Mentoring at Tauranga Startup Weekend

Startup weekends are a great way to get a taste of developing a good idea into a realistic proposal, and Catalyst Ltd director Malcolm Garnham was asked to act as a mentor at the recent Tauranga Startup Weekend.

Helping companies to grow from innovation and research and development is one of our specialties here at Catalyst Ltd, so the Startup Weekend was a great fit for us.

“I was there to guide them through the process of understanding their customer’s needs, going out and validating those and working to come up with something they could sensibly pitch to investors,” Malcolm says.

The process is the most important thing. “The idea they start with on Friday night will not be what they pitch on Sunday…You want people to be passionate about their idea or concept but they also have to be open to working with a team and changing their thinking as they go. It’s about hearing what customers or mentors are saying and adapting.”

The initial three steps for groups are:

  • Identifying a problem in the real world that needs fixing
  • Identifying who their customer segments are
  • Identifying what they can offer people that is different and worth paying attention to.

“One of the key things you are judged on is what you executed over the weekend. The ultimate test is to have customers. Just 58 hours later some teams had a website up and people said yes, they would pay for it.”

A great example of a successful idea that has become a reality is Seespray. Catalyst Ltd’s Ben Canaguier was involved in the Seespray group during the 2014 Tauranga Startup Weekend.

Seespray is an online platform that simplifies spray management and notifications for agrichemical applicators. Not only did the group take out first place, but Seespray is now up and running as a company and has attracted investors.

If you have the opportunity to participate in a Startup Weekend go for it, they are very well organised and you will learn a lot!

If you’ve got a great idea and need help finding funding, developing it and shaping it into a reality, we’d love to help you. Please get in touch with Malcolm

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