This retrospective, goes through month by month the 2Shakes journey of the last 2 years as we have iterated, experimented. Thank you to everyone who has help us on our journey.
2Shakes formed in 2016 wanting to find another way for Government to solve its problems. Using Lean Start up and customer centered design. Our first year was all about the hard yards to release our MVP product to market.
- January: At the end of January we participated in the Rev Up weekend. Back then we had a completely different group of people (including Lucas, Ed and Duncan). After Rev Up weekend we enter our team.
- February: 2Shakes get selected and we start on MBIEs second R9 Accelerator 2.0 at Creative HQ. At the end of February we by the end of the week-long ‘Bootcamp’ we lose team mates who aren’t able to get released from their jobs work. So 2Shakes just had 2 members.
- March: Month 1 of the Accelerator was all about finding the pain. We talked to a lot of farmers during this time and really got a feel for the things that matter to them. We also talked to Fonterra, Hort NZ, MPI, MfE and Federated Farmers. The wonderful Caroline joins the team (now we are 3 members).
- April: Month 2 of the Accelerator we find a solution to our farming problem only to find that our solution already exists. We pivot to a problem Ata has wanted to fix for bookkeepers. A talented design student from Massey (Nicole) joins our team to help, (now we are 4).
- May: A junior developer joins our team to build a prototype solution and test it with bookkeepers, Oliver helps part-time (so now we are 6). We draw up an early adopter agreement and begin to sign up bookkeepers who are keen to show their support.
- June: Demo day arrives. Mike starts practicing his pitch non-stop. We are on a high as we win the people’s choice award at Demo Day. Watch our pitch here. Then reality hits, we need to find funding to keep going! Our team shrinks again as Nicole goes back to university and Caroline returns to her day job.
- July: Its Hussle time! We have to find funding! We come up with a plan, draw up proposals, pitch, meet, discuss to ask for support. ACC’s CEO comes to Creative HQ and rings the bell. Thanks to some visionary people we get Companies office and Business.govt.nz to support us. IR start tentative discussions.
- August: ACC and MBIE agree to support us. Yeah! We talk to Microsoft who agree to support us. Yeah! We talk to Chapman Tripp who agree to be our lawyers. Yeah! IR negotiate a contract to work with us. We have enough funding for Oliver to join our team full-time. We create a video prototype with NZBAI and Massey Design School, ACC, NZBN, kiwibank, watch it here. There is a Dominion Post & Stuff article on us, and NZBAI ask us to talk at their annual conference.
- September: Our supporters ‘ring the bell’ as we start to ‘cut code’ to build our solution. Our junior front end developer leaves us to join the start-up that sits in the table next to us in Creative HQ, SuchCrowd.
- October: We build, demo and iterate to rapidly build our MVP solution. Every couple of weeks we demonstrate our development to government stakeholders, Chapman Tripp, and lovely bookkeepers from the NZBAI.
- November: We move our solution into production and our first live sign up happens. (YIPPEE – It really works!). IR authority, ACC authority, Xero PM integration, digital signatures all work perfectly, for real.
- December: 2Shakes are now in the R9 post accelerator program. We are housed at Creative HQ as we continue to develop our solution. A start-up from the first R9 Accelerator, VizBot decide to call it a day, and Samson comes to join our team for a little while to help with Sales. Realising that AML/CFT legislation will have a major impact on our clients we begin work to apply for Callaghan Innovation co-funding to extend our solftware to help with AML.
Moving into 2017, 2Shakes is now launched and on the market. For 2Shakes in its second year, the challenge is to get traction survive.
- January: Xero invite us to come to Auckland to present our solution at the annual sales managers conference.
- February: 2Shakes launches on the Blockchain. A Hash of signed agreements are now stored on the Etherium block chain when an agreement is signed. Woop! woop!
- March: Many of our early adopter bookkeepers reach the end of the free period and agree to sign up (Yeah!). Mike presents to NZBAI in Christchurch as we investigate financial advisors – they sign up clients different to Bookkeepers! ACC help find us some early adopter Advisors. We build some additional functionality and get our first financial advisor customer.
- April: We investigate Accountants. Again they have different needs to Bookkeepers! CAANZ help find some early adopter Accountants and we build the them renewal functionality. 2Shakes becomes a Xero Connected ap, and we move to our own office!
- May: Accountants need to sign up multiple entities on the same agreement. This is a major change to the very structure of our solution….. After a lot of pain and anguish (and nashing of teeth) we finally release multiple entity sign ups. Our Accountant Early adopters and our existing bookkeepers love it (Phew). We sign up Accounting early adopters as customers (Yeah!). Callahan Innovation agrees to help co-fund our AML/CFT project. Statistics Data Futures Partnership comes onboard to co-fund 2Shakes as well.
- June: 2Shakes talks about Government Innovation at GOVIS. We get our own stand at the NZBAI conference (and feel like a real grown up company!!!). We are humbled by all the support and endorsements we receive! We ‘give back’ to support new Bookkeepers by launching a Free Plan.
- July: Two project teams from Victoria university third year Information Management students come to help us. Team Papa look at our SaaS website, and Team Oscar look at improving the profile set up process. ACC list 2Shakes as a way of getting authority to act on their website. Mike presents to NZBAI in Auckland and we are included in XU magazine. Global Front Room list us as a Start Up to watch.
- August: Our team grows a little more! Caiwei Lin, a Masters Student from Auckland University joins our team as to help with development as an Intern. Corey joins to help as a Researcher. 2Shakes get a stand for the Xero Roadshow and the MYOB partner connect. 2Shakes becomes an official NZ Trade Mark.
- September: One of our goals from the beginning of the year is realised when we release an international version of 2Shakes. Without any advertising we get clients sign up in 6 different countries, Whoa!
- October: Work on versioning & blockchain continue. 2Shakes releases sign on paper and improves the agreement dashboard. 2Shakes explores tenancy bond as a case study of how our tech could be used for other government processes.
- November: 2Shakes are invited to talk about AML to CAANZ in Masterton. 2Shakes develop technology for Identity Verification and Beneficial Owners. But delay release to wait for DIA release their updated Identity Standard.
- December: 2Shakes releases 2-Factor Authentication to improve security. Westpac Innovation Fund agrees to help 2Shakes with our AML project and to explore setting up authorities for Westpac bank accounts for professional intermediaries.
So what next? In the start up world “….If you can just avoid dying, you’ll be successful. That sounds like a joke, but it’s actually a pretty good description of what happens in a typical startup.”
2Shakes started out with an aim of automating authorities across a range of government and private organisations. We have done this for every type of organisation we aimed for – except for Banks! All this changes next year, when we will get a chance to work with Westpac to look at how we could do this!
At our core 2Shakes passion has been to join up Government services, using cool tech, that gives New Zealanders control.
2019 – bring it on! It is going to be an interesting year for 2Shakes – watch this space!