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, his thought process was about making his own self-employed life a bit easier by removing layers of financial admin.
But James believes a key reason for the company’s rapid and continued success is managing to come up with a game-changing business solution while in Wellington.
Originally from the UK, James says he 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 was what 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 and Hnry has rapidly become New Zealand’s fastest-growing tax agent and is looking at how to take their self-employed solutions global.
“In less than two years we’ve gone from one person unpaid full-time 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, the fact that 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.”
Not to mention that Hnry is growing and scaling at the same time as a number of Wellington start-ups in the fintech (Financial Technology) space.
James says the fintech and investment communities are collaborating in ways that you just don’t see happening anywhere else.
“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?”
And as for their ever-growing staff, James says continually having fresh perspectives come on board means they’re able to adapt quickly to the growing needs of their team.
This includes things like being made aware of how spread out meetings were throughout the day. Once it was brought up, it was decided 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."