Quick get away while I still can — GBU 8

A quick visit to Sydney for a week to celebrate my 21st and catch up with friends before life gets unmanageably hectic — heres what I got up to.

Overview,

With the majority of my 21st birthday event planned and managed by Naomi, there was a few last operational things to tick off before the festivities began. We checked into our Meriton suite on before suiting up, jumping into a quick photo shoot, followed by some pre-drinks and grabbing a bite at the classy George St Maccas.

The event was a combined party to celebrate three seperate birthday boys — Aidan, Andrew and I, who were all turning 21 in August. The first 30 minutes of a party is always an awkward phase of the night, and our event was no different.

After we managed to be late to our own birthday party, fast forwarding through the night — Matt got too drunk, we got destroyed in speeches and the night ran smooth as silk. Full credit to my beautiful girlfriend Naomi for running a great celebratory event and delivering the best speech of the night.

Additionally to the birthday festivities — I had a great time catching up with friends and spending time with family and Naomi. We even managed to squeeze in a short get away to Sydney’s Northern Beaches, staying the night in a Bilgola B&B, lunch at The Newport, followed by a quick visit to Palm Beach.

A trip that I feel has made me miss Sydney more than ever — a great lifestyle city with the perfect balance of work and play. It’s also not cold all the time… I hope to return to sooner rather than later.

Ask

  • No ask this week!

Good

  • Celebrating 21st
  • Spending time with friends, family and Naomi

Bad

  • Having to leave Sydney (and Naomi 😪)
  • Amount of work I wasn’t able to complete while on holiday

Ugly

  • How thrashed Matt got before even halfway through the party

Pics of the week

. . .

As always, appreciate your thoughts, comments & ideas!

Cheers,
Nick

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Now the real work begins – GBU 7

From the world of negotiating with sneakerheads to now closing deals with investors — here’s the rundown of this week’s happenings.

Overview,

Well, what can I say… Not entirely sure how we managed it, but we pulled it off — we convinced investors into believing in our dream. It’s a true testimony to all the hard work we’ve done thus far, the countless trips to Te Puke in the hopes of understanding our customers, the hours of learning lean startup ideology, and this is all before mentioning the enormous scale of Matthew’s work in researching and planning for this exact moment.

It wasn’t all as seamless as we had hoped however. We’ve made micro pivots at least 5 times now and even had nights of complete doubt in our companies success (including one night where we completely disproved the viability our company, until realising we had made a mathematical error). That being said, there was definitely a factor of luck that played its part in where we are now, my employment at Flux and the entire situation of our seed funding, just to name the most obvious. However, it’s said you make your own luck — we put ourselves in the best possible position, not the easiest, and now we’re seeing the fruits (excuse the pun).

This Thursday we sent ourselves our first pay check. Although our weekly wage is small (only covering enough to cover the bare essentials), it was an odd feeling transferring money from the business account to our personal accounts. I’m not sure what it was, but Matthew and I both felt it — a sense of accomplishment with a touch of stress knowing what it all meant and the sizeable amount of work to come. We weren’t messing around anymore, we’re playing with money that isn’t our own and accountable for delivering on our promises.

So let’s just quickly recap how this all happened:
26th June — First meeting with Alistair
29th June — 30-minute discussion with Alistair and Coen at Flux Demo Day event
5th July — Meeting with Coen (Alistair away in China) — The first indication of their intent to invest
21st July — Meeting with Alistair and Coen — Solidifies intention to invest
23rd July — Terms finalised
24th July — Money transferred into our business account
27th July — First pay check sent out to Matt and me

It took just under a month for money to enter our bank accounts — a process that’s likely taken less time than our sales cycle!

 

With the to-do list stacked with tasks (a few which are already over-due), at least I can check ‘weekly update’ off.

Ask

  • Any UX and front-end developers out there? Shoot me an email (nick@nickwoon.com)
  • Intro’s to vineyard owners and members of the grape industry

Good

  • Funding locked and loaded
  • Awesome meetings with kiwifruit orchard managers in Te Puke early in the week (including DMS Progrowers who we’ve been attempting to reach since February
  • Flux Bus Tour event, a final thank you and celebration of our Flux companies, mentors and business partners

Bad

  • How goddamn cold it is
  • The lack of food in the pantry

Ugly

  • No ugly this week!

