre, and Justin hasn’t. And he’s good at thinking big, and he’s good at money, and you suck at money, and maybe that’s what you need”.  - Andre, Co-Founder and Co-CEO Vinomofo, from The New Hustle

From Cliff from Canva’s ability to hustle School Secretaries with white lies vs. Melanie from Canva’s product design skills; Founder Night highlighted countless examples of how the tension/different approaches/skills and backgrounds of founders can really drive those moments of business change and progress.


4: Not all ideas are great - but every lesson can be
Justin backed up a lot of what was seen in the documentary, with gusto. From telling the story of how he imagined himself as a superhero to move through the crippling sorrow that came with losing everything - for the second time. Through to the time that they sold a stake in their business, only to buy it back later.

But, the most impactful story of ideas toppling only to create more opportunity comes from the product development arc of Vinomofo. Envisaged as an online wine community and product ranking website, moving to a wine content platform, moving beyond this a MVP wine-deal site and then finally hitting its stride as Vinomofo. At every step Justin outlined the assumptions they made, the bad ideas that came out of those ideas and the problems that spun out of those ideas. He also succinctly articulated that every ‘failure’ they had faced before launching Vinomofo successfully built parts of the business that today is successful.


5: The power of mindframe, perspective, and stubbornness
There were plenty of “light bulb” moments during the Founder Night sessions across the country, but in Justin’s talk, the documentary screening and the chatter that erupted after; there was a common theme of the power of creating a mind-frame that enables you to keep pushing.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the sections of The New Hustle featuring Melanie Perkins, the Co-Founder, CEO and driving force behind Canva. Her co-founder refers to her as “the most determined, stubborn person you have met in your life” - “she is that stubborn that anyone that if anyone says no, she’s like hmm well we are proving them wrong.”

Melanie herself says she likes things “Intense”, saying “chill is not my scene” before saying “If I put enough effort into something, I can out effort most people”.

This steadfast belief and focus came up again and again; highlighting that some of the strongest shared experiences between founders may be a question of personality.


Don’t want to miss out on future Founders Central goodness? Hit the button below to head to Founders Central for more info on what’s happening. Don’t forget to sign up for updates.

Would you eat bugs to save the world?

Our inspiring Christchuch Residents, Anteater have been turning a lot of heads recently, and for a good reason!

Not only have they been sponsored to attend the Social Enterprise World Forum 2017 but they were interviewed on "What Next?", TVNZ's new live and interactive series that explores what New Zealand could look like in 2037.

Our Ressies Bex and Peter of Anteater were approached to comment on the show as their business offers a sustainable food option for the future. Check out their full interview below:

We're taking enquiries for BizDojo Queenstown and Sylvia Park

As you might have heard BizDojo is expanding not only in Auckland, taking up leases in Ponsonby and Sylvia Park, but we've also arrived in Queenstown. 

 

BizDojo Sylvia Park

BizDojo Sylvia Park is located in the heart of metropolitan Auckland which provides first-rate accessibility to public transport and will house a coworking community of 300 humans.

 

BizDojo Queenstown

15 minutes from the township, BizDojo Queenstown will house a community of 250 residents who will enjoy unobstructed views of the breathtaking Remarkables and video editing studios - ooooh!

 

Event goodness coming up across the country

Check out what's happening in BizDojo's across New Zealand. These upcoming events will help you sharpen up your LinkedIn profile, get some pro Startup tips and even help you unwind your entrepreneurial brain through yoga.

Auckland
21st June 12.30 - 1.30pm "Perfect your LinkedIn Profile"
21st June, 6pm - 8.30pm "Startup Grind AKL"
22nd June, 6.30pm-8pm "
Data Science Discussion Group"
30th June 6.30pm-8pm
 "WordPress Meetup"



 

Want more?

As you can see we're swimming in events and if you're having trouble staying afloat of them all, we've created a life raft to help you get around them all... The BizDojo Events Newsie! 

Not only will you be delivered fresh events from across the country, but you can also register an event you're hosting for us to include. Check it out below.

New faces across BizDojo this week

Here's a snapshot of all the lovely new faces that BizDojo across the country has had in their spaces. 

Dojo @GridAKL - Matthew Griffin from Future Sight Consulting. Matt is a blockchain enthusiast who is researching how the blockchain can make for better tax policy. Eventbrite’s Marketing Manager Brad McIntyre is also adding value to the Wynyard fam. 


