Spring 2014 IBD Team New Zealand (Scott Furumoto, Katie Lewis-LaMonica, Peter Trujillo, Kan Yan) is in Auckland working with a technology startup.
The IBD project was a wonderful journey for Team New Zealand. It offered an opportunity to solve a challenging problem, experience the hospitable client company culture, explore stunning wonderlands, and try amazing food!
Our project is a great story about the birth and development of a technology start-up. Our task was to validate the early assumptions of the business idea about a data management solution targeted at investment funds “that integrates and validates multiple data streams, empowering asset managers with accurate data that drives effective decision-making and enables firms to achieve superior returns for customers.” We developed a global go-to-market strategy for the new software solution, and prepared sales and investor presentations to engage potential customers and investors.
The founder of our client company is a passionate and ambitious practitioner who is determined to create a global brand. However, the insights from interviews with US fund managers before we landed in New Zealand signaled that there are huge differences between the technology sophistication among various markets, and that there is much more competition than originally assumed. Our assignment to validate the original global market entry assumptions became a challenge, as we had to convince our client, who has 20+ years of experience in the industry, and who has a successful consulting practice, that some of his original assumptions were incorrect.
Starting from our first day in country, our team proactively reached out to local asset management companies and tried to secure on-site interviews through cold calls! Even today, we still cannot believe that within two weeks, we reached out to 23 local funds and 13 industry experts, and finally ended up with 14 additional interviews!
The interviews and online research, combined with the PFPS-style diverge and converge exercises, helped us reshape the geographic market segmentation. Our thoughtful methodology proved by a sophisticated model and input from industry experts finally helped us win the acceptance of our client.
None of us come from a consulting background so the work style was a new experience for all of us. We worked very hard every day: arrived at the office as early as 8:00am, a client meeting usually up until noon, followed by a debrief, then a lunch in front of the laptop around 2:30pm, and often left as late as 11:00pm to catch the last bus back to the hotel. Our hard work and effective team collaboration led to three well-appreciated final deliverables. Looking back, we really appreciate this experience. We pushed our limits, and cultivated friendships.
Our Client Company
IBD-in-country provided us a great opportunity to learn the local culture. Kiwi’s are hardworking but really enjoy life. They exhibit great work life balance, have a very laid-back atmosphere, and as an aside are extremely open, friendly, and hospitable people. As a technology company, our client has an open floor office space, friendly working environment, periodic entrepreneurial speeches, and weekly community activities. Moreover, the Kiwi wine culture really impressed us! – The wine fridge, weekly wine shipment to the office, and in-office happy hour after close of business.
NZ is in a very strange part of the world, with a big mix of natural beauty in a country the size of California. There are large snowcapped mountain ranges, lots of volcanoes and thermal activity, rolling green hills, wine country, and beaches:
They have a melting pot of Asian culture in Auckland that makes for delicious food everywhere:
In all IBD was a great experience. We learned a lot of hard skills as well soft skills that will surely be very useful in our future. And we also had a lot of fun. It was a LOT of work but we are very proud of what we accomplished and glad we had this experience.