This post is the fifth 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 9 teams to profile half each fortnight, see here to meet all 9 of the R9 Accelerator teams in the first of this series.
Where is your idea at since we last talked to your team?
OneX (Previously Business Buddy) | We were working on a multi agency information delivery tool but have now narrowed down our approach. We’re now creating a tool that uses machine learning to process a query and then correctly routes it to the appropriate team to solve it. We’ve also changed our name!
coPlan | Our ideas have flowed since day one and we’ve challenged ourselves to dig into the concepts that will make the biggest difference. After talking to a large selection of our target industry we’ve definitely identified there are many problems in this sector that need solving. The upside is that this provides us with the opportunity to provide a number of solutions, many we’ve found are easily affordable. We want to help these guys to find the solutions that they require for success of their businesses.
Traject | We are just about to launch our new website! The website will allow people to sign up for our new MVP prototype that we’ve built. We’re supporting highly skilled individuals and helping the tech sector grow at the same time. At the moment we’re focused on two main streams of work: we have customers waiting for our website to go up. The other stream we’re working on is within government getting contracts sorted and finalised to move forward. We’re also working on getting a digital form up online for Immigration NZ.
Visard | Our core idea has stayed the same. We still want Immigration NZ to be the first agency in the world to create a mobile guided immigration process, but it has definitely evolved as we’ve taken on learning from the R9 process and mentorship.
Where have you had the most traction?
OneX | We’ve had the most traction with agencies. A key for us was getting everyone on the same page and communicating, so there is less back and forth and more action!
coPlan| We’re having the most traction in areas where regulations are adding time to the builder’s day without ability to recoup. These are expensive and time consuming areas, making the building owner feel enormous pressure.
Traject | The most traction we’ve had has been with migrants who have no other option for getting a permanent residency visa. Immigration has been able to see how our service is a must have as there is definitely a tech skills shortage. It also helps that our solution is not increasing workload for Immigration!
Visard | We’ve made our prototype and it’s now on the app store. We wanted to get as much information from potential customers as possible so we created a survey that is built into the app. This took a lot of resource, but we’re hoping it will provide very valuable customer stats before Demo Day.
How many pivots have you had?
OneX | Probably about 3 pivots, some bigger than others and some only lasted a week! But large enough to flip the full 360.
coPlan | Our pivots seems to be fairly regular, we’ve changed our prototype going from one meeting to the next! With that said we always test back to our original starting point and consider who else may have vested interests. This usually brings us back to prior concepts we had let go of. It is an ongoing process.
Traject | We pivoted and went down the skills assessment service route, which is great from a government perspective. But we’re still sticking with the original plan.
Visard | We’ve had quite a few minor pivots around our core idea, but have adapted solutions to suit these. No major pivots as such as our opportunity is pretty straightforward being a mobile app.
What is the largest hurdle you are facing right now?
OneX | Definitely feeling the time pressure. Getting everything done and done well, by Demo Day, especially given that we’ve just jumped on the track we’re on now!
coPlan | The largest hurdle feels like time but perhaps also focus. There are many solutions out there already and we’re working to tie all the solutions together. There are too many needs to feel like we can restrict the impact, but there is a hot topic on at the moment which may provide market direction.
Traject | When there is an idea that is slightly out of the norm there is a tendency to move away from it. We call this the government immune system. Which makes it difficult to figure out who to speak with to mitigate risk and adhere to the standards. We’re pressured by mentors to move fast and be innovative but this proves to be tricky in this situation.
Visard | Working on collecting enough user opinions. There are also many new government initiatives popping up that have the potential to influence our idea significantly. We’re now in the process of discovering how much these initiatives might influence our solution.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
OneX | Most looking forward to getting feedback from customers and further validating our idea. We have definitely validated that the need is there, but now we can validate that our creation fills this need for the customer.
coPlan | The potential and the people we get to work with! We’re really excited for the future possibilities. These are great ideas and great people working on making construction in New Zealand more valuable. We hope to be a positive change to keep moving mindsets in a positive direction.
Traject | We’re excited about how well things seem to be going for us. We’ve got a lot of support from the accelerator, mentors, Immigration NZ and MBIE! And outside of R9, most signs are pointing to go. It’s exciting to come up with something that solves a problem and has the potential to be a viable business at the end. Plus, it’s really cool that everyone else seems to be just as excited as we are!
Visard | That our MVP (the app) is on the market and after only 2 days we’ve had nearly 50 downloads and 5 times as many views! We spent a lot of energy building this, so it’s rewarding to see it out there and being used.
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.