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Debtor Daddy

Debtor Daddy

debtordaddy_logo_250x66Debtor Daddy provides credit control as a service, and is one of a very few companies for which you can truly say – switch on their service, and the money will start rolling in. They’re currently based in the Lightning Lab Christchurch accelerator programme.

Mark this date in your diary: 5 November 2015 – Lightning Lab Christchurch Demo Day, Jack Mann Auditorium, University of Canterbury. If you’re an eligible person, that’s where you’ll get to see Debtor Daddy and nine other new companies pitch for investment.  More on this below.

If you’re a business owner, Debtor Daddy integrates with your cloud-based accounting system (Xero, MYOB, or Intuit), trawling through your accounts receivable (debtors), identifying who’s late in paying, and then sends a series of automated reminders to pay, and can ultimately refer recalcitrant debtors to collection agencies. They even provide an optional service to automatically have a real person phone up your debtors and encourage them to pay.  This improves cash flow and also frees up a significant amount of time and mental energy by automating and outsourcing  a job that nobody enjoys. Debtor Daddy claims that debtors reduce on average by 43% after 30 days of use, whilst freeing up two to eight hours per week for business owners. They’re the top ranking add-on in the Xero Marketplace debtor tracking category, and the reviews are truly stellar.

One of the things I really like about this business is that it’s antifragile – turbulent economic conditions make Debtor Daddy even more valuable, and a potential anticyclical hedge investment.

They already have over 800 customers, the vast majority of them outside New Zealand in 20+ other countries, and are growing mostly organically an average of 20% per month. There’s clearly a massive opportunity to greatly accelerate this growth, which is why they’re in the Lab.

mark-250x250matt-250x250Cofounders Matt McFedries and Mark Haussmann have extensive startup experience and finance industry experience.  This the third company Matt has founded, and Mark has been his right-hand dev straight  through.  They’re a tight team, and have a strong understanding that especially for this business, UX/UI is critical, both for the user and the debtors from whom they’re trying to collect.  These guys are very focussed on metrics, and I had a great conversation about their Pirate Metrics, so good in fact that I asked them to present their dashboard as a case study for the rest of the Lab participants when I was in Christchurch recently giving a presentation on startup metrics.

They want to get the word out about the product. They offer a 30-day free trial (no credit card info required), and after that, NZ Startup of the Week subscribers can get a further 50% discount of their first three months by using the discount code SOTW. They’re also giving away a practical free e-book on growing your business, not your debt.

They’re also looking for a Rails dev, if you’re interested, apply here.

And of course, they’ll be raising money on Demo Day, 5 November 2015, along with the nine other companies at Lightning Lab Christchurch.  I’m hoping as many investors as possible reading this blog will come down to Christchurch that day.  If you don’t have an invite yet, and you’re an eligible person or eligible investor, please contact Michelle Panzer at the Lab directly to request an invitation.

Christchurch has reached an important inflection point, just in the last few months. There are now more cranes than bulldozers, more concrete mixers than dump trucks. I’ve compared the CBD to a once-beautiful tree that’s been hard pruned – it’s a shadow of its former self, but you can see the new growth sprouting up, and it’s clear that what Christchurch is becoming will be even more impressive than what it was. Rather than the backward looking “more English than England”, I’m hoping that it can become the most connected, collaborative, creative city in the world. Young people and immigrants are playing a large part in driving the agenda, and especially in the Lab, the results are stunning.

So please do your bit, and come down and see the results of Lightning Lab on Demo Day.  We’ll see you there.




logo_square_300If you’re a guy and anything like me, you hate shopping for clothes, and would do almost anything to avoid it. And yet, we all need clothes, and most of us would prefer to look good and not like a dork, at least some of the time. Wouldn’t it be great if we could access a free online fashion consultant who could help us make clothing buying decisions from the comfort of our own screen?

Meet Wearit, the Auckland-based startup that lets guys buy without shopping, and girls shop without buying. It’s an online social platform that helps guys shop for clothes, by getting girls to recommend them. Girls pick their favourite guys to dress on the platform. With each outfit recommendation, girls earn points, become stylists and are rewarded with clothing vouchers. Guys receive personal outfit recommendations in their inbox and can purchase the outfit and clothes through the Wearit app.

I know, I know, it sounds a bit politically incorrect in that it reinforces gender role stereotypes, and exploits free female labour for the benefit of males.  But plenty of people of both sexes seem to eager to voluntarily opt-in, and I actually found it really useful for my particular cis-hetero use case, which is a big market segment.

