Beta & Beyond Innovation Series Hops the Ditch Posted at 0:00, Mon, 28 September 2015 in Industry Insights

After a series of successful events in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and recently Singapore, we felt it was a good time to cross the Tasman to debut Beta & Beyond (B&B), our event series in partnership with Accenture. I was fortunate enough to get back to New Zealand – the motherland – for a week in the City of Sails after working closely with Tom Osborne of Accenture Digital to present an informative and engaging first showing of B&B in Auckland.

Snapdragon Bar in the Viaduct Harbour served as a perfect venue for our relaxed and informal session, we were housed in a private room that was entered through a classic revolving bookcase and after some welcome drinks and introductions we settled down to hear from Tom on what Accenture Digital were up to before moving onto our first speaker, Victor from Aura.

Aura is a data and beacon driven in-store customer experience play which uses publicly available information to enable the interaction of customers on a one-to-one, personalised basis. Currently testing with the Bank of New Zealand, Victor gave a good example where a customer might have a good (or bad) experience on the phone, tweet about it then head into the branch. Based on Aura’s technology when that customer enters the bank the teller is alerted to that customer’s name and gives them one line of specific data relating to the earlier experience they can lead with to enhance the interaction.

Up next and providing a buffer between the two very closely named startups was Aaron from NPS SaaS platform AskNicely. Seeing a gap in the market around instant, real time and simple customer feedback surveys delivered online, Aaron and his co-founder John crafted the idea for AskNicely over a few beers (as all great ideas are) and then formed and grew the business out of John’s backyard shed. AskNicely customer feedback surveys are very easy, one question survey sent through email to a customer immediately after their interaction with a business. The idea here is to gather instant feedback and deliver this to the person concerned so they can act accordingly in real time. AskNicely are growing fast and being used by companies all over the globe.

Finally we had Tom from Auror who have had a recent name change and rebrand from Eyedentify. Whilst the first two speakers focused on improving customer experience post an event, Auror exists to enhance experiences through prevention. Born out of an original idea of creating “Facebook for criminals”, Auror is a cloud based platform to tackle the billion dollar industry of retail crime by helping shop owners and the police through a simplistic reporting tool and the delivery of key information to help stop crime. Tom ran us through a great case study that showed a massive decrease in crime from a repeat offender from the use of the platform. This person had committed 44 crimes over a 12-month period, the first six saw 22 offences resulting in a loss of c$20K for the retailer. The following six on the Auror platform saw 22 crimes produce a loss of c$500!

All in all it was an awesome event with a number of leading New Zealand companies being introduced to some locally-grown solutions solving worldwide problems. Bringing these two scenes together is the name of the game and the exact purpose behind running B&B. What often gets overlooked and perhaps is the most valuable thing is how much the startups get out of seeing each other share their story, challenges and successes. It felt like everyone left energised having taken away at least one new insight which is all we ever ask for! Stay tuned for future B&B events in the land of the long white cloud.
Please see below for more information on the speakers and feel free to reach out and connect if you think they could help your business in any way.


Victor Yuen, Aura
Aura addresses a problem that banks are facing in today’s digital world. Customer expectations around customer experience are rapidly increasing and customers want everything to be faster, easier and more personalised.

Aaron Ward, AskNicely
AskNicely is a SaaS platform for growing businesses to increase customer retention and referrals using the Net Promoter Score frameworks (the world’s leading measure of customer loyalty). Already getting some global traction, 80% of revenue outside NZ, interest from Google.

Tom Batterbury, Auror
Auror is a cloud-based platform that helps retailers and police prevent and reduce retail crime. Auror removes the complexity from the crime-reporting process, connects the dot on repeat offenders, and transforms information into real-time actionable intelligence that can be used to prevent crime rather than react to it.


Matt Smith works in MitchelLake’s Melbourne office and leads the Australian team for MitchelLake Consulting, working with an awesome team of humans who source talent across emerging technology, experience and service design, product, digital marketing, growth, data science and analytics.

Matt’s domain expertise leans towards hiring senior roles in experience and design and he enjoys the balance of working with fast growth, early stage organisations and larger scale companies going through digital transformation and the unique challenges they both bring.

Originally from New Zealand, Matt spent time living in the UK before moving to Melbourne where he enjoys playing basketball, rearing indoor plants and incredible access to some of the world’s best coffee.