A post from the Kiwi Landing Pad Chairman & CoFounder John Holt.
When Sam and I started talking about the need for a more coordinated and collaborative approach for technology companies looking to expand and establish in Silicon Valley we knew we weren’t the first to come up with the idea. The bulk of our ideas had been thrown around by others before us.
The only difference, as is often the case, was execution.
The Kiwi Landing Pad (KLP) has similar qualities to any early stage startup venture; we built a loose plan, socialised it with a bunch of potential supporters and sponsors and simultaneously looked for a suitable space to call home.
Sam’s original sound bite for our pitch regarding the problem the Kiwi Landing Pad helps to solve still rings true to this day:
“Building a business is hard – building a global business is even harder.”
This simple statement resonated with anyone who had been around a startup going global or even a local company’s journey to success. We were then joined by an A-list group of supporters and thus, we launched the Kiwi Landing Pad.
Six years ago we opened our doors to the first residents – Craig and Catherine Walker, the first team members on the ground for Xero in the USA.
Since then we’ve been the first port of call for thousands of Kiwis exploring the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as accommodated and supported the growth plans of hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs and founders.
Starting with Xero, we’ve since been a home to many of the well known names in Tech coming out of New Zealand such as Magic Memories, Vend, Performance Lab, Booktrack and most recently 90 Seconds, Spotlight Reporting & Unfiltered.
What We’ve Learnt
As with any environment, change has been the only constant in the startup and innovation scene globally. I’m pleased to announce the launch of KLP “3.0” our new strategy to continue the vision of making a meaningful and sustainable contribution to the successful growth of as many Kiwi businesses as possible.
Our research and time in spent in market combined with helping New Zealand companies has shown us that:
The tyranny of distance is beating a slow retreat – there’s still no substitute for in-person time with humans for critical transactions or relationship building, but the world of commerce is opening up across all fronts with the acceptance of doing business remotely, and with countries that would never before have been on the radar.
Silicon Valley is no longer the “must be based here“ location as strong full stack entrepreneurial communities have launched and flourished right across the USA and abroad. Our community is growing at a decent pace, and we are noticing that these members are increasingly spread across the USA and the globe.
The difference between success and failure hinges a lot on your ability to effectively execute and spending a solid amount of time on the actual ‘doing’. Meaning the more you can learn and adapt your business successfully from others, the faster you can go. Providing confidence and learning through true collaboration is at the heart of a large proportion of the world’s startup success stories.
Where we are going – Connecting the dots
Based on these learnings and feedback from our community. We have analysed a wide range of metrics from our events, programmes and meetings; I’m pleased to tell you our approach moving forward.
On 1 November the Kiwi Landing Pad will move from its home building for the last six years to a brand new co-working location created by our friends at Covo – www.hellocovo.com. It will be our first KLP hub in a model which will provide services and advice about San Francisco and Silicon Valley but will look to go much further afield with relationships and hubs right across the USA.
Covo offers a fantastic range of services for its residents and visitors allowing the Kiwi Landing Pad team to focus more time on the core element of the new strategy – connecting the dots with content and community.
We’ve realised in growing the Kiwi Landing Pad that we have built a broad library of content and connections which are incredibly precious resources for all levels of the entrepreneurial community. Without needing to focus on managing a physical space, we can increase our focus on curating the community and content to ensure its readily available to deliver value and viable entrepreneurship lessons.
We’re responding to this by further developing our strategy to cover off the learn, launch and land piece which incorporates a relevant programme of events and in-person interactions in addition to our popular webinar series which focuses on the four key areas of building a successful business: Sales, Marketing, Product Management and the Art of Entrepreneurship.
We are still big believers that there is no substitute for experiential and in person learning.
A Big Thank You
Lastly, we would like to recognise and thank our sponsors and key partners for their support to enable the Kiwi Landing Pad 20 year mission.
From the outset, our private sponsors have generously provided financial support and their time – Sam Morgan, Sir Stephen Tindall, Simon Holdsworth, Phil McCaw and Craig Elliott – thanks to you all.
Also from day one we have had the tacit support of the New Zealand Government with personal visits from many government supporters over the years including John Key and Steven Joyce. Our new approach lines up very well with our partners New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. We look forward to sharing the details with our community on how we plan to strengthen this relationship even further which will provide greater benefits and cohesion to startups heading offshore on their journey.
To our corporate partners – BNZ and Air New Zealand who share our passion for growing New Zealand business and inspiring others to follow in their path thank you for your support.
Sian and I are excited about this next phase which focuses much more on curating stories and content which is educational and inspirational for those wanting to take on the challenge of building a business and landing in the US market with a specific plan and a community of connections ready to tap into.
If you’re able to attend our upcoming Sales and Marketing Jam starting in Christchurch on October 31st then moving through the country; you’ll hear much more about the future, and as always we’ll welcome any feedback that you may have.
Thanks for stopping by to read this, Sian and I look forward to following the approach we have taken from the start and executing on programmes and support that makes a positive impact on the entrepreneurial journey and inevitably helps take New Zealand technology to the world, and makes New Zealand a worldclass place to live.
Kiwi Landing Pad CoFounder & Chairman