Photo: Rodney Macfarlane
Co-Founders Nick Shewring and Jonah Merchant represented The BizDojo at New Zealand’s first Geeks on a Plane (#GOAP) event in Auckland.
Geeks on a Plane is an invite-only tour organized by 500 startups. It’s an opportunity for startups, investors, and executives to learn about the burgeoning technology markets worldwide. GOAP travels around the world to the most exciting startup scenes with the mission of uniting geeks and exploring cross-border opportunities.
The New Zealand Trade & Enterprise Commission brought the Geeks on a Plane group of investors, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and other U.S. tech, to NZ to travel around for a week. Nick and Jonah were invited to meet them in Auckland, along with other representatives and stakeholders in the local startup ecosystem.
Nick says Geeks on a Plane was a great networking and learning opportunity, and overall an exciting experience.
“One of the things we learned was that Kiwi-startups don’t think big enough when raising funds. These international investors are used to dealing with much bigger figures, and if what we’re asking for is barely a fraction of that, there’s a chance we won’t be taken seriously.” Nick says.
Jonah adds “The other insight we gained from speaking with the GOAP was that NZ entrepreneurs and businesses absolutely can be world leaders, but we need to do more to raise the base level of business knowledge, skills, and experience in our population of entrepreneurs. A mature startup ecosystem with the right support mechanisms in place, along with a better developed capital market for venture funding is key to achieving this. NZ is moving in the right direction, but more work needs to be done, and we need to do this cohesively as a country to compete.”
Ryan Lawler from TechCrunch, who was a part of the Geeks on a Plane group, wrote an interesting article earlier this week on his take on the #GOAP New Zealand tour. In addition to difficulties in raising funds, Lawler points out other pitfalls that are common to Kiwi entrepreneurs. Many are due to cultural and resource differences between NZ and the States, such as smaller population and a tendency to settle for moderate success. Read the article here.