In Nuclear Physics, the minimum amount of physical material needed to create a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction is known as critical mass. The idea is that in a complex system, moving the honour threshold can suddenly unleash powerful self-sustaining change. In my experience, this is the same thing with Startup companies.
Enter a market too early, no matter how strong the Founding team, and you can be stuck waiting for days, months, years for a time that never comes and too late and you’re fighting an uphill battle against incumbents with the greatest scale.
In Startups, market timing is everything. In this podcast, I’m chatting with James Fuller, the founder of Hnry and I think James has timed his market entry perfectly. Hnry is a bookkeeping and accounting service solution that appeals to solopreneurs, the freelancers, the consultants who are working for themselves, I see this market rapidly expanding at the moment and I can see the tax system and the obligation that’s being put on these people increasing all the time.
Way back in 2016, whilst working as independent contractors, we realised that far too much of our time was spent reconciling transactions, using online calculator apps and making manual payments. We weren’t ‘running a small business’ – so why were we being treated as though we were? We had an accountant and accounting software, but that still required us to have to do a load of work ourselves! We decided to create a service that brought everything into one place, making self-employment as simple as having a permanent or salary job somewhere.
During 2017 we designed the Hnry service, working with tax experts from Big 4 accountancy firms (nice suits), legal experts from the top law firms (even nicer suits), and technology experts from some of New Zealand’s funkiest startups (nice beards/Star Wars t-shirts). We collaborated with government agencies to refine our service, and soon became an accredited tax agent of IRD and ACC. We ran trials with a handful of customers, adapting our service and learning what they needed. Towards the end of 2017, we were accepted into KiwiBank FinTech Accelerator, an amazing 3-month programme designed to help refine and scale NZ technology startups.
In early 2018, we finished our trial period, and released Hnry to the New Zealand market. We started scaling very rapidly, bringing on customers at a fast pace. To help us support this scale, we raised funding through investment from the Banking and Financial Services industry, as well as from Angel Investors and private individuals. This allowed us to bring on a great team of experts, to help support our rapidly expanding customer base.