Founder/s: Keiran Stokes, Hamish Scott, Bob van de Kuilen
What products, services, solutions or technology have you developed?
We’ve developed technology that makes it really easy for businesses to turn hard-to-get data into information and insights.
We start by connecting to and extracting data from all the weird and wonderful things in your business – think robots, machines, applications, systems, people, and more. We then organise and model that data into messages, sending thousands to the cloud every second, and storing them for future analysis. From there we deliver web applications, reports, or automation to improve your business, cut costs, or innovate.
We like to say we are a factory for making insights – data is our raw material, and actionable insights are our finished goods that we deliver to your fingertips – a digital factory for your business.
WHAT KEY CUSTOMER PROBLEMS OR CUSTOMER “WANTS” DOES YOUR SOLUTION SOLVE?
When you want to know or do something these days, you take out your phone or laptop and the world is at your fingertips instantly. We want people to have that same experience at work. How is production going today? What maintenance should I be doing on my machines right now? What do I need to do to increase the quality of my products? How can I reduce waste? What is the environmental impact of my operations? We should be able to know what we need to know whenever and wherever we are.
Without the right information at the right time, businesses are not able to solve problems or innovate fast enough. Why is this a problem? Because being able to do so in a world that is becoming increasingly more complex will soon be a matter of survival. Digital technology has reached a tipping point, and those embracing it are building businesses that are more resilient and agile. They’re able to deal with events such as the covid pandemic or supply chain constraints, and be flexible enough to adopt game-changing technology when it becomes available, or quickly adjust their strategy when their competitive or buyer landscape changes.
The customers we work with have lots of ideas of how they could improve their operations, but any innovation is blocked when they cannot reliably ask and answer questions about their business. And that’s where we come in. Our expertise is in collecting hard-to-get data and turning that into something useful – truly accessible information that will enable a business to make faster and smarter decisions.
Who and where are your target customers?
Any company that wants to be data-driven in their decision making. New Zealand is our priority at the moment, but we’ll soon be open to the rest of the world.
How and when did you first come up with the idea for your business?
The three founders of Thred (Keiran Stokes, Hamish Scott, and Bob van de Kuilen) had been creating digital solutions for businesses for a long time and felt there was a lack of progress within industry due to failings on both the implementation of technology and the technology itself.
Some of the high-level things we noticed were:
- There is a heap of awesome tech that simply isn’t being utilised by businesses to drive improvement.
- Digital solutions are still very prohibitive for New Zealand businesses from both a cost and capability perspective.
- Most technology providers are running on a “vendor lock-in” model, forcing customers to use only one brand for all their digital solutions.
- Technology is just a tool, not a solution. There are many things that surround technology to make its adoption a success.
So we set out to address these issues – how can we help NZ businesses innovate and improve at speed, and how can we use emerging technology to do it at scale?
What are three things about your business that you are proud of?
- Our projects: Getting runs on the board for our customers is what motivates us every day. It’s a great feeling to see technology that we’ve created be valued by businesses across all kinds of industries.
- Our technology: We like to think we’ve developed some game-changing tech. It’s an adrenaline rush being at the leading-edge, and something that the creatives on our team really enjoy.
- Our people: We are very lucky to have a team of extremely clever and curious people. Thred is nothing without them.
How do you market your business and what advice do you have for others around marketing?
I feel like I’m far more qualified to ask this question than answer it! The early years have seen us with our heads down building technology. Marketing is near the top of our list for 2023. Watch this space!
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in building your business so far?
Something we are still refining, and will continue to refine, is our messaging. It’s one thing to have an idea to solve a problem, but it’s not worth anything if you can’t explain it to somebody. Avoiding esoteric jargon is a real challenge when you’re constantly in the technical weeds.
Furthermore, it’s no longer enough to only explain the problem you’re solving, otherwise your customer will struggle to separate you from your competitors. You need to articulately describe what the world would be like for your customer, should they buy your product. And doing that succinctly is really challenging! As Blaise Pascal once noted, “I’m sorry I wrote you such a long letter; I didn’t have time to write a short one.”
What is the biggest entrepreneur lesson you would like to share with other Kiwis thinking of starting their own business?
Be patient. Understand early on that the overnight success stories are few and far between in the real world. Building a business in emerging technology requires building a team, creating great products, and educating the market.
Story created in partnership with GridAKL.