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
Founders: Melanie Lynn and Niamh Buchanan
Can you tell us a bit about your business?
We are on a mission to enable healthier New Zealanders by delivering a marketplace for last minute health and wellness appointments.
We are putting the power in people’s hands to prioritise their health and wellness. We’re flipping the script on endless Google searches, phone calls and practitioner waitlists, all barriers to securing much needed appointments.
WellNow offers appointments for physiotherapy, chiropractic, osteopathy, massage, acupuncture, podiatry and hand therapy. We aggregate availability across multiple booking systems – like the Airbnb of healthcare. We offer ACC and private appointments, users can see what is available right now, search and book in under a minute on our site.
We provide a new funnel of customers for practitioners which means incremental revenue as they are able to fill last minute gaps and cancellations, and it means consumers can get treated more quickly, it’s a win/win.
What’s the backstory for your business idea?
Our cofounder Niamh suffered burn out a couple of years ago. Her doctor recommended putting some sustainable wellness practices in place and therefore she found herself needing to book physio and massage appointments. Doing this around a busy work schedule and caring for her kids proved difficult. When unexpected gaps in her schedule did occur, she couldn’t find appointments to suit, and she thought ‘it shouldn’t be this hard’.
From this frustration, WellNow was born. We have been operating in Christchurch for six months, and we are now expanding nationwide.
What programmes, learning or mentoring, or resources have been of assistance so far?
We have been lucky to participate in a few accelerator and incubator programmes across Australia and New Zealand that have helped us along the startup journey.
- Blackbird Giants – great for early-stage ideas. The programme offers relevant content, access to mentors, and peer to peer connections.
- Founder Catalyst – great for businesses starting to generate revenue. Amazing office space, network and event/speakers.
- SODA Rise Up – great for female founders at all stages. Connections to like-minded founders, network, and introductions to investors.
We have also experienced a lot of benefit from having a direct mentor whilst we were tackling specific problems. Sometimes it helps to have an outside perspective, to sense check thinking, provide a fresh take, or just some reassurance.