Pics of the week:

“Ask for money, get advice. Ask for advice, get money twice” – GBU 6

Hi there,

Thank’s everyone for your ongoing support and feedback this past week!

Flux D-Day, Angel investors show interest in Acuris, and my final days with the Flux Accelerator Programme — here is what’s been going on these past few weeks.

It’s currently 6:30am and I really should try to fix my sleeping routine, but after an hour of tossing and turning in bed, I thought “what the heck”. Sorry in advance for the inevitable spelling and grammar issues.

Overview,

It was finally upon us — 5 months of work, sweat and tears, to reach the night we’ve been all waiting for, Flux Demo Day. Even on the morning of, you could see how frantically the Flux founders were scrambling around to getting the last pieces in place. Banners, displays and booths were of priority, but nothing was more important than the pitches. I don’t blame them… Pitching to a room of a few hundred investors is no mean feat, given the sink or swim nature of the start up world.

A dreadfully long day of setup at the MOTAT air hanger, eventually turned into an awesome night of networking, free booze and perfectly executed pitches, the atmosphere was unlike anything I had ever seen before and it was surprising how easy going and relaxing the entire event was, given the stakes.

All in all, a night surrounded by planes, founders and rich people — a combination that worked remarkably well, and an event worth every single cold morning to work.

 

Here’s where I get to be even more excited. So recently we’ve been in talks with an angel investor called Alistair. For a bit of context — Alistair is the accountant and lead investor of Matt’s (my business partners) dad’s own company. We reached out to Alistair to meet and discuss the viability of our business and get an angel investors perspective. The meeting went great and we left with an abundance of tips and a list questions we needed to answer.

During the meeting, I made a point to ask him if he was going to the Flux Demo Day event, which he was not so I mentioned I should be able to get him on the invite list. On the night, Matt and I had a great chat with him and an associate of his named Coen. Coen showed an unanticipated amount of interest, and I felt on fire as we were able to answer almost every question he threw at us. It seems as though Alistair has mentioned us to Coen, and the possibility of investing in the company. An investor looking to put money down within one meeting? Unheard of, but just like Pitbull says in his 2012 hit ‘Feel This Moment’ featuring Christina Aguilera… well just read the title of this post…

 

As the weight of Demo Day was finally off the shoulders of everyone at Flux — my final week has allowed me to reflect on what a ride working for a company such as Flux has truly been.

I’ve thought a lot about where I would even be right now, if not for Flux. The simple answer — absolutely nowhere… It’s odd to think how coincidental the whole experience has been, 6 months ago I didn’t even really know a start-up was, and now having sat in the passenger seats of six separate start-up companies has grown my knowledge and been directly applicable to my own business. The lessons I’ve learnt from second-hand experience is priceless and it’s something you can’t learn from doing anything else but being intimate with the entire process. It’s true what they say — nothing beats experience.

Saying I’m grateful for the ride would be an understatement, I owe everything I know now around start-ups, investing, legals and business sense to Mark, Clinton and the rest of the Flux team and 2017 cohort. The genuine interest in my progress and sense of support is what made Flux such an amazing workplace and highlights the culture, I want to eventually see implemented as Acuris expands.

Ask

No ask this week 😀

Good

  • Every single pitch was pitch perfect
  • Potential funding for Acuris
  • Got tickets to The Weeknd in December

Bad

  • Having to leave Flux
  • The weather…

Ugly

  • No more table tennis

Pics of the week

 

 

. . .

As always, appreciate your thoughts, comments & ideas!

Cheers,
Nick

 

 

 

 

Quick Update About Charged

So unfortunately, I’ve decided to part ways with Charged Limited. Although I’ve enjoyed working on the prototype with Zac and Matthew — I feel it’s best for me to focus solely on Acuris Systems and ensuring the success, progress and growth of the business.

I guess at the end of the day, I moved to Auckland for one reason — to develop and grow Acuris into a successful start-up, and that is where my focus needs to be right now.

