We ask Business is Boring host Simon Pound to pick out 10 episodes from the past year you should give a listen (or re-listen) to this summer.
Nine years ago, Steve Rickerby spotted a massive hole in the market for a company that could pick up food waste from businesses. So in 2009, he launched We Compost, collecting organic waste with just one bin on the back of his ute.
Today, it collects over 30,000 kilograms of organic waste each week, servicing corporate offices, food courts, schools, tertiary institutions, hotels, cafes, caterers, and coffee roasters such as Kōkako. And since March 2012 We Compost has helped save over four million kilograms of waste from ending up in landfill – a number that continues to grow.
In 2010, a brand new show called Fresh burst onto the scene. It told Pasifika stories in a true Pasifika voice and was made with an eye to being relevant and real and proudly for the community first. It became a cult hit and helped to launch careers and talents into the industry.
The producer, Lisa Taouma, extended this by launching The Coconet, an online virtual village that tells Pasifika stories in unique ways and is consumed and loved through the prime time of the internet.
Glen Herud of Happy Cow Milk set out to make two major changes to the dairy industry: a sustainability change around packaging practice by using reusable glass bottles, and an ethical change to try to address the practice of removing calves from cows at birth and sending them to the slaughterhouse at just a few days old.
The industry’s existing structure couldn’t fit his model, meaning he had to build his own mobile milking shed, bottling plant and distribution channels.
But it wasn’t enough – Herud eventually made the hard call to call time on the project. But when his story about it on The Spinoff travelled far and wide, and thousands of people signed up to hear more, opening the door for what could just be Happy Cow 2.0.
Nat Cheshire and his studio, Cheshire Architects, has played a huge part in creating some of Auckland’s most vital and interesting spaces, ones that have set off a new wave of confidence and creativity in the city.
Cheshire’s portfolio of high-profile works reads like a list of Auckland’s go-to places, including Queen Street’s Q Theatre, City Works Depot’s Shed 12, Britomart’s retail pavilion, and any number of central city dining institutions: Saan, Cafe Hanoi, Mexico, Pilkingtons, Beirut, Miss Clawdy, Ortolana, and Milse, to name but a few.
Maru Nihoniho is the founder of game studio Metia Interactive which has made games like SPARX. Developed with the University of Auckland, SPARX gamified the treatment of depression with great success, winning awards and getting written up in the British Medical Journal. There’s also The Guardian with its a wahine toa – a strong Māori woman lead – doing the rescuing, and Māori Pa Wars, a take on the traditional tower defence game that’s available in te reo.
Nihoniho has been recognised for services to gaming and mental health with a Member of the Order of Merit and has been appointed by the Crown to the board of Māori Television.
Thanks to a lot of science and research, Sunfed has found a way to use pea protein to make a chicken replacement that functions in much the same way as the real thing.
Demand so far has been huge with multiple sold-out runs at some New Zealand’s bigger food retailers. With plans to move past chicken into other non-meat meats, and an R&D-led approach that works, it might not be too far away for us to be able to easily get protein that’s better for our environment, ethics and country.
Vaughan Rowsell founded cloud-based point-of-sale retail software Vend back in 2010, championing thousands of small-to-medium businesses worldwide. It quickly became one of New Zealand’s fastest growing tech startups and won many Hi-Tech Awards over the years, with Rowsell awarded the title of EY’s Tech Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014. In 2016, Rowsell stepped down from Vend as CEO.
In recent years, Rowsell has acted as deputy chair of the NZ Hi-Tech Trust, helping pull together the great theme on diversity at this year’s awards, and co-founded of OMGTech!, the not-for-profit getting kids into coding and technology through a series of high-tech workshops.
A few years ago, over some drinks in a bar, two old friends who had taken different paths in life met up to talk wine. Tim Lightbourne, a marketer, and Rob Cameron, a winemaker, thought there might be room for a brand that removed the complexity around wine and made it more approachable. And so Invivo was born, made from two maxed-out credit cards and some grapes, as the legend goes.
From the beginning they were out to innovate – turning big name fans into big name partners and being one of the first to successfully crowdfund a wine company, with a record 2 million raised. Their Graham Norton partnership has seen them grow from 14000 bottles a year sold with his name on the front to 5 million. And here’s a stat – one in every ten bottles of NZ wine sold in Ireland is a Graham Norton number.
Dr Sam Hazeldine is the founder and managing director of three companies that shook up medical orthodoxy by keeping the welfare of doctors at their heart: MedRecruit, MedWorld and MedCapital. He’s been on the Fast 50 list multiple times, was EY’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012, and was the recipient of the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award in 2014.
He’s written best selling books, like Unfair Fight, to help small New Zealand businesses compete in what he calls an uneven playing field. He co-founded the holistic talent management company, WeAreTenzing. He’s even lobbied the World Medical Association to include the health and wellbeing of the doctor in the Declaration of Geneva, the modern-day Hippocratic Oath.
SwipedOn on streamlining visitor management
If you’ve headed into an office lately and had to sign in using an iPad, there’s a very good chance you were using technology from SwipedOn, a visitor management software company.
Founded in 2013 by Hadleigh Ford, the Tauranga-based business started off on Apple’s App Store selling a digital replacement for corporate visitor books, running on iPads. It then went on to raise $1 million from investors and counts big corporate names like Mobil and Hugo Boss as clients
Three months after Ford spoke to Business is Boring, SwipedOn sold to Britain’s Smartspace Software PLC for an impressive $11 million.
Listen to more episodes of BIB via The Spinoff, Spotify or iTunes.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.