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. Friday, 17 May 2019 .

Investing seems like one of those totally intimidating things only real adults too (because being in your late 20s isn't real adulthood yet... right? #thestruggleisreal lol) but Brooke Roberts and her team at Sharesies are on a mission to make it as simple as possible. I loved chatting to her about this because like I said before, I've always felt like investing was something that wasn't accessible to me at this stage of my life so it's good to dispel that myth. Brooke is a total powerhouse and I'm so excited to share with you a bit of what we talked about.

What got you into Sharesies and how did that start?

I’ve always wanted to start a business and had a passion for finance, for how we can really make money easy. There was a group of us who came up with the idea for Sharesies. We wanted to make investing easy and accessible and we all rallied to make it happen.

What was your background before Sharesies?

Before Sharesies I was in Global Product Marketing at Xero and before that I was at Kiwibank heading up their saving, investment, and transactional product.

What drives you and Sharesies?

For us, we really want to create a financially empowered generation so everyone can feel like they can be an investor and investing isn’t only for the rich. We want all New Zealanders to know that investing is now accessible to them and for more people to be talk about money and have these conversations. You don’t need to share how much you earn but you can always share what you’re doing and your experiences and what insights you have that can help somebody else increase their financial awareness.

What’s the best thing about getting to do what you do?

Best thing… There are so many great things about being able to be in this business especially when you’re so passionate about what you’re doing. The key thing though is I’m excited to go in and be surrounded by all these incredible people who do remarkable work at Sharesies. We’ve got a team of nearly 30 now and I just love the energy and passion that you just feel.

What are you looking forward to getting out of the NZ Startup Bootcamp competition?

I just love that people are starting more purpose driven businesses nowadays and I love seeing that energy that people have when they are so passionate about why they would do something. Seeing the hustle and business ideas come to life!

What was the last book/song/or film that’s resonated with you?

There are so many that come to mind! I’m a big fan of what The Spinoff do, I think they have good content that are really insightful. I’ve also really gotten into Mother Father Son. I like the drama of it. I should also probably say Game of Thrones!

A book that I’ve really enjoyed too that I’ve just read recently is Trust Factor: The science of Creating High-Performance Companies. It’s really interesting! It challenges the old definition of what high performance is – it used to be working overtime, work harder, but what I like about that book is that it makes you think about high performance as helping people be their best and making sure that you’re creating an environment that’s inclusive and collaborative and helps people to thrive.

What’s the best cure for a crappy day?

I think for me it’s about managing my energy, not my time. So if you feel like your energy is flat, going for a run, listening to music, or even walking really helps me. Having a laugh with a friend – that’s also really helpful.

What’s your advice to your younger self?

I started businesses when I was in school and I think you’re so much braver in your naivety sometimes. And then you go into University and you learn all this jargon, stuff you probably already intuitively know – not all of it of course. But my advice to my younger self is to just do you.

Any last tips for anyone wanting to get into your industry and follow your footsteps?

If you’ve got a great idea, think about the team you’ll need around you to help make it come to life. For Sharesies, there’s seven people who founded it and I think that has been super valuable in this industry in particular because it’s so highly regulated so it’s important to have all the skills you need to help get your business off the ground. Just go ahead and do it!

Find out more about Sharesies here.

This post was created in partnership with NZ Startup Bootcamp.

. Thursday, 16 May 2019 .

This one is for anyone who's ever wished financial education was part of the core curriculum we learnt at school. My relationship with money is forever a work in progress and every now and again I wonder if I formed healthier habits with it had I learnt more money skills while I was at school. Enter Banqer, a financial education platform that provides a hands-on environment for teachers and students to get curious, creative, and ultimately confident with money. It's such an innovative concept that's practical and actually makes a difference in the way the future generation look at finances. Best of all, it's 100% free to Primary & Intermediate schools and is already being used by 70,000+ Australasian kids. Today's interview is with the very cool, very talented Marc McHardy, co-founder and lead design at Banqer. We chat about his love of problem solving, dumplings (because why wouldn't you talk about dumplings? They're amazing!), and taking chances.

What got you into your line of work and how did end up where you are:

I’ve always been drawn to building things, taking things apart and illustration so design was a natural choice, heading down the digital path was a no brainer for where the industry was going. I fell into web and interaction design, it seemed to be what I was good at and piqued my interest, there’s just so much problem solving in it, from understanding people to making the technology work. I was lucky to get offered a job at a design agency out of Uni, that was down to a great comms department at Waikato Uni and deciding to do a final project that was a bit different at the time. I got wrapped up in Banqer at a startup weekend in 2014 and have been involved since. I got where I am today by making great connections, by being curious about how things work, and by marrying my own interests with things that I know others will take notice of.

