Runway is one of the signature events on the Angel Association NZ calendar and provides founders with the opportunity to network and meet with other investors and founders from around the country.

BNZ Founder Scholarship recipient Eldon Tate attended the AANZ Runway event in Auckland in March.

Eldon is the co-founder of Inhibit Coatings, an antimicrobials company that produces safe, long-lasting protection for people, products, and the environment.

Here, Eldon shares his key learnings for other founders, from the Runway event.

Thanks to AANZ and BNZ I was able to attend the March Runway event. With a stellar line up of panel discussions and an awesome mix of attendees of founders, investors and ecosystem support providers, the day was super valuable as AANZ provided us with an opportunity to learn, connect and grow our networks. 

With the panel discussions led by Vaughan Fergusson, Anna Kominik, Susan Hailey and Greg Cross you knew that you were going to hear great stories, tips and tricks, and lessons learnt. 

They did not disappoint and I found the panels particularly valuable, with attendees able to pick the brains of the entrepreneurs and experts in open and frank discussions. Each panel highlighted the many trials and tribulations that founders face on the journey and created a sense of bonding through adversity.

Amongst the many topics covered, I wanted to highlight a few themes that really stood out to me across all the panels:

  • People, People, People – it’s all about people. A topic that can’t be talked about enough in my opinion. Some of the takeaways are familiar but having real world examples of their value just reinforced the importance of valuing people. Surround yourself with the ones smarter than you and build those networks and relationships.
  • Communication – following on from people, you have to be able to communicate effectively with that amazing network. Open and honest communication is required in all stakeholder engagement, from customers, your team and board. Unexpected events can and will occur, and the ability to communicate through trying times really helps in bringing teams, customers and investors into alignment. It also helps build self-awareness across your team, helping you grow your team and yourself more effectively.
  • Resilience – simply staying on the journey increases the chances of success so make sure you can. Taking steps to ensure you, your team and your support networks can stay in the game are vital. Key to building that resilience is avoiding burn out, allowing you to really keep up that energy for when times get tough.

On top of that, we had further tips on maintaining investment readiness and tracking your company progress in more ways than just revenue and user metrics to tell your story in an elevated way to investors. This can be a great tool to help you find alignment as you carry out due diligence on investors, ensuring you find investors who can add value to the board with their expertise and networks. 

We heard some great examples of focusing on good tech and then getting that good business model right. Importantly assuming your business model is wrong until it works, will help prevent you from being too stubborn. 

The last, most action-packed session of the day featured a speed dating session, the perfect time to lose your voice while growing your network faster than a cheetah.

As a founder, if you’re looking for the perfect balance of learning, networking and connecting with the NZ ecosystem as a whole, get along to the AANZ Runway.

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