Favourite Wellington cafe: Maranui Cafe
Most used app: Snapchat
Fintech startup to watch: Banqer
You have dinner with 3 famous people (living or dead). Go: Joss Whedon, Claudia Batten, Audrey Hepburn
Q: What’s your background?
A: I’ve been working on a number of accelerators and other innovation projects with Creative HQ for the past year—mainly focusing on corporate innovation. Before that I was an environmental lawyer, practicing up in Auckland. So a total change of pace.
Q: Why are you passionate about startups?
A: It’s such a good time to be a startup. We’re seeing an unprecedented rate of change across a number of fields. I love to see brave people taking advantage of this— jumping off the cliff as it were to carve their own path & create the future they want to live in.
Q: Why do you think that the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator is important?
A: New Zealand has a great history of being a leader in FinTech, before anyone started using that word. We were a world leader with our EFTPOS system, while the rest of the world was counting cash. Xero is another Wellington success story—they’ve done the impossible and made accounting sexy. The Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator is important as we want to stay out in front in the areas where we’re already strong, and we want to fix the gaps we haven’t filled yet. We’re going to take more New Zealand initiatives global, by bringing regulators, industry incumbents and disrupters together to collaborate.
Q: What’s the most surprising thing that’s happened leading up to the programme so far?
A: For the first time, we ran a market validation course before team selection with Jeff Mann and Natalie Robinson of the Validator. We had every faith that Jeff and Nat would do an awesome job, but they went above and beyond. It was a resounding success and a remarkable 6 of our 7 teams chosen having completed the course.
Q: What are you most excited about heading into the programme?
A: Though quite a few of our ventures are more early stage than in previous accelerators, the founders in this cohort are some of the most promising I’ve met. They’re all super bright, dedicated, conscientious people—I can’t wait to see them grow as entrepreneurs and leaders over their accelerator journey. They’re going to be a credit to our ecosystem.
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