In Founder Focus we introduce entrepreneurs and change-makers working on innovative startups, social enterprises and SME’s around Aotearoa New Zealand.

At a glance

Founder: Steph Kennard

Business: Bonnet

Founded: 2019

HQ: Bay of Plenty

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

Bonnet is a free app for drivers to manage their WOF, COF (for heavy vehicles), REGO, and service due dates. It also displays paid diesel mileage with NZTA (RUCs). Drivers simply input their number plate, and Bonnet instantly retrieves NZTA data showing them all their due dates.

Mind-blowingly, over half of drivers fail to renew their (WOF) on time, contributing to unsafe roads. Additionally, more than a third of drivers don’t renew their (REGO) on time.

Since our launch in March, we now have over 50,000 vehicles managed on the platform. This is a staggering achievement, especially considering ERoad manages 112,000 and Navman manages 52,000. We experienced an amazing organic launch and received a significant amount of press starting from the second week, propelling us to the top spot on the App Store, surpassing Google, Tik Tok, and even Auckland Transport in our third week!

Bonnet is beneficial for everyday drivers, but it has truly taken off for fleets. Surprisingly, there was not a single tool to handle vehicle REGO, WOF, or RUCs, and everyone was relying on spreadsheets. Therefore, we are addressing a major pain point for fleets.

We started as an app, and I am excited to announce that we are launching our web platform next month with many more features, including odometer tracking, RUC purchasing (which is timely, as electric vehicles will need to pay RUC from April 1st next year), tyre tread tracking, and much more.

What’s the backstory for your business idea?

Whilst working at Fiat Chrysler, I observed a significant number of drivers consistently forgetting to renew their licenses at our service centres, it became evident that forgetfulness was a major factor. This motivated me to create Bonnet, aiming to tackle the various challenges related to vehicle administration.

Through Bonnet, my goal is to improve road safety, streamline vehicle administrative tasks, and offer a valuable app that saves people time and stress.

What programmes, learning or mentoring, or resources have been of assistance so far?

  • I’m currently in the initial stages of our pre-seed fundraising.
  • My podcast rotation is dominated by shows centered around fundraising! One standout is ‘The Raise’, a collection of real-life stories about successful raises.
  • ‘The Diary of the CEO’ is another favourite for its inspirational content, featuring a wealth of compelling tales from great businesses.
  • I’m also fortunate to have a handful of accomplished mentors in the automotive industry. Their insights have been beyond valuable.


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