In the lead up to the upcoming Startup Grind Auckland we managed to corner the next speaker, a man by the name of Carl Thompson, to answer five questions we have been pondering. If the name is not familiar you may know the business that Carl co-founded called Trade Gecko. Carl and the other founders moved to Singapore to grow their business in the premier technology accelerator, JFDI. Trade Gecko raised over $8million USD and built a global customer base in over 100 countries.


Many kiwi startups are focussed on San Fran for growth. What is your view on that, especially given your experience in Singapore?

San Fran is known as startup mecca, and other options are easily overlooked. San Fran is extremely competitive and seems to be a buyer's market with opportunity weighted towards the investors more than the startups. Asia is the other way around, with quantity of capital struggling to stretch over good investments. 


What can organisations do to support the startup eco-system in NZ better? And how can we help our homegrown businesses spread their wings overseas?

What startups need is capital and good mentors who have actually done a startup before. Both seem to be lacking in NZ, we seem to be a generation behind. For example, San Fran has had many entrepreneurs who have started, exited, and now assist the next generation. Organisations need to empower and usher those who have exited into mentoring the up-and-comers.  


What does success for a kiwi startup look like to you? And what do you think will be key to us achieving this as an eco-system? 

Success is completely subjective, but to me it would be creating a global business that impacts it’s community in a meaningful way. 

Creating a strong meaningful WHY creates the ethos that will carry through everything the company does. Product, marketing, and internal culture. It’s something that is easily overlooked and underestimated.


Why should we head along to hear you talk at Startup Grind?

I’ve been there, I’ve done it. I think I have good advice to offer. I’m opinionated, passionate, and it’s hard to shut me up. So I guess that makes for an interesting talk. 


What is the best thing you have seen on the internet this month? Give us a link. 

Donald Trump fascinates me in a “OMG I can’t believe people like this actually exist” kind of way. Also anything with cats.
 


See more from Carl at the next Startup Grind Auckland on Wednesday the 29th of June. Can't come along? Follow our twitter account on the night for updates. 

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