I’m most curious about new and emerging technologies and how and where they can have most impact. I am focussing my efforts in the security, IoT and earth observation data sectors and am working with remote sensing, non-invasive measurement, machine learning, Artificial Intelligence and data analytics to create business value which will change the status quo.
What are the elements of starting up a business that get you most excited?
For me it's the exploration and learning you do before you actually start a business that is most addictive. I love the initial phase when everything is full of possibility and potential and you can think really big. But it's an amazing feeling when you land on an idea which actually has legs as a business and all the due diligence, research and validation shows that you're onto something and you get to craft a plan to introduce your 'baby' to the world. That's when adrenaline kicks in. And boy, do you need the energy kick! I'm yet to meet anyone who has started a business who said it was easy, took no effort, everything went to plan and that they slept like a baby from day 1. Never. It’s always a ride.
What are the most important things that entrepreneurs should know?
You have to be comfortable with uncertainty. You need to be prepared to learn, change and grow and be pushed outside of your comfort zone. You need to love what you're doing. You need to be self-motivated. You need to remember that you, as a founder, may not be the right person to grow your company in the future. You can't be brilliant at everything so find the right people to balance you. When you feel you have a mountain to climb, just focus on taking small steps every day and you will get there. It is vital to be positive and to celebrate each step – the highs, the lows, the in-betweens, the challenges, the breakthroughs – every experience is an achievement. Be curious. Always show up. Be tenacious. And what I consider most important – do it all with grace.
What ideas would you like to see from Tauranga's Startup Weekend participants?
Really well validated ones. I don't want to see a fantastic team with an amazing, but homeless widget. I’d be thrilled to see a solution to a significant social problem or one that will improve quality of life for people, but we have to be realistic – the teams only have 54hrs! For Start Up Weekend, I think that the best ideas to work on are the ones which almost seem too simple. Recently I was working with a group of primary school children who thought about all the annoying things they encounter every day at home and at school - so many ideas! We ended up with some fantastic solutions. It was awesome!
What’s the best way for participants to capture your interest?
It's all about the people. I need to believe in them and believe that they can deliver, no matter what the business is. I want to feel that they’re passionate, engaged and be convinced of their capability. I’ll stay interested if they can also very clearly articulate what the problem is they’re addressing and how they’ve devised a solution that people will want and will buy.
Get feedback from those who have been before!
Jump in on 11-13 August and get your ticket Tauranga Startup Weekend here