The ever expanding Takas has been joined by Matt Bogust from the beautifully designed Think Packaging and Stewart Kearny, Director of Good for Business, an accounting and business advisory with a focus on sustainability. 


The Welly Dojo has been joined by Irene Wakefield CEO and founder of Prepair NZ, and Josiah Pasikale founder of his own film business called Firetale


The Dojo Chch Fam has also expanded with Risk Management Specialist, Richard Sewak from LifeStyle Solutions and cat lover, Karen Yu from Fintech company, Broadway Technology.

 

BizDojo building a new coworking and collaboration community in Sylvia Park

It may have seemed like only a few weeks ago we were announcing the doors open at Takapuna, or that the build had started for BizDojo Ponsonby. But here we are today, again with an announcement of the Auckland variety!

On the weekends you might find any of our Auckland crew out at Sylvia Park, and soon you will see us there during the week too - with BizDojo Sylvia Park set to open in 2018 with room for a community of 300 people.

 

Other than increased proximity to Zara, Sylvia Park is a natural next step for BizDojo for a bunch of reasons - the biggest one being our ability to support even more of Auckland’s founders, entrepreneurs, startups and creative entrepreneurs in the communities that they call home.

“At the moment there are some challenges to getting around Auckland that come with a growing city. We are pretty excited about the ability Sylvia Park has to remove the drudgery of leaving your suburb for a big trek into the CBD to get what you need to do done. Less time sitting in traffic getting stressed, more time for people to move the dial economically in a setting that inspires them, with a community that backs them.” - Nick Shewring, BizDojo co-founder.

Suburban coworking projects like this, and our newly opened community in Takapuna, aim to remove the daily grind, allowing people to work and create near where they live. And that idea of proximity and access for us is a biggie.
 

Like so many organisations that support entrepreneurs, we have until recently had a central city focus, with many of our spaces in, or on the fringes of the CBD. This has provided a real sense of ease and access for those that live locally, but we have noticed the challenges it creates for those further afield - basically it's harder for those folks to access events we may be running, let alone day to day business support. And we miss out too by not having them as part of our communities.

Sylvia Park will put us in the heart of the Maungakiekie-Tāmaki ward, the second largest creator of GDP in Auckland, with an estimated 73,000 people as our new neighbours across suburbs like Mt Wellington, Onehunga and Penrose.

“This community we are setting out to build in Sylvia Park is about more than just providing coworking to Mt Wellington; for us we are looking at this as another link in the formation of a larger Auckland innovation corridor reaching from Albany to Mangere. It will make it easier for founders, entrepreneurs, and creators of value in the wider southern suburbs to access a supportive environment all framed around helping them and their ideas grow” - Jonah Merchant, BizDojo co-founder

Our new home in Sylvia Park is at No.1 Sylvia Park a new $80million office development, currently under construction as part of the Sylvia Park shopping complex.

“It’s a good location for us as the infrastructure and amenities that Kiwi Property have created and are continuing to develop around Sylvia Park are top notch” - BizDojo co-founder Jonah Merchant.
 


To be kept up to date with all things Sylvia Park pop your details in the form below, and we will be sure to keep you in the know.

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Quick facts
BizDojo Sylvia Park set to open in 2018
The collaborative coworking environment will be able to house 300 people
BizDojo Sylvia Park will be located at No.1 Sylvia Park, a Kiwi Properties development
BizDojo Sylvia Park will be just 20 minutes from the city, but also be a bridge to the wider southern Auckland Suburbs.

We're Issuing A Rally Cry To The Founder Community

Here at BizDojo we have long been about supporting our founders to succeed, today we are proud to announce a new initiative, designed to bring New Zealand together to back the founder community - Founders Central.

Over the years we have been in the unique position of working hands-on growing our own business, while sitting side by side within a community of startups and entrepreneurs. We have seen gaps in the kind of support that is out there for founders and we are keen to do something about that, but we are not interested in shuffling the deck-chairs. We want Founders Central to be truly helpful to our founders community and complementary to the other great things happening now across the NZ ecosystem.
— BizDojo Co-founder Jonah Merchant.

