Wellington helps fintech thrive says Hnry CEO
Financial tech entrepreneur and rebel CEO James Fuller shares how Wellington's collaborative tech community spurred on their success
When James Fuller started working on the idea which would later become Hnry, New Zealand’s fastest-growing tax agent, it was about making his own self-employed life easier by removing layers of financial admin.
But James believes a key reason for the company’s rapid and continued success is coming up with a game-changing business solution while in Wellington.
Originally from the UK, James and his other self-employed colleagues realised just how much of their time was spent managing their finances, despite already having an accountant and accounting software available to them. But the start-up community in Wellington made them realise just how big Hnry could be.
“I wouldn’t have been exposed to the level of enthusiasm that I think this environment has.”
Two years on Hnry has become New Zealand’s fastest-growing tax agent and is looking at how to take its self-employed solutions global.
“In less than two years we’ve gone from one person unpaid fulltime to 16 people. And we seem to be continually hiring which is an exciting thing,” James says.
While there are challenges that come from scaling up, James says there’s no better place to grow than Wellington.
Our ethos is all about creating a place that people want to work in.
James Fuller, Hnry
“We couldn’t imagine basing this business anywhere else other than Wellington. For us the talent is here, and we can have an office in the centre of the city where none of our staff have to commute for more than half an hour to get there.”
And Hnry is growing and scaling alongside a number of Wellington start-ups in the fintech (financial technology) space.
The fintech and investment communities are collaborating in ways that you just don’t see happening anywhere else, says James.
“There’s nothing better than talking to someone else who’s going through the same thing,” he says.
“And there’s actual collaboration past the point of catch-ups. We’re looking at how do our businesses work together, what do we offer customers by joining up and how do we share how we’re doing things internally?”
As for its ever-growing staff, James says continually having fresh perspectives on board means they’re able to adapt quickly to the growing needs of the team.
This includes the likes of being made aware of how spread out meetings were throughout the day. Now all in-house meetings are held in the morning, giving staff the afternoon for a solid block of work.
“As a group we’ve worked places we’ve really enjoyed working in and we’ve all worked places where we really haven’t."