Thomas Mitchell, who was recently named Young IT Professional of the Year at ITx2016, joins us to share a bit of info about Hunchbuzz.

Tom Mitchell

What does being a local NZ company mean to you?
Being a local NZ company means we are an active player and supporter of all things New Zealand. We obviously want to improve and drive our own business however growing and making the tech ecosystem better for others is a huge focus for us as well.

How has technology changed our relationships in your everyday world?
We’re a global, export driven company who (even at our early stage) make around 70% of our revenue from overseas. In the past developing such relationships with customers all over the global would have been next to impossible unless we were larger and more established. We also cherish the ability to frictionlessly exchange the use of our service for income and compete against the big overseas players in a more equitable fashion.

What’s the biggest business lesson you’ve learnt?
It’s important to make sure that everyone you work with whether it be customers, employees or partners share your values otherwise it will inevitably create issues down the line.

Why did you get involved with NZRise?
We believe that a big part of growing a successful New Zealand is to have technology play a dominant role in our economic growth. The focus on raw commodities is having significant effects on our ecology and it’s also unclear how long we’ll be able to rely on this to drive growth in exports. We also want to create and grow a good, respected and socially conscious company as well as be a player in a vibrant ecosystem that supports new companies.

What problem does your company solve and for whom?
We help managers engage their staff and solve problems through the wisdom of the crowd. The challenges that almost every business or organisation has can probable be solved by tapping into the employees and key stakeholders who know your business best. We’re constantly inspired by the ways in which our customers have grown their businesses, increased efficiency and engagement while also saving costs through collecting, managing and implementing the ideas of their crowds.

What do you find most challenging about being a NZ company?
There is truly no substitute for meeting your customers face to face. While we’ve had great success in selling software to customers we’ve never met we do still find that we need to somehow meet our larger customers face to face and being at the bottom of the world is challenging. We also support customers in multiple timezones so it isn’t unusual for us to be woken up by issues or to provide support to our VIP customers. Travel also takes up a significant amount of our time and expenditure which is a constant challenge to manage.

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