Liam Houlahan and Kirsten StevensFounder Liam Houlahan and cofounder Kirsten Stevens went through Lightning Lab Auckland earlier this year, and managed to build up the business from an idea into a community of over 6,000 users, mainly in New Zealand, but they do have a smattering of overseas customers. They monetise by clipping the ticket on clothing sales performed through the site.  And when I used the service, the clothing article I bought was significantly cheaper on the Wearit site than it was in the manufacturer’s ecommerce shop.  Win-win.

Dave Moskovitz

It’s a shacket!

I bought a woolen shacket, evidently a cross between a shirt and a jacket.  It’s not the sort of thing I would ever have considered buying myself in a shop, and I rather like it.

Liam claims that menswear is the fastest growing ecommerce vertical, expanding at 17% per year, and is projected to do so for the next five years, making this an attractive global market, which they’re ready to attack.

I was a bit skeptical about the business opportunity at first, but Liam won me over with his Demo Day pitch (the actual pitch itself starts at 2m 50s into the clip).

Wearit is closing their seed round this week (by 25 September 2015) – if you’re interested in participating, you should contact Liam directly, and soon.

They’re also hiring a Rails dev, and you can look at the Job Description online if you’re interested in working for them.



nomos-logoNomosOne is a SaaS company that automates the life cycle of commercial leases. Its main features include automated document generation and management, the ability to connect all stakeholders in a transaction, as well as instant reporting on property performance within a portfolio and reminders for important events like rent reviews and compliance filings.

They have hundreds of users including some big-name accounts in New Zealand and the UK, and have been growing at 33% per month. Revenue comes from an onboarding fee, followed by monthly subscriptions. They ambitiously aim to be a $1B+ company in five to seven years, and want to own the property management software category.

david bromleyjanine manningjonny-mirkinFounder and CEO Jonny Mirkin recently moved from Dunedin to London to set up their European office. Jonny is a lawyer with an MBA who was solving his own problem – managing all of the legal documents around property transactions, ongoing maintenance of compliance documentation and reporting. The rest of their 15-strong team is based in Dunedin including CFO Janine Manning and CTO David Bromley.

I asked Jonny what their biggest challenge has been to date, and he answered with a common refrain that I often hear from founders: balancing the drive to build the business versus spending time fundraising.  NomosOne is raising a significant round at the moment to make a big sales and marketing push, with some money reserved for additional development. Since starting in 2011, they’ve raised several smaller rounds, which according to Jonny have all been oversubscribed.

NomosOne’s target market is businesses that own or manage at least 10 properties, including property managers, property funds, law firms, retailers, supermarkets, ports, chain restaurants/cafes, marinas, breweries, infrastructure companies, telcos, banks etc.

NomosOne is also currently hiring salespeople in Auckland – if you know anyone who has experience in their target market and can sell SaaS, do get in contact with them.  They’re also have positions for a couple of devs in Dunedin.

Leaping Tiger

Leaping Tiger

leaping-tigerOur first NZ Startup of the Week is Leaping Tiger, a location-based friend finding app which lets gamers find other gamers to play against, team up with, or message with.

Amy Potter Jordan LilleyBased in Wellington, founders Jordan Lilley and Amy Potter started Leaping Tiger to solve their own problem.  Amy explains, “When you bring a new video game home, you are currently faced with two options – play with someone you know in real life, or be forced online into random online matchmaking with faceless strangers. Random online matchmaking has a whole host of specific problems – from people speaking a totally different language, people with terrible ping, and people who don’t have a headset when the game really requires one to succeed. There are also a lot of other factors that come into play here, where gamers would ideally love to meet someone new with similar gaming interests to them, who likes similar things to them, and plays at similar times to them – but until now there has been no simple and instant way to do that! We bridge the gap between totally random strangers, and real life friends, allowing gamers to discover those near them, playing the same games they do, and who are online right now.”

You might be thinking that Steam, Xbox, PlayStation and others all provide a way for people to connect, but Leaping Tiger claims that they’re the only cross-platform system to do this, and that because they’re much more user-centric than the big platforms, their recommendations are much better targetted and useful.

Leaping Tiger launched in May 2015, and four months in they already have over 6,000 users in 70 countries – they’re clearly building a community really quickly, and have great support.  They’re firmly focussed on a “global from day one” strategy, with the US and UK markets number one and two in terms of current user base, with NZ in third place.

Currently pre-revenue, they want to monetise in the short term through very specific genre- and location-based affiliate links, moving into freemium offerings and partner/sponsor rights.  They point out that the gaming industry is already bigger than music plus movies, and continuing to grow rapidly.

Leaping Tiger is currently raising a seed round through Angel HQ and ICE Angels to more deeply explore international markets and continue product development.  This will be their first investment, and they’d love to acquire overseas gaming industry connections at the same time.