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: Polo Umali

Business: YourDate

Founded: 2022

HQ: Auckland

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

YourDate provides a date night package that includes a fully reserved and planned restaurant menu (multiple courses) + custom drinks menu for one of Auckland’s top restaurants, and a special date box, containing questions, activities and games for you to do throughout your night!

No more worrying about, “Is this restaurant worth my money?”, and no more talking about the kids or your jobs or school. Nobody wants to hear the same old conversations.

We’ve partnered with White and Wong’s Newmarket, Soho Thai in Smales Farm, and Regatta Bar and Eatery at Takapuna Beach Front to offer you exclusive menu and a memorable night with our date box.

Here’s how it works:

  1. We send you our date box before your date, with customised questions and activities for your first date or your 100th.
  2. We’ll handle your restaurant reservation, with exclusive multi-course set menus – food and drink pairings included when you buy our package. Experience a walk-in, walk-out, restaurant date night.
  3. We’ve done all the hard work, so all that’s left to do is enjoy a date night that is painless and hassle-free.

What’s the backstory for your business idea?

YourDate was brought to life in Westlake Boys High School Openground, which is a business-focused incubator with mentorship, likeminded people, and life-long skills and knowledge no high-school classroom can ever teach. With a lot of hours after school and working hard on weekends, I wanted to help couples get away from their usual Monday-Friday routine and get to spend some real quality time with each other.

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

Thankfully, I’ve had so much help and advice from so many different people from different backgrounds. From my early mentors, Matt Brock and Ged Campbell to my current supporters and helpers such as Mahesh Muralidhar and his Phase One / startup connections, Mitch Hazelhurst, Bill Smale, Toby Thomas-Smith and honestly the list goes on.

I also want to give a special shoutout to YourDate’s first 100 customers who believed in me since day one, even when I had no idea what I was doing.

I don’t think I could list down all the valuable books and the learnings I’ve gotten, but I think the best advice I could give is to always have a growth mindset. Always be open to learn, to be teachable, and to always look for rooms where you are (possibly) the dumbest. Standing on the shoulders of giants has definitely been a big factor of how I got to where I am, and I know it will continue to help me to where I want to be.


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