Friday, September 11, 2009

Three Guys at the Edge of the World

I wrote yesterday about the recent YMCA Raise Up N’ Represent in Auckland. In my speech I referenced a startup by three twenty-something guys in Dunedin, a city near the southern tip of New Zealand’s south island. If New Zealand is the Edge of the world, Dunedin is at the Edge of the Edge. And as I’ve written before, the Edge is not a liability. It’s premium territory, and co-founders Jason Leong, Francois Bondiguel, and James Wigglesworth demonstrate that.

Together they developed a personal budgeting program called PocketSmith. There are many services that track your expenses and show your performance meeting budgets and the like. However PocketSmith doesn’t linger in the rearview mirror, it looks forward to forecast your financial future. They already have 6500 customers from 70 countries and partnership deals that will give them massive reach into the US consumer base. For New Zealand, the old way of thinking was that you have to leave the country to make any difference in the world. Not any more.

Three young guys recognized an opportunity and had the guts to take on Silicon Valley. Instead of operating in the typical stealth-mode of early stage startups, they were open about their idea and developed a community around it in a matter of weeks.

As I told the youth at the YMCA event: “Your idea can light up the world. No matter who you are, no matter where you’re from, whether you’re brainy, sporty, nerdy, crazy, some or all of the above.” The road to success is built on ideas. Just ask these three guys from Dunedin.

PS: My other favorite things about Dunedin are Carisbrook, Otago mountains, The Chills, and Sam Neill’s Two Paddock Pinot Noir (ok, that’s Central Otago).

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