Moving forward, Matt and I have agreed it’s best to continue our work on Acuris — which in the past months we’ve let sit on the back-burner.

Thanks to Zac for bringing us on, it’s been a great ride (pun intended). All the best with Charged and hope to work with you again sometime in the future.

– Nick

 

 

Fight Night – GBU 5

Hi there,

Thank’s everyone for your ongoing support and feedback this past week!

Overview

Massive shout out to Rory from vidapp.com for an awesome time at UFC Fight Night 110, Auckland. Funk Roberts an MMA trainer that follows the fighters in preparation for competitions, also happens to be a Vidapp client and managed to hook Rory up with a handful of tickets (in amazing seats I might add). First ever UFC event I’ve been too and I can’t rate the atmosphere enough. At times during the fight, the crowd was eerily quiet – you could even hear the fighters coaches at times barking instructions and adjustments. Already looking forward to their next event down under!

Moving along, we’ve managed to get some great feedback from Baygold on the topics I covered about Acuris’ value proposition, and after having a brief chat with Clinton (Flux Acceleration Manager) it seems we are on the right track. Following Clint’s helpful advice, I’ve arranged a time on Friday for an in-person catchup with the Baygold management team to delve deeper into their business’s core problems, what solution we can provide and more importantly the benefits they can gain – as soon as we understand those three points we are ready to move onto planning our companies roadmap followed by our capital raising strategy.

Late in the week I also received an unexpected email from Richardo Remote Data Systems. From what I can tell, they’re a cloud-based software as a service company that provide the horticulture industry with productivity and management applications. To provide their service they need data points which they’re currently sourcing from weather stations and manual user entry – it seem’s they’re particularly interested in our automated approach to gathering data. We’ll be meeting them on Friday afternoon before our catch up with Baygold seeing as we’re all the way down there anyway. It’s a strategic avenue I’m keen on exploring.

Good

  • Met up with old family friends and caught the Crusaders v British & Irish Lions game on TV
  • Watching 5 finishes from 6 fights

Bad

  • Spending too much money on food (Need to start using Jude to track expenses)
  • With only 3 weeks until Demo Day – the workload at Flux is starting to steadily pick up

Ugly

  • Getting destroyed in table tennis

Pics of the week

. . .

As always, appreciate your thoughts, comments & ideas!

Cheers,
Nick

Kiwi in motion – GBU 4

Hi there,

Thanks to everyone for your ongoing support and feedback this past week!

Overview

With harvest season in the process of wrapping up, I’ve managed to finally get hold of some kiwifruit growers. My goal is that we begin the fundraising process within the next 2 months and with this in mind, I need to begin to gather all the information necessary to de-risk the company and better position ourselves for investment.

The basis of a strong pitch is a strong value proposition — as convincing investors will hinge heavily on how we answer the questions: “what value does this system bring to growers? / why will growers pay for this system?”. We need to convey our quantifiable value — in order to do this we need numbers and assisting us on this is Baygold, who have generously allowed us access to their businesses numbers and reports. What I’ve been focusing on this week is preparing the questions necessary to get a detailed picture of not only where we provide value but also how much value we bring to growers. The quality of these questions will be key to the quality of the answers I get back.

Here are my current assumptions:

Value proposition:

By optimising kiwifruit growing processes and management, our system will reduce cost and enhance the revenue of kiwifruit growing businesses. (note: the scope of our value extends to the business as a whole and is not limited to just the growing process)

The value-drivers we believe our system will provide:

  • Gains in profitability (superior fruit optimisation will enable growers to maximise their Taste Zespri Grade (TZG) — ultimately increasing their taste payments)
  • Gains in productivity (our system will enable the maximisation of efficiency and effectiveness of growing and business processes)
  • Salary or compensation savings (automated system will substitute human labour)
  • Future proof (technology can be retrained or upgraded, does not retire and is scalable when expansion occurs)
  • Piece of mind (constant fruit monitoring ensures issues in fruit and leaf health are detected early. Additionally, accurate fruit information allows accurate analytics of fruit growth, health and yield — No nasty surprises come harvest/post-harvest.)

Eager to hear what growers think is both valid and invalid about my assumptions — which in turn, will allow me to begin the iteration process. Until then it’s a waiting game.

