Question :
Hi,I’m just scratching my head and thinking “How can we (iways) get ahead…Not easy at this current Global C19 metdown.iways is a new busienss, but in saying that the inventor and product has been around for a while.So it’s a start up, but not in a way…I’m just stuck on how to move fwd.iways develops, manufactures and supplies innovative and intelligent IoT DATA capturing wireless solar powered sensors for almost every conceivable market sector, including aviation, rail, road and waterways. This is business has HUGE potential, and there atre Tenders out in NZ and other parts of the world that are ripe for the picking, but we can proceed as we still in R&D stage, even though the concept has been proven and tested years ago. One of our products has even been approaved to be used by NZTA…I’m just stuck on how we can get some Funding to help move this fwd.Many thanksGlenn BrockwellDirector(022) 479 5631glenn@iways.co.nz

Question submitted 19/08/20 @ 01:52pm
Industry: Start-ups
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    Kia Ora Glenn – awesome, it is a big market as you know. A couple thoughts for you:
    – big markets all start in niche’s, and you get famous from dominating a small market first, that leads you into bigger markets, so think about where the greatest pain exists, the greatest opportunity to show to users what your solution can do. Peter Thiel talked about this in his book Zero to One which I reckon is a great read if you have not read it already.
    – Two blogs from y-combinator are super good – https://www.ycombinator.com/library/61-order-of-operations-for-starting-a-startup & https://www.ycombinator.com/library/4D-yc-s-essential-startup-advice

    To your question of funding – NZ is a pretty active ‘angel and seed investment market place’, one of the most active in the world for angel investment, albeit there is not massive amounts of VC money here – which means you have to raise a small amount, prove you can validate and dominate that niche and then you potentially can raise significantly more. There are lots of groups our there like angel groups – Enterprise Angels (Bay of Plenty), Angel HQ (Wellington), Ice Angels (Auckland), Canterbury Angels (Chch) and then there are tech incubators (WNT, BridgeWest, Brandon) plus seed/angel investor groups like Icehouse Ventures, Movac, GD1 and you might have seen today Amphli just led a round into Portainer plus the Aussie VCs Airtree, Transition, Right Click, Blackbird etc.

    Key to approaching the investors is to think about it from their perspective, prepare your story and just pitch!

    What else can I help with? Do you know founders who have raised money who can give you insights on how to do that? Andy


    Hi Glenn,

    It’s good advice from Andy (to pick a niche) above. We did this but took a slightly different approach to fund growth (we bootstrapped and funded the business via sales and invested in growth as revenues allowed ie no investors needed at all).

    We were in a similar situation where our product could be applied to many use cases globally. We also had zero budget (investment) to grow so picked multiple narrow niches based on where we could compete and get found in Google search engine pages. It wasn’t just about who we could compete with, but more a case of where there was high Google search volume but low competition for ranking in the Google results pages.

    For example, use the right tools (e.g. http://www.moz.com is one) to check for search volumes for relevant (problem and solutions based) terms to your product and check their ranking competitiveness globally (not just in your location). You may find that the search term “intelligent road sensors” has lots of people searching for it, but the content that is ranking for the result is poor and your ability to “compete” online with useful content for those searchers is high. Whereas the term “Intelligent Aviation sensors” has fewer people searching and lots of high-quality content already in the results so it will be too hard for you to compete with useful content to rank (particularly as a newer website with less trust from Google).

    NB) The above is a theoretical example, and I haven’t actually checked these terms, You’d need to do this yourself.

    Using this sort of approach you may be able to create useful online content for the search terms you can compete for. For example, a “long tail term” for you could be “how to use intelligent sensors to detect flash floods”. This term could have moderate search volume but very little competition (aka useful content) for ranking. Leads that come from a search term like this mean qualified, motivated global buyers find your business and fill out an enquiry form.. hence a much higher and cheaper conversion to sale.

    NB) some of this advice flys in the face of more traditional advice. Advice such as “strategically” focusing on your best product features versus your competitors when you pick your niches. Of course, this is relevant but with the inhouse development capability you have, you can afford to be more agile and iterate and develop your product based on the type of leads you can easily get. Then iterate to your dominant niches over time.

    Some people may also say that you need to pick your niche and “burn the ships” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_of_no_return, I.e. once you have decided on your niche, you need to eliminate all other activity. We didn’t take this approach! We just optimised our online content strategy for the areas where we thought we could win and then iterated and evolved our product and approach based on who found us in search and enquired about our product. It’s less “top-down strategic”, and more market-led, iterative and agile.

    I hope this makes sense, it can be a bit confusing when you first come across digital marketing approaches to entrepreneurial business growth. However, a useful (slightly old but still relevant) beginners guide is here to get you started.


    NB) I keep posting the link to this Rand Fiskin video. I don’t have any affiliation I just think its really helpful beginners guide with no overt agenda to sell you on a particular product or agency.

    If you Google the term “B2B Content Marketing” this should provide some useful ideas regarding the type of content approaches you can take.

    Hope this helps,




    You mentioned that you are manufacturing , supplying the sensors but few lines below you mentioned that you are in R & D stage ??? This is confusing. If you have the commercial traction already then you can certainly start the fund raising process… The market for you is certainly big and not only in New Zealand but across the world. You need to get the business plan, model and pitch deck but you need to make a big picture. Also create a model which is realistic and not over optimistic because in you would get diluted way too fast if you can not create valuation as promised. If you have competitors and of they have raised money then then that would become a benchmark for you as well as investors.
    Raising money is all about building a real story, realistic execution-able assumptions , clear picture of valuation build and exist plan for investors.

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