Since winning Startup Weekend Wellington in August 2014 Banqer has been on a roll.
Banqer makes learning fun and easy, providing educators with virtual banking tools and resources to increase financial literacy in the classroom. Since August, Banqer launched a pilot into several New Zealand schools in October, and then did a public launch in February. Just a few weeks later they won BNZ Start-up Alley at Webstock 2015.
We caught up with leader and co-founder Kendall Flutey to talk about her Startup Weekend experience.
What do you remember about your experience at Startup Weekend?
I remember a lot of emotions (not all positive) over a very condensed period of time. I remember meeting awesome people, being fed amazing food and feeling a part of something really special. One thing I don’t recall much of is sleep…
What did you learn?
Startup Weekend taught me, as it’s name implies, a lot about startups in a very condensed amount of time, however I don’t think that these were the most valuable learnings to come out of startup weekend. That prize has to go to learning about myself, how to work under deadline, how to cope with a large team of people with very little sleep and also, how we should appreciate what can be achieved in a weekend.
What happened to Banqer after you won that Startup Weekend?
Following Startup Weekend the Banqer team decided that we had started something pretty special and didn’t really want it to stop at the weekend. Four out of seven from the weekend had the time to commit to Banqer, so that’s exactly what we did (we also found another team member who inspired the original idea pitched). We settled into roles and got to work. We put a lot more time into our Lean Canvas (a tool we learnt about at SW) and polished our MVP before trialling Banqer in our pilot classes. We gained support from a whole bunch of awesome organisations including KPMG, The Young Enterprise Trust, N4L as well as working with the sorted.org cluster group. This all culminated in our launch in term one of this year. We’re now in classes all over NZ and are working on making Banqer the best it can be for as many students as possible.
Were there any particular contacts you made that have made a difference in your career?
Certainly. The whole Startup Weekend community is an extremely supportive one, and I say with confidence that we wouldn’t be poised where we are without them. In particular, Dave Moskovitz has been a real mentor for myself and the team. The whole team at Creative HQ have been amazing, and extremely generous. And I guess on a more personal level, my team. We were a bunch of strangers on the Friday night and now I know them all extremely well and am inspired by them daily.
What was the biggest surprise for you at Startup Weekend?
The willingness of others to help us on our quest over the weekend. I called up about 15 school teachers, all of whom were happy to chat on a Saturday afternoon about our idea and whether it would work in their classroom. Not only teachers, but the wider education community as well as commercials. I remember Sam was constantly on the phone to executives, tech consultants, and educational advisors, all willing to contribute to what was at the time a few hundred lines of code and a fuzzy idea. It’s a pretty exciting feeling.
How has Startup Weekend influenced your career so far?
It’s really broadened my experience as a developer. Although I adopted more of the role of project manager on the weekend, leaving the coding to Ben and Josh, I was able to liaise between the”techs” and the “non-techs”. This has been great in generating personal awareness of how to include business concerns (or at least be mindful of them) into my development. I’ve also had the opportunity to do some things that will very much so improve my career as a developer, like attending this years Webstock conference.
What kind of developers benefit from attending Startup Weekend?
What would you advise developers who are heading to their first Startup Weekend
Decide with your team on a reasonable MVP (if you’re going to have one). Ship regularly, anything you can make in a weekend is pretty awesome. Share your skills with others. A lot of people who don’t code think what we do is magic so why not spread the love and take 10 mins out to teach someone something. Most of all though, go with a really open mind. You may sign up on the Friday night to one thing and be shipping something completely different on Sunday afternoon. This is fine, it just means a whole heap more learning has taken place!
Any last words?
Startup Weekend takes a lot of different forms for different people. Some people go to experience/understand startups, some go to understand themselves, and others go to start a persisting potential business. The first thing I did with my team was find out why they had come along. Do the same and support them towards achieving what they want from the weekend. It’ll make the whole weekend really meaningful and enjoyable for everyone.
Thanks Kendall, and best of luck to the Banqer team!