Ask

  • Nothing to ask for this week

Good

  • Refocused on Acuris Systems
  • Hearing back from kiwifruit growers
  • Electric skateboard motors arrived in time
  • Matt made it to France safely
  • Fibre internet finally available at our location

Bad

  • Quiet and lonely house after work with Matt now overseas
  • Spending too much money on food

Ugly

  • Matt didn’t take the batteries out of the electric skateboard, which resulted in the board being taken off the plane… Huge nightmare to sort out — in the end, we were able to get a friend who luckily was also travelling to France to take the board with him

Next Steps

  • Form pitch and investor hitlist

Pic of the week/s

No new pics this week so we’ll have to do some throwbacks

Let’s Catch Up – GBU 3

Hi there,

Thanks to everyone for your ongoing support and feedback these past few weeks!

Overview

Long time no speak (2 weeks to be exact). Been pretty lazy with these updates in the past few weeks so a lot to cover — let’s get straight into it.

Honestly, can’t give enough props to Matthew for his progress building the electronic skateboard. With only a week before he goes to showcase Charged at the Futur en Seine convention in Paris— we’ve been tracking perfectly with only a few minor hiccups. That being said we are eagerly waiting on the shipment of our in-hub motors to arrive which could prove disastrous if they don’t arrive in time…

Work at Flux has been very exciting too, with a bunch of high calibre speakers coming in to chat with us and the teams. Bill Reichert is a notable mention — He and Guy Kawasaki (an early Apple hire) founded Garage Ventures, a seed and early-stage venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. Bill was a great story teller and covered all things investment and pitching. I think of all the perks — what’s most rewarding about working at Flux is listening in on our guest speaker’s talks and uncovering gold nuggets of insights that aren’t accessible anywhere else.

Ask

  • Nothing to ask for this week

Good

  • Sneaked a weekend back to Sydney to catch up with family, friends and Naomi
  • Better than expected time management on the electric skateboard (which for the moment seems to work)
  • Further clarity on the company vision of Charged (to be explained later)
  • Doing great work with Vidapp, one of our Flux companies. Check out their product at http://www.vidapp.com

Bad

  • Out of stock motors may cost us valuable time and money
  • Cash flow issues as always

Ugly

  • My absolute killer headache last Friday night
  • Matt’s mug

Next Steps

  • Follow up with USPS on our motors

Pic of the week/s

. . .

As always, appreciate your thoughts, comments & ideas!

Cheers,
Nick

Fully Charged – GBU 2

Overview

Overall great progress on Charged, we’re starting to get some company structure in operation. In terms of how we’re tracking – the amount of work that needs to be handled will start ramping up soon, so absolutely vital how we prioritise what’s important and manage the workload. Matt’s continuing great work on the circuit board designs and to his enjoyment, we’re almost at the stage where we can start ordering him the components to begin building.

Earlier this week – an employee from Actemium, a subsidiary of the Vinci Energies Group reached out to me this week regarding my application of Acuris Systems into the Paris VivaTech conference. For some context, the French Embassy in New Zealand is looking to sponsor 8 startups with flights and tickets to VivaTech, Paris in mid-June. I applied Acuris with our automated orchard management solution which apparently caught their attention and is interested to know if we can apply our tech to the energy industry. Will be interesting to see what they have in the pipeline for us, wouldn’t mind a trip to Paris so fingers crossed.

Another short week so not too much more has happened, looking forward to doing it all again!

Ask

  • If anyone can link me up with product designers I would love to chat, contact me on nick@ridecharged.com

Good

  • Starting to get right in the thick of all things Charged. Matt’s getting more excited than a kid on the drive to Disneyland
  • Exciting time at work (Flux) – Starting to see awesome product from the companies, with only 9 weeks to go before demo day
  • Awesome kit from rebrand of The Icehouse (Flux parent company)

Bad

  • Feel like I need to get out of the house more

Ugly

  • No ugly this week

Next Steps

  • Harass kiwifruit growers until they get back to me

Pics of the week

. . .

As always, appreciate your thoughts, comments & ideas!

Cheers,
Nick