Level One Parks Up for International PARK (ing) Day

Level One Parks Up for International PARK (ing) Day

Level One showed that “work” can take place wherever you want it to as it joined in the local celebration of international PARK(ing) Day — an initiative to promote the re-thinking of public space.  The idea is to transform parking bays into liveable and creative spaces, such as mini-parks, playgrounds, reading rooms and workspaces.  Since 2005, this urban activism movement has not only successfully communicated the importance of quality public space to the masses, but also resulted in the permanent replacement of car parks with public parks. 

More than 40 Devonport businesses decamped to local carparks for the day last Friday, with Level One occupying arguably the best “room with a view” beside Windsor Reserve. Local bookstores held reading sessions for children; personal trainers ran sports clinics; while one local architecture firm introduced an element of sculptural irony by occupying a carpark with crushed cars. 

Zero Waste Comes to Devonport

Zero Waste Comes to Devonport

Level One hosted the inaugural community planning meeting of the Zero Waste Devonport initiative recently, thanks in large to the efforts of our very own Simon Millar.  Here’s a blog post on the outcome of the meeting, written by steering group member Jane Walters.  If you want any more info on Zero Waste Devonport, email zerowastedevonport@gmail.com



At Zero Waste Devonport, we believe there’s nothing more unstoppable than when people come together.

The Zero Waste Devonport steering group would like to thank all of you that attended our route planning meeting at Level One on 20th August 2018.

We had a fantastic evening full of engaging conversations and wonderful responses from each of the groups in their discussions.

Since this meeting, the Zero Waste Devonport steering group have formed some feedback information to share with you all.

This group’s mission is to create a local community of individuals who will support the Zero Waste Devonport Steering group, and inspire one another by providing opportunities to network and actively engage in waste minimization projects that will benefit our community.

The Devonport Zero Waste Steering Group are Andrew Walters (Global Action Plan Oceania/  Devonport Community Recycling Center), Jane Walters (GAPO/DCRC), Toni Van Tonder( Devonport Business Association), Maria Teeape ( Devonport Peninsula Trust), Steve MCluckie (Auckland North Community and Development), Simon Millar (Pure Advantage), Tasha Wherle, Megan Franklin and Suzanne Grossweiler. The results are summarised below of our  Zero waste Devonport route plan engagement by votes of attendees at the workshop. ( please see attached document for the full breakdown of the evenings’ discussions).

We would like further engage and encourage you to attend and share your skills at regular zero waste Devonport meetings( possibly at the library TBA) and become an integral part of this zero waste community.

Together we can become better community leaders about zero waste and achieve together some great local outcomes for our community. If you have feedback, questions, or would like to get more involved, email zerowastedevonport@gmail.com to get us started on our route to zero waste by 2040 together.

Emerging zero waste Devonport Priorities (suggested by the votes of the community):

  1. Community-wide zero waste loyalty card    
  2. Refuse plastic in retail / Take packaging back
  3. Celebrate champions
  4. Biodegradable plastic facts (dog poo bags)

Areas of focus (suggested by the votes of the community):

  1. Call for business to do more
  2. Consumer action & packaging  also Loyalty Zero waste
  3. Education & engagement
  4. Avoidance of plastic
  5. Business support
  6. Network & Social Media /Information
  7. Practical waste interventions/ infrastructure   

Food waste service/ composting advice

Recycling Facts sheet


Advice on biodegradable products/ bags, what do they need to break down

Glass/ refill options (e.g. milk)

Tip of week board

Recycling advice

Accessibility to sustainable materials

Celebrate champions & advocates

Composting options

Schools waste programme

Guidance of what can do in the community

information share solutions and advice about common waste minimization problems

Bring people & resources together

Zero waste roadmap/ calendar


Promote Bring own container options Business Awards

Small business support- funding, collective purchasing,

Public recycling bins- local board Loyalty card scheme
Celebrate our history

Navy Compost

Conscious shock / wake up call to action

Biodegradable dog bags

Keep up enthusiasm, Mandate to proceed Synergies Kaipatiki Business case.

Mike Cohen- working group/ support, long-term funding for roles/ activities.


National Coworking Day – It’s a Wrap

National Coworking Day – It’s a Wrap

National Coworking Day came to Devonport last week as part of Techweek18 and Level One HQ threw open its doors to the co-working public.  We were one of more than 30 co-working spaces throughout New Zealand to take part in the event, set up to encourage as many potential, new or existing coworkers to try out New Zealand’s coworking spaces.

Among our visitors, we had Arno, a personal chef and food stylist from Nice, who has worked in five-star restaurants in the South of France and is now based in Auckland where he develops experience-based menus and runs cooking classes for a range of private and corporate clients. His business is all about giving his clients a memorable experience and he says it’s vital for him to connect with people and find out what they like. 

Graham is a Bayswater local who runs his own risk management business and enjoys meeting up with people who are into similar things.   He says the benefits of a co-working space are the commonality of ideas and outlooks, and the interaction with others.  He’s currently dividing his time between a home office and a city base but says it’s good to ground yourself in the “outside world” for a while. 

Lesley is developing her own business and says that it’s “nice to get out of the house and be around other people – it’s refreshing”.  She’s worked in all kinds of different environments but says that co-working is good for interaction and hearing about the interesting things others are doing.  She says that at Level One HQ, instead of commuting to and from the city on the ferry, you get a different perspective sitting above the terminal.  And of Level One HQ, she said, “it’s a beautiful space, well laid out and very professional.”

