Singapore… Slinging into Startups! Tech in Asia Conference 2018


Post written by Tim Oliver, CEO - InvestaMatch

We were lucky enough to be invited by Startup Dunedin to join a delegation from Dunedin to attend the Tech in Asia Conference in Singapore.

The conference was a collection of up and coming tech startups in the Singaporean region, venture capital groups, existing businesses in the tech space and speakers from global tech giants.

It wasn't only about showcasing the startup businesses looking for investors, there were investor speed dating sessions, networking sessions, specialised business round-tables and three stages of back-to-back seminars covering everything from Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Influencer Marketing, Sales Cycles, Recruitment, B2B, B2C, Legislation, Machine Learning, Hyper-Liquidity, Intelligent Transportation, Bootstrapping and Growth Stage Funding

If we didn’t know what any of the above meant before the trip… we sure do now!

What an experience! I honestly believe that from the conversations, learning and connections I made in the two days attending the conference, I’ve gained a 15% increase in intelligence… at least! (…not that the baseline was all that high to start with…).

We were also given a tour of the spaces (an entire city block!) that the Singaporean government have designated to the support and encouragement of startup businesses. This was literally a city block of buildings 4-5 stories high, full of startup businesses and the supporting services that they all need to get off the ground and succeed… all paid for by the government.

What did I learn…? Obviously, the Singaporeans see the value of tech startups and their potential to contribute to the economy in a big way. In a world where manufacturing, labour intensive and ‘middle man’ jobs are increasingly being lost to advances in technology, the Singaporean government are investing in the businesses that are creating jobs in the technology sector. 

New Zealand needs to learn from Singapore – not only about the technology sector, but in the outright recognition and acceptance that things are changing. We need to make sure that NZ businesses and workers are prepared for what’s around the corner. I encourage everyone to learn about the technology that surrounds them and how technology is going to affect businesses, jobs and lives.

Recognition and massive thanks to Startup Dunedin, especially Casey Davies-Bell, Scott Mason and Sarah Ramsay, along with Aleks Dahlberg from Kitt – all fantastic travel companions and champions of the City of Dunedin NZ.

Startup Showcase: InvestaMatch with Tim Oliver

Tim 04.jpg

Angus Pauley Interviews Tim Oliver from Investamatch on his mission of connecting investors and entrepreneurs at scale. 

InvestaMatch helps businesses to achieve their goals by allowing them to promote their need to ‘Investors’ who have the resources to help, whether those resources are money, advice or key industry knowledge and relationships. When businesses are looking to grow, diversify or if they are looking to sell up immediately or over a period of succession, InvestaMatch promotes the need of the business with their membership of Investors on the InvestaMatch platform. If an Investor wants to know more about the opportunity, the Investor initiates contact with the business.

What were you doing before Investamatch?

I was and still am a mortgage and insurance advisor. I've got my own business in Dunedin, First Mortgages NZ and Oliver Financial Planning Ltd. And so, we help first home buyers to get lending from the banks and sort out their Kiwisaver so that's the deposits and the home start grants, and help people to go through the process of buying and house, and life and health and covering mortgage protection covers.

Was there a particular a-ha moment in which you came up with the idea for InvestaMatch?

The idea that was actually presented to me by Sarah at Immersion who was doing work for the co-owners. They asked to me to come on board to be the face of the business and to be the business development manager. 

Who's part of the InvestaMatch team?

Sarah, myself and also Nathan. They're more the marketing department. We've got our legal advice as well. I've also got an admin person help me on the occasion as well. It's really kind of four people directly involved.


If you could recruit anyone to the InvestaMatch team tomorrow, who would you choose?

I'm interested in Nadia Lim, she's got good experience and good profile. She's a young person, people know her and I think there's probably a level of trust that's associated with New Zealand businesses, New Zealand startups.

I feel like she's been there, done that and I quite like her as a business person. What they've done; she knows how to push something to succeed and how to innovate. We're talking about a whole industry; she's changing the way people eat and how people shop. I just really like the general feeling of what they're doing and I suppose the entrepreneurship of their concept with how they've gone about it.

Tell us about your FoundX Startup Showcase experience?

Foundx was put in front of me by Sarah and I did some of my own research online. Startup Dunedin has come up with a great concept in the showcase. It puts the guys who have the experience and the cash, and the know-how, directly in front of everyone which is perfect.

That's what Investamatch is looking to do, just on a much bigger scale. We'll be using Foundx as a spring board and using our contacts from then, over the next few weeks. 

Plus Dean Hall was really good. It's probably crucial for ongoing events to have someone that is open and candid and quite a likeable type of person to get up and speak. Dean demystified what he really does; there's no magic about it, he makes video games. Makes video games that, people like to play. The growth of Rocketwerkz and the story behind it was great. 

How do people currently solve the problem that InvestaMatch solves?

Crowdfunding or they put the opportunity onto TradeMe, at least in a business selling type of scenario. Then there's word of mouth, through advisors, accountants, lawyers or investment guys; any kind of business and buyers might have a ... database of clients that are looking to invest or have opportunities to invest with. It's quite an insular type of scenario. 

What's the toughest part of building a digital product?

Just the cost of getting it up and running.

I'm a relationships guy. I can talk to people, get an understanding, help them with their problems. Not knowing the ins and out of the's frustrating but I mean that's not for everyone. So yeah, probably comes back to the cost of getting things set up and doing it properly. But if you want to, anything worth doing is worth doing properly. It's not really begrudging it but it's just one of those things you need to do before you see any cash coming in.

