I was in a meeting the other week with a well-known kiwi, talking to him about our journey with Tend. About half an hour into the meeting he turned around and said something along the lines of, “so instead of you know, getting a yacht and sailing around the Mediterranean, you two decided to take on primary health care in NZ. Crazy!”
It might sound slightly insane, to do what we are doing. I kind of get that. But the old saying rings true “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good
men to do nothing.” (Edmund Burke). Note: Replace men with people.
That might sound extreme to some, but the truth is our children do not deserve to inherit the health system currently put in place for them. It is outdated, dysfunctional and bureaucratic. While equity and access are priorities across the health sector – little is being done to truly move the dial on this.
So that is how Tend ended up becoming our biggest priority. Because our children and in fact all our children of New Zealand don’t deserve to inherit our health system. Let’s repeat that ten times to really let it sink in.
I often get asked, what is it like doing a start-up for the third time? Well, anything you do for the third time tends (excuse the pun) to have benefits. All our businesses have been in completely different categories, childcare, food, and health. Three significant market categories for sure, but all incredibly different.
When we started Au Pair Link, we were charmingly naïve, it is one of those instances that you look back at and think “how the heck did that happen”. We took a notoriously difficult business model, a square peg and beat it into shape to fit into a round hole. It certainly was not easy.
Second time around with My Food Bag we were so much more astute. We had gone through the highs and lows of business. We understood implicitly what we needed to priorities and what was better left for another day.
After we completely sold out of Au Pair Link (who was part of an NZX/ASX listing) and partially sold My Food Bag (2016) we retired as CEOs mid-2018 and it would not have seemed far fetched to simply stop. Retire. Stop and smell the roses. Right?
But 12 months was long enough and then we started our journey for Tend. From our prior experiences we knew three things for sure:
- We will only focus on businesses that make a positive impact on the world
- We will only focus on significant problems and categories
- Lastly and most importantly, we will only work with people who we enjoy working with.
Simple formula, right?
Tend is now very close to launch, with timeframes being slightly moved due to the election. Over the last 2 weeks our team has spent more than 2500 minutes of testing the system (that is half a season of Game of Thrones)!
Last time I checked there was close to 30 of us. Some days I joke and say we are basically spending millions of dollars to keep ourselves in (un-paid) work. It is without a doubt the ultimate passion project, for sure.
And it is not easy. And we still feel the fear of failure. But the saying also goes “Nothing worth having, ever came easy”. So here we are, third time around, weeks out from launch and I could not be prouder and more excited.
For all our children.
They deserve the best health care experiences and Tend will change the way we engage with healthcare for generations to come.