Entrepreneurs Club: Derek Handley

Tonight I attended the UoA’s Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning Entrepreneurs Club which hosted Derek Handley, cofounder of the mobile marketing company, The Hyperfactory which recently sold to Meredith for a speculated $70million.

As with most events like this I am always interested in any key takeaways/ learnings. Below are those from tonight:

  • When do you know you’re an entrepreneur? When people you regard as entrepreneurs, refer to you as one too.
  • An entrepreneur’s career doesn’t really progress, it goes up, down and around in circles
  • Derek wants to get as many young individuals to adopt a entrepreneurial career path/ lifestyle. That is one of his goals over the medium term.
  • A clear communicated vision is what held the business together, kept it moving in the right direction even when they were venturing away from the original plan. A vision should be something organic that cannot be realised in the short term.
  • Derek does not side with using NZ as a test bed for your product before moving it overseas.
  • When  businesses raise a lot of capital they tend to spend it to carelessly and quickly. Businesses work better when money is scarce and they are forced to spend it wisely. However start-ups never raise enough capital.
  • Sequoia Capital released a ppt at the start of the credit crunch to its portfolio companies instructing them batten down the hatches and prepare for a tough road ahead http://www.slideshare.net/eldon/sequoia-capital-on-startups-and-the-economic-downturn-presentation.
  • New Zealand never really benchmarks itself on a global level whether that be entrepreneurs or their businesses. Derek benchmarks himself against Mark Zuckerberg. Benchmarking the Hyperfactory against American companies = it is a little blip, a stepping stone to developing a much larger company, the attitude of ‘nice try mate, what’s next’
  • Time – you have nothing to lose when you graduate. Great time to give being an entrepreneur a go. The longer you wait, the more barriers that come along e.g. as you move you way up the corporate ladder your lifestyle gets better and therefore if you try to start-up then , you have more to lose. If it all goes to shit, its not a big fall.
  • Need storytellers (entrepreneurial endeavours) mixed in with the university curriculum. Because NZ doesn’t have that many, fly them in from the US.
  • Kea v2.0. Currently Kea is great for meeting corporate executives which is great if you’re say..looking for a job in the US. However there is limited use for individuals seeking advice for setting up a business. It needs an entrepreneurial edge to it.
  • Companies that are further away from break even demand a higher valuation from VCs and are more likely to get funded. They get valued against revenue rather than EBIT (Graeme –i think?)
  • Using channel partners. The Hyperfactory initially sold their products/ services to advertising agencies who required it for their clients. Agencies outsourced this because they simply didn’t have the capability given it was a new industry. However as the agencies grew and the technology became more mainstream, the agencies started to build their capabilities in this space and therefore actually becoming a competitor to the Hyperfactory. As a result of this progression the Hyperfactory shifted to direct to end user rather than through a channel partner.



Graeme @ graemefielder.com


One response to “Entrepreneurs Club: Derek Handley

  1. Thanks for this post G. I couldn’t make it and this post has been useful.
    Take care

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