What advice would you give a startup getting involved in an area that can have tricky legislation?

Get good advice. Get good advice and take good advice.

Understand where your value is within that industry. That could change, the more you learn about the industry, the more that you understand the industry, the more you'll be able to recognize where the opportunities are. It's just about finding where your value is and being able to innovate to solve those problems and to be able give more value in that industry.

Do you have any odd habits?

I'm a very, very early riser. People ask me what time I get up and I tell 'em I'm up at 4:00am. I get sideways looks and gasps at that, incredulity, disbelief.

Maybe my girlfriend might tell you something different but I couldn't; that would be the worst or the strangest one.

If you could put anything on a billboard that would be seen by millions of people what would you choose?

It's all about being grateful. Just be grateful for what you have. Just be grateful for your family, be grateful for your friends, and be grateful for your health. I wake up every morning and just make sure I give thanks for the people around me and what I've got in my life. If you're grateful then that goes up, outwards and if you can project gratitude, then you're gonna get it back.




The Distiller Resident Showcase: Kitt with Aleks Dahlberg

Aleks Dahlberh - Co-founder of property management software, Kitt.

Aleks Dahlberh - Co-founder of property management software, Kitt.

Angus Pauley interviews "Co-founder and Dark lord Sauron"  of Kitt; Aleks Dahlberg, on everything from AI to the heart warming speeches of Bernard Hill and Viggo Mortense.

Kitt is property management software which simplifies property management for landlords and investors. They make communicating with tenants, maintenance, expenses, tracking rent and finances easy and inexpensive. Kitt is built on top of an AI driven banking API and harnesses leading automation software which allows them to do it all.

What were you doing before Kitt

Kitt has been multiple things. It actually started off as a product called Venturestay (or Wonderstay, you decide), which was sort of similar, but for landlords who rent specifically to working-tourists. It turned into a similar platform called Stayrs. However, after we became more serious and met with serious people - we saw the problem vividly and pivoted to Kitt.

Before that?

Previously I made a bunch of not-so-great web products that didn’t do much, and ran another web-design/graphic company to keep myself afloat. I also did another ‘start-up’ called Haggle with Kitt’s current CTO, David, back in 2014 (I think). That didn’t really go anywhere. 

And before that?

Before start-ups I was up to no good; just being a piece of work really. I knew I always wanted to run my own companies but delayed it to focus on causing trouble.


Was there an 'a-ha' moment in which you came up with the idea for Kitt? 

There was no ‘a-ha’ moment. I don’t even remember starting it. The first I thing I remember is Sam and I building it. That’s all I recall.

How did you come across The Distiller?

I first heard of The Distiller after Startup Weekend 2015. I came in a couple of times, but I didn't make much use of it then, which was probably unwise since the last 6 months here have been great!

What does the start of your day look like at The Distiller

I set up my laptop and then go through scribbles I made on a piece of paper the night before; reading my thoughts and to-dos. Then I remember I've already written them in my note book and procede to make a coffee.

How do people currently solve the problems Kitt solves?
Through either a pad and paper (which I am not against at all), or by using property agencies which are probably on average 500% more expensive than Kitt per month. 

How did you plan those initial conversations with landlords and property investors? Do people generally fear AI, or have you found it a good talking point?
To be honest when we first started talking to people, we winged it. Eventually, we knew what to talk about. 

In regards to AI: People like hearing the acronym AI, that’s all I’ve noticed.

How did you meet your team for Kitt
Good question.

Sam, I went to Highschool with. He was the only person I knew who did any web stuff outside of school. Naturally, we developed a bond.

David, I met through the PC game Counterstrike. We were in the same server and I asked if anyone knew how to code. Eventually, I got to know him.

Eugene, I met when I was working for someone else. He came in for a job interview. I met up with him afterwards and convinced him to work for me instead (for no money).

Scott, I have been friends with since highschool. He’s my flatmate now and is contracting to do some minor coding as well as clean up our messy front-end.

If you could recruit one famous person to the Kitt team, who would you recruit and why?

Probably Bernard Hill or Viggo Mortensen to give us heart warming, motivational speeches from The Lord of the Rings adapted to fit Kitt.

Something like the below:

This explains the second language listed on your Linkedin Profile. 
Correct! Sindarin is one of the Elven languages in Tolkien’s Arda (Lord of The Rings). 

@aleksdahlberg - Gram 1

@aleksdahlberg - Gram 1

You have an impressive Instagram boasting over 4000 followers. We've cherry picked a couple of images for you to give some more context to - can you explain these grams?
I post images on Unsplash and they often get posted elsewhere - that's where most of my followers have come from.

The first one (top left) is Seane (my girlfriend) contemplating a triple back-flip off of the rock at Tunnel Beach fully clothed - which is impressive.

@aleksdahlberg - Gram 2

@aleksdahlberg - Gram 2

The second (bottom left) is a piece of ice I found at Mackenzie that had scratches in it resembling the outline of the mountains in the foreground.

What would you caption this article when we share it on Instagram to make it go viral?
“Please don’t let this go viral” - post the question as well.

What’s next on the horizon for Kitt?
We are launching sometime in January. We're also raising funds again in the next few months.

And finally, if you could put anything on a billboard what would you choose? 
Some glue, so someone can attach some advertising to it.