What are you looking forward to getting out of the NZ Startup Bootcamp?

Seeing the wide range of ideas that come out of it and the slow but steady realisation from teams that they really need to prove to the judges that they have a successful business model. Also just seeing those special teams that have a magic team dynamic where things just click.

Best thing about getting to do what you do:

Solving problems. I love being able to talk to those involved, being exposed to different points of view and life experiences, understanding the problems that are being faced and seeing how all of that can evolve into a beautiful and usable solution that you can be confident about. Without empathising and talking to the people you’re designing for you can’t truly be confident in your design.

Last book/song/or film that resonated with you and why:

Lock In by John Scalzi, it’s a really different type of sci-fi book and gets you thinking from a few perspectives you wouldn’t normally consider. And it’s just a real page turner, that guy knows how to write.

Best cure for a crap day:

Going for a run! …and then eating some dumplings and bok choy with a good beer.

Dream guests for a dinner party:

Ryan Reynolds, Matt Berninger (The National), Jessica Hische, John Scalzi.  Partly because that’s such a weird combo that the interactions would be bizarre and awkward.

Advice you’d give your younger self?

You really don’t have much to lose, take more chances.

Tips for anyone wanting to get into your industry/follow your footsteps:

Take chances, focus on making sure that the work you’re doing is something that others will take notice of or be interested in. You can be self indulgent but more often than not that’s only going to satisfy yourself.

You may not be good at sketch or illustrator or programming but those are all things you can learn, go learn them, there are so many resources out there, but also get good at listening to people, there’s a difference between listening to someone’s problems and telling someone what their problems are.

Be enthusiastic about what you do, be your own cheerleader - don’t focus on the negatives, I’ve found it really hard to do this and have had to work hard to not bring up the flaws (I perceive) in my designs to clients and colleagues, I think this is the design form of tall poppy syndrome.

Join Banqer here.

This post was created in partnership with NZ Startup Bootcamp.

. Wednesday, 15 May 2019 .

I've always been extremely fascinated in how other people's world looks like - especially those in very different industries than me. Today's interview is with someone from the finance industry, a far cry from my creative background. Reading up on Julian prior to this interview, I found his business so different, so unique, and even quirky. I just knew I had to include him in this series! What really struck me when I was learning about Julian and what he does is how friendly he's made being a CFO. Not that CFO's aren't friendly (in my experience some of them even bring their dogs to work on casual Fridays). What I simply mean is that he's made CFOs so accessible in his business, CFO4U, a contract/virtual CFO service that offers virtual CFO services to high growth and start-up companies. This concept is unique and valuable, and Julian is so interesting to chat to. We talk about the best about what he does and dispel the myth that accounting is boring...

What got you into your line of work and how did end up where you are:

I am a Chartered Accountant by background and had been in senior finance and executive roles prior to founding my own business, CFO4U. CFO4U provides contract and virtual CFO (Chief Financial Officer) services to high growth and startup companies. It all started as a side hustle when initially I helped some of the startup companies that I invested in their finance area.

What are you looking forward to getting out of the NZ Startup Bootcamp?

Meeting and working with new people, whether they are mentors or participants of the NZ Startup Bootcamp. What I really enjoy is that one or two years down the track, I can see the positive impact of the event with some of the participants take the learnings from the event and start to build their own startups.

Best thing about getting to do what you do:

Working with so many different business and helping them to succeed!

Last book/song/or film that resonated with you and why:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. A really worthwhile read for anyone who wants to be a better leader and better person.

Best cure for a crap day:

Exercise. I am a bit of a gym junkie and HIIT (High Interval Intensive Training) is my exercise of choice. What I like about is that I get absolutely wasted after the exercise and all I can think about is recovery, but not the crap that was in my head prior to I step inside the gym.

Dream guests for a dinner party:

I love political debates and discussions! Having a dinner party with all the NZ present and past PMs that I started to follow in their political careers like Jacinda Ardern, Bill English, John Key, Helen Clark, Jenny Shipley and Jim Bolger will be the like best dinner party guests ever. Can you imagine the passion, the heat debate around the table? Sounds like heaven to me!

Advice you’d give your younger self?

Be patient. Things that really matter in life such as relationships, career or business take time to build.

Tips for anyone wanting to get into your industry/follow your footsteps:

Study accounting and work towards becoming a Chartered Accountant is a good first step. People often have this misconception that accountants are boring and the career options are limited. This is far from the truth! I've met a lot of interesting people and CEOs that are / were accountants.  Jolie Hodson, the recently appointed CEO of Spark was an accountant and there are so many others who have started their careers in this industry and have gone on to do other things!

Find out more about Julian and CFO4U here.

This post was created in partnership with NZ Startup Bootcamp.