R9 Accelerator – Week 5 & 6 Insights from our NZ Entrepreneurs & Government Innovators

This post is the fourth in our fortnightly series documenting the successes, challenges and overall progress of the NZ entrepreneurs and govt innovators currently working on government/business interaction opportunities as part of the R9 Accelerator, powered by Better for Business and based out of Creative HQ. Each post alternates between the 10 teams to profile 5 each fortnight, see here to meet all 10 of the R9 Accelerator teams in the first of this series.

Where is your idea at since we last talked to your team?

Quicker KiwisWe’ve had very positive conversations with key stakeholders. Our idea has stayed more or less the same but we’ve strengthened the focus and refined the idea. We’ve had more opportunities arise from this process for MVP buy in at later stages or as we scale.

CoHelix | After weeks of problem discovery interviews and multiple bean bag idea sessions, we have reached the stage of starting to prototype potential solutions and test them on our early adopters. We’ve also finally found our focus and it’s on the employment industry!

Tender Advantage | Our idea has stayed the same but we’re further along in the process and have a more focussed approach. We have mapped out the grand vision in our solution space, creating a road map for the things we can create MVP’s from. We are determining what this means for our customers and stakeholders and how we actually measure delivering value, so that we can preempt financing and lock in funding.

MiBizWe are about to start a pilot programme with migrant business owners tapping into specific areas of advice that they need to further their businesses.

2Shakes | We’re still tailoring interactions with government to suit business. We’ve moved from our initial focus on the farming industry to book keepers with other professional intermediaries down the line. We now have a solution fit and a paper based MVP that we’re still developing. We’ve had great feedback from the book keepers we’ve spoken with and lots of encouragement and support from agencies. We’re interested in any interaction with the Government which could be improved to benefit the individual business. Please tell us about your experiences here.

r9 accelerator team 2shakes

Where have you had the most traction?

Quicker KiwisEating the most chicken wings (5.5 plates scoffed) to date out of all the R9 teams! On a more serious note, we’ve had the most traction around our sponsor stakeholders, end users and in our ability to be blue sky about what we’re proposing. We’ve had lots of acknowledgment and people wanting to participate which has been awesome!

CoHelix | We’ve had the most traction speaking with our customers. They have been open, welcoming and so helpful which really makes our job that much easier. We’ve interviewed a decent amount so it’s becoming easier to spot trends and build on them.

Tender AdvantageWith people who believe that what we do will help shift the market. We’ve had the most traction with promoters of our product.

MiBizWe’ve learnt the most from customers, but were encouraged by government agencies thinking that MiBiz is a relevant to pursue. When the government is getting behind your idea it’s easier to articulate a meaningful pitch to the customer.

2Shakes | Our traction has been widespread across different areas, but we’ve had the most traction with agencies, with agency staff looking for ways to support us. Our MVP and customer interviews have also been going very well; we’ve done at least 16 hours of interviewing, with 80% or more of our customers happy to talk to us! Very encouraging results!


How many pivots have you had?

Quicker KiwisWe’ve had one or two really big pivots, but as our understanding of our problem has changed and parts of the bigger picture have become clearer we can see the potential for our MVPs to generate income for businesses. We can see the longevity of the project and it’s very doable, so we’re focusing on doing the work to lay the foundations to create the right ecosystem.

CoHelix | We’ve had about a million. It’s been a pivot dance for us. Our biggest pivot was when we started out by looking at the problem from a business’ perspective, then moving from that to the employment industry. We’ve also had lots of smaller but sensical pivots along the way as well.

Tender AdvantageWe haven’t really pivoted much, we’re more taking on board what people have said to expand our solution and broaden our reach.

MiBizWe’ve had 3 or 4 tact changes but not full 180 pivots, more like 45 degree pivots. Our problem wasn’t a concrete idea to start with so it has definitely changed and been modified since we started.

2Shakes | We’ve had 5 big pivots and lots of micro pivots. The main pivot was finding that our initial idea had already been done so we had to switch tactics and find a new idea. We had done so much work already on our first idea so to switch tacts was very hard for us.

cohelix r9 accelerator team government innovation

What is the largest hurdle you are facing right now?

Quicker Kiwis | The largest hurdle for us at the moment is the workload and finding the time to do everything. There is so much to do! Another hurdle for us is not being able to get our customers to sign up quick enough and we need them in order to do more work validating our market.

CoHelixWe’re halfway through the programme and realising time is slipping away!

Tender Advantage | Understanding the critical outcomes that stakeholders want to see, working backwards from there and figuring out how to deliver that in 6 weeks. We still haven’t determined what our product means to our customers. We’re working on how we measure and deliver on that. How we meet the needs of our many different stakeholders.

MiBizWe’re racing against the clock, we have lots of big things to achieve between now and demo day. It’s also identifying what success looks like for our migrant business owners. So much rides on what success looks like for our customers and our team. The key component of that is how we show value in what we’re doing, and it’s all in proving that migrant business owners are succeeding.

2Shakes | Our largest hurdle is finding funding post R9 demo day. Who we get investment from will affect what product we will be able to build. That and finding a hacker for our team, who can build our product. The last hurdle is time, so we’re very focussed on what we can best achieve with the next few weeks.


What are you most excited about at the moment?

Quicker Kiwis | We’re excited about the weekend; the looming chicken eating challenge and, of course, we’re excited about going up to Auckland to talk to our stakeholders!

CoHelix | Our team!

Tender Advantage | If we can get through the hurdles now, build our network up with government and get the attention of the people that we need, it feels like our idea has huge potential. We’re excited by the potential to make a splash and change society’s marketplace with better socioeconomic outcomes. Creating stronger social enterprises, more of them, and encouraging the engagement with robust business ecosystem driven by government procurement.

MiBizWe’re excited about going along to 7×7. We’re also excited about running our second round of customer discovery interviews with our new and improved scripts tailored from the learning experiences over past few weeks. Glenn and Amanda have been really great mentors, providing us with lots of useful information.

We would also like to do a shout out about our meetup for all of you interested migrant business owners/startups. For more info call Amy on 027 289 2444.

2Shakes | We’re most excited about the level of support shown to us by agencies and that were able to work alongside them. We can see real long term potential in our idea, have had stats number breakthroughs and are encouraged by the potential savings for New Zealand.

r9 accelerator

This post is part of the R9 Accelerator’s fortnightly update. Sign up here for programme insights from Director Shawn O’Keefe, information on the teams and their progress, the latest press and relevant #govtech resources.