Letter from the Chairman – Looking at 2018


John Holt of Kiwi Landing Pad

Writing this introduction has caused me to reflect on my own personal journey in the world of entrepreneurship. 10 years ago, I started by foray into the world of tech entrepreneurship co-founding Sonar6 which we successfully sold to a US publicly listed company four years later. The journey of the entrepreneur is hard – demanding, frustrating, stressful but incredibly addictive.

We started the Kiwi Landing Pad (KLP) as a way of paying it forward, our vision has been largely unchanged – to have a positive impact on the New Zealand technology and innovation community measured over 20 years – about the same amount of time it takes to build a meaningful startup ecosystem. As I write this, looking at how far we have come, I’m incredibly proud to welcome us all, stakeholders included into our 8th year.

While the mission has changed, we make it our core objective to change as the market changes – a dynamic that any 21st century business should adopt, combining long term thinking with effective short term execution quickly adjusting to changing market demands. In plain english this means, we evolve as our community evolves, everyone grows up, that means changing tactics and offerings where appropriate.

While we were initially focused on Landing, we realised the small branding error we made with a shortened KLP actually became a blessing in disguise when we worked out that we needed to do more work at home to make our companies and kiwi entrepreneurs more ready to land in new markets anywhere – not just the US.

We’ve become less focused on physical space, and much more focused on building a meaningful useful community that is highly engaged and connected. What really matters for businesses is networks, information and access. We pride ourselves on building this out and working collaboratively with those sharing similar objectives.

Community is not a new concept, we all know that it ‘takes a village’ , and tribalism pre dates most of us, however community in terms of adding business value is incredibly powerful when curated effectively. Connecting the dots, and helping people learn from those who have ‘been there and done that’ but also to weather the storm of entrepreneurship which is honestly fundamentally lonely, but often the life blood of any communities and nations.

The Kiwi Landing Pad in 2018 is looking to evolve again, building on what’s working and increasing it’s impact and availability. Timing plays a big role in all decisions and much of our change and refinement is based on community readiness rather than completely new thinking / ideas.

We’re excited for your reading this and are keen to continue with us on this journey. 2018 brings many challenges we are eager to tackle these as overcoming them will provide even more benefits for our community at all levels continuing our philosophy of giving back.

Our strategy covers three areas – learn, launch, land and we’ve built up robust programs and networks in each of these areas some of which you have hopefully already experienced / gained value from. We’ve realised that if you pay close attention to the cycle of innovation and disruption, startups exist in the disruption phase, then they go into scale up, then over time they become a corporate, then they either become a household name by continually disrupting themselves or, they wither away and the cycle continues.

Tech, innovation and silicon valley are often sighted as the new frontier, but there is much to be gained from markets and experience further afield.  This is exciting because it gives us the opportunity to take our lessons, learnings, observations and data from the companies we work with and the alternate markets we operate in and connect to and bring this knowledge home and apply it to our SMEs which make up 95% of New Zealand.

Why? Because people are people and kiwis like helping kiwis, we can’t help ourselves and our 2 degrees of separation.

Digital disruption is affecting us all, irrespective of being NZ focussed or global. A large part of our opportunity lies in thinking bigger and leading. We not only have a duty to our organisations, but also to the next generation, to our society, and the only way we will help, and make everyone more successful is if we look forward with a longer horizon and think about being a 21st century business.

Its time for us to truly realise some of the benefit that New Zealand has being so far removed but so well connected. It means our competition is less, our markets more monopolistic. We do better when New Zealand does better so let that be our goal which we’ll reach through collaboration.

Finally and ending around the most key critical part Community and business – people, it’s important we spend more time as a community looking after each other. Managing and supporting each other around the stress and anxiety that is unavoidable in building something from nothing is an area we can all do better around. For all the need for us to be aggressive, driven and work our asses off to succeed let’s never forget to take time to share, ask for help or simply ask others we work with and love the simple questions – How are you going ? and Are you Ok ?

Thanks for your support and looking forward to a outrageously successful 2018 for us all.

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