Our founder focussed initiative has been launched hot on the heels of the government’s announcement to commit $372.8 million towards business growth, and we believe New Zealand’s coworking and collaboration provider, BizDojo is in a good position to rally the private sector to support this growth.

supporting nz founders .jpg

Initial Founders Central activity is framed around discovery, experimentation and iteration - with a strong focus on data collection and founder-lead, targeted initiatives. Earlier in the year, we reached out to the founder community discovering 37% of founders wanted more appropriate resources, 20% called for increased openness and 12% of those surveyed also reported that it was confusing navigating the current landscape.

Feedback highlighted key themes of founder issues with mental wellness, and investment readiness which is where we have focussed our attention for the first Founders Central initiatives, working on a wellness program and BizDojo investors in residence - Greg Sitters and Ken Erskine.

We are also supporting ZeroPoint Ventures with their plan to help founders “build their business to the $1 million revenue mark within two years”.

Jonah and Nick’s vision for New Zealand is to have it populated by empowered founders who are also supported by the innovation ecosystem.

We know the need is there, but we cannot do this alone, so we are calling on the ecosystem to help us. With time we can get programs running on our own dime, and we are committed to doing that - but a collaborative approach will mean faster deployment which will be better for everyone.
— BizDojo Co-founder Nick Shewring

As a country, we encourage people to become their own bosses, to take on new challenges and to change the world around them. Our wish for Founders Central is that it will help founders on their journey and ensure they achieve the vision they’ve set for themselves.

Founders Central is essentially a rallying cry for our vision of healthy, productive founders who are able to work through the stresses of entrepreneurship and creativity and come out the other side with both a successful business but also a successful life.

If you would like to be involved in accelerating business growth in New Zealand by supporting the country’s community of creators, reach out via Founderscentral.com, we can’t wait to see what we can do together.

A Hard Path: Are We Failing Our Founders On Mental Health?

I didn’t see that much celebrated Dustin Moskovitz talk until very recently. You know the one where he talks about burn-out, work-life balance and the blog post he wrote to the same effect. Not because I wasn’t interested, I mean - I am always interested to hear tales of startup from other founders, people like me that have been there. But more because at the time that was happening, my life was really busy.

I was heads down in growth mode - we had a new director on board with us at BizDojo and Wellington was scaling. The business model was changing in Auckland, along with our relationship with our partners at GridAKL - ATEED, and Jonah (my co-founder) and I were heads down in strategy, fundraising for a new venture and frankly - trying to keep our shit in order as our team grew from 7 to 10, to 15 to where it is today at 40 across BizDojo and Colo.

BizDojo Welly Is Moving Into The Heart Of Tech

For three glorious years the BizDojo Wellington community has occupied 1,470 sundrenched square meters of a former printing factory, and it’s time to say goodbye.

2018 will see us occupying the current home of New Zealand tech giants, Xero, at 3 Market Lane by the Wellington waterfront.

This move will create a naturally occurring tech-hub, with our supercharged community and ColliderWgtn right right in the middle of our inspiring neighbours; Xero, Trademe, NZ Stock Exchange, Te Papa’s incubator, Mahuki and the NZ Film Commission.

While we’ve loved operating out of our Tory street digs the decision to move was a no brainer with so many of our residents working together to build the future - we’ve quickly reached capacity.

Jonah & Nick show their excitement for the new building.

Jonah & Nick show their excitement for the new building.

Xero will still be nearby as they consolidate their staff from various sites around Wellington under one roof on Taranaki Street. Founder of Xero Rod Drury says he’s very pleased his old digs will have such cool new owners.

“We're so happy our friends at BizDojo have taken over our old home. We've worked a lot with their team mentoring companies and the space has been the launch pad of much global innovation that we're sure will continue”.

BizDojo’s founders Nick and Jonah see this next step for BizDojo Wellington as having a massive benefit for the city’s innovative companies looking to collaborate and expand offshore.

We’re founders ourselves and we know that the path to growing game-changing ideas and businesses can be lonely, stressful and difficult. We are providing a collaborative and supportive environment for founders and entrepreneurs, which means better outcomes and more resilience for our business community.
— Nick Shewring
It is great that this is happening naturally in a city like Wellington, and speaks volumes that the local ecosystem is able to organically build a vibrant community with minimal intervention.
— Jonah Merchant

3 Market lane has the capacity for a coworking community of 450 residents and we can’t wait to see it full of founders, startups, entrepreneurs, creatives and small businesses doing awesome stuff.

Looking forward to seeing all your faces at our space-warming in November!