It’s International Women’s Day, so what better occasion to celebrate some of the awesome wāhine that are part of the New Zealand Startup Ecosystem.
We caught up with Invsta founder and CEO Rachel Strevens, Banqer co-founder Kendall Flutey and Sharesies co-founders Brooke Roberts and Sonya Williams to celebrate the growth of the NZ FinTech ecosystem, talk goal-setting and influencers.
For those not so familiar with these names, here’s a quick rundown:
Invsta provides tools to diversify investment portfolios, including cryptocurrencies.
Banqer sits at the cross-section of FinTech and EdTech (finance and education) and provides the tools to educate Kiwi kids on crucial financial life skills.
And Sharesies has been opening the investment market, inspiring people to invest and making it easy for them to do so (with as little as $5).
What makes you excited about the future of the NZ FinTech sector? Any companies or technologies you’re keeping an eye on?
Rachel: I’m excited by how much the FinTech sector in NZ has really taken off in recent years. There seems to have been an explosion of activity, with many great examples of companies coming through and doing amazing things both locally within NZ but also on a global scale. I’m particularly excited to see how NZ will adapt to and adopt digital financial advice (robo-advice), as this has the potential to help more Kiwis access financial advice which will be hugely beneficial. I’m also really excited to see the innovations that are coming from blockchain technology and the impact that these will have on financial services.
Kendall: I think it’s both the pace and the potential impact that excites me about FinTech in New Zealand. We’re almost the perfect market to be trying new things – it’s realistic to scale and reach 50% of the market in your first years of trading. That’s pretty exciting. And at the same time, you’re treading in waters that plays a vital role in everyone’s life; money. So when you can leverage that to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives that’s exciting.
Brooke & Sonya: There’s so much more opportunity for finance and technology to come together to really help Kiwis be financially empowered. By combining these two worlds we’re attempting to help solve this at scale. On the latest tech, it doesn’t cost us much more to serve 100,000 customers with $1 to invest, as it does to serve one customer with $100,000 to invest. We’re really excited about our plans in this space. We also love seeing the fintech ecosystem growing around us too—with startups like Hnry, Jude, Choice just to name a few.
You’ve all been ticking off some pretty big achievements lately:
Invsta’s exploration into new markets and the awesome updates within the web app itself.
Banqer’s continued growth in the education system in both Australia and New Zealand – as well as Kendall recently winning Young New Zealander of the Year!
And Sharesies has had over $39 million invested, 300,000 deposits made, and over half a million NZD paid in dividends in under 2 years.
So how do you set goals for yourselves and your companies?
Rachel: I’m a pretty ambitious person, with a personal long-term vision of where I want to be. So goal setting for me revolves around keeping that long-term vision in mind and setting goals that are continually moving me towards that vision.
Kendall: I guess publically it does look like we’ve been having a pretty good run of late – but it’s worth pointing out that we get the ups with the downs. It’s certainly not always smooth sailing so effective planning is crucial; in both personal and professional life. Having a good strategy and an ability to execute on it is key, and having good people around you to both help with that planning, and to hold you accountable to that is also vital. When I think about Banqer, our goals need to incorporate both profit and purpose, making things a bit trickier; but this also means that we exercise more creative thinking in order to achieve what we want.
Brooke & Sonya: Being a growth company, with heaps of opportunities ahead of us, we need to be really focused on how we spend our time to make sure we are really helping create the most financially empowered generation. All of Sharesies gets together every year for a day to set the Sharesies strategy. From this, we break down what we need to achieve into quarterly objectives and key results (OKR’s). We then use Trello to break down the tasks we each need to do to achieve our objectives and measure the results.
Who is a/the person who has influenced you in your life (not your family) and why?
Rachel: There are a couple of really strong NZ female leaders who I’ve always looked up to – Theresa Gattung as the first woman to lead a publicly listed NZ company and Helen Clark for her role as Prime Minister and subsequent positions with the U.N. These are two people who really stand out for me as early influences, having broken through various barriers to achieve the things they have, and in doing so they’ve helped to show that anything is possible if you set yourself to it.
Kendall: I don’t have just one or two people who have influenced me from afar, instead, I feel like most people I meet at different stages of life have some form of influence. The qualities in the teachers I liked at school, the qualities in those I didn’t… Coaches, flatmates, friends, founders, those further afield. I’m more of a believer that everyone around you can teach you something, it’s how you interpret and recognise those lessons that is the key.
Sonya: Not one person springs to mind. There’s the saying that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and I would say that’s probably the biggest influence for me and something that is always changing throughout my life. In starting Sharesies, it has been great to be surrounded by amazing co-founders, the growing Sharesies team and also the amazing people who have been willing to share their advice with us along the way.
Brooke: I find it hard to narrow down to a person as there are so many amazing people who have influenced my life. Riffing off what Sonya said around the ‘5 people’, I recently became a mum so now I have a group of new parents around me who have been super supportive as we navigate ‘how to parent’.