Want to tap in to the best startup advice from entrepreneurs who are out there doing it? Welcome to ‘500 Founders’ where we ask innovators from around New Zealand for their top insights for first time startup founders.

500 Founders

Sophie Silver – cofounder


“Take as much time as you can to understand your customer.

“This journey has taken much longer than I expected. At times, I wanted to rush into growth, or engineering, or funding but I’ve discovered that it’s OK if building an amazing product takes time. It was really valuable to take a step back to understand the problem really well by actually talking to the people who we were hoping to sell to. If I were doing this again, this is where I would start: taking the time to understand my customer and their problem exceptionally well.

I’ll add that you need to look after yourself. You are the most important part of your business and there has to be more to your life than building a business even if it doesn’t feel like there should be. Don’t do it alone – be that by finding a cofounder, a mentor, or a community of like-minded people to surround yourself with.

500 Founders

Terry Wen – Founder


“Embrace criticism.”

“We don’t choose to go down the path of being a founder because it’s easy, safe or comfortable. I guarantee you that practically everyone will have had at least one million-dollar idea in their life, but most people prefer taking the path of least resistance because they can’t get over the fear of criticism. You’ll be met with naysayers at every stage of the entrepreneurial journey, and sometimes believe it or not, it may even come from your closest family and friends. So, you need to develop some thick skin if you want to make it in this industry for long.

How many successful startups have I thought were a terrible idea? Dozens! But that’s just one person’s opinion and not the market’s. In New Zealand, the startup community is generally quite supportive. However, we do have a culture of booing when we should be clapping.Your job is to learn to leverage constructive criticism while filtering out the opinions of those who just want to see you fail. This is the necessary mindset to have as a founder, and I believe also gives you an edge to succeed in anything else you set out to do.

500 Founders

Ankita Dhakar – Founder


“Don’t be afraid to take risks and fail.”

“As a founder, you should always be prepared for failure. In fact, you should embrace it. Failure is a natural part of the startup journey, and it’s something that you have to risk if you want to be successful. 

Many people are afraid of failure, but if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to learn how to take risks. Failure is an important part of learning and growing as a founder.

When your idea fails, don’t let it get you down. Pick yourself up and learn from your mistakes. Use them to make your next thing even better.

500 Founders

Aleks Dahlberg – Cofounder


“Be tenacious.”

“Truly experience the low and high points of the journey, and understand that they’re just temporary. This will help you see clearly and maintain focus on your goal for your company, and your journey. It will allow you to cut through noise, make hard decisions, and have hard conversations. Each act of tenacity that you work through is like being gifted  a new set of neurons, helping you navigate your pathway even better.”

Supporter Spotlight: Offers and services from NZ Entrepreneur supporters!


Kindling Collector


KEA Outdoors

You might also like...