Level One HQ to Celebrate National Coworking Day, 22 May

Level One HQ to Celebrate National Coworking Day, 22 May

Level One HQ is taking part in National Coworking Day as part of TechWeek next Tuesday, 22 May.  As we did last year, we’ll be throwing open our doors to the public between 9am-5pm that day in order to encourage as many potential, new or existing coworkers to try out New Zealand’s coworking spaces — of which there are many.  Globally, more than 1.2 million people work in coworking spaces; a figure that’s increasing daily.
We’ll put aside some desks to accommodate drop-ins that day, and will wrap things up with an informal Tuesday night drink from 4.30pm.  Feel free to spread the word to friends, family, colleagues and anyone else who you think might benefit from a Level One experience.
Check out the TechWeek listing here.
E-Commerce Explained

E-Commerce Explained

A range of Devonport’s local businesses gathered at Level One recently for a workshop hosted by Simon Lampen and the Devonport Business Association on e-commerce and the benefits of having a web presence in an increasingly seasonal market.


The businesses ranged from long-established retail outlets with a global-facing online presence to self-confessed technophobes who relied on word of mouth to generate new business.  Some had inherited websites with their businesses, but didn’t think they served the needs of their businesses well; others were keen to learn how to maximise online traffic generated by the likes of TripAdvisor and other online reviews.


Simon discussed with the group the benefits of having an online store so that customers that find you can actually buy from you there and then. Also an online presence for those customers who are searching online — giving them the ability to follow the online trail to where they can purchase.  This can be as simple as having a prominent listing via Google Places, or also listing their products on sites like Trademe and other similar sites that perform well in searches. Systems are also important, namely a point of sale system that serves both retail and online purchasing so retailers can keep track of stock at all times and from all outlets without duplicated effort.


The group also discussed ways to build an audience through the establishment of a robust and frequently updated customer database and customer communications such as regular newsletters.  In all of this, customer experience is key.


It’s hoped that the group will meet more frequently, more as a peer support mechanism to discuss common areas of interest and to share best practice.


Finance Industry Ripe for Disruption

Finance Industry Ripe for Disruption

In the second of our weekly series on FinTech Devonport, we speak to Chris Werry, Business Analyst at SecuritEase, a fully integrated front office and back office stockbroking system.  Chris is also a Level One Resident.



What are your views on the state of the NZ FinTech industry?

The finance industry is ripe for disruption with plenty of people making a lot of money clipping the ticket, lots of inefficiencies and now, with Kiwisaver, consistent inflows of investment funds.


However, it is important not to underestimate the challenges facing FinTech startups in NZ. The NZ finance industry is very small, both in absolute and relative sizes (e.g. the ASX market cap is more than twice the size of the NZX per capita despite ASX $1.5 trillion vs NZX $144 billion). The NZ industry is dominated by a few major players which are mostly owned off-shore by the Australian banks and insurance companies. Any innovation in the banks (and there isn’t a lot because they are so large and protected by the Australian regulators) tends to happen in Australia and is shipped to NZ.


However, every challenge is also an opportunity. For example, NZ is dominated by small businesses – 97% of businesses have less than 20 employees – so Xero built a global accounting package on the back of this targeting a sector the big players weren’t interested in.


SecuritEase, the company I work for, has built a profitable business over the last 15 years by building a platform that seamlessly handles all the eccentricities of the NZ and Australian markets, uses commodity hardware and open source software, and a per contract-note licensing model.  Brokers in NZ choose us over our global competitors because our platform is tailor-made to suit their needs, is cheaper and has fantastic local support.


Most of the other successful FinTech startups in NZ I have seen are in the SME or consumer sector eg Vend, Timely, PocketSmith and ShareSight. Again, this shows founders leveraging the positives of a small market.


Where do you see the greatest opportunities for your business over the next year or two years?

For us, it is leveraging the major disruption coming to the Australian sector from the replacement of the ASX clearing and settlement systems (see below for blockchain). Expanding to new markets as their finance sectors mature (e.g. South Africa) and leveraging our existing IP into new market sectors.


Are you expanding your markets overseas and if so, where?

Continuing our focus on Australia and starting to move into South Africa and Europe


What are you currently working on?

Working with customers to expand their product offering and building the technology to support this. Helping customers handle constantly increasing regulatory and compliance requirements eg. FATCA and CRS. We’re also spinning off parts of our product into new stand alone products we can sell to new market



Is blockchain part of your roadmap?

The ASX is replacing their clearing and settlement system with a distributed ledger solution: https://www.asx.com.au/services/technology-solution.htm.  We will be integrating our product with the ASX distributed ledger platform however this approach is relatively controversial: see https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/asx-actually-failure-blockchain-patrick-mcconnell/

Introducing FinTech Devonport

Introducing FinTech Devonport

This week, we start the first of a series on FinTech Devonport.  Increasingly, FinTech is coming to represent technologies that are disrupting traditional financial services, including money transfers and currency conversions, loans, fundraising and asset management. In this series, we meet the disruptors, the innovators and the trailblazers operating in this sector.  Some are Level One residents, others hail from further afield.

Alex Raison, JHC Systems and Level One resident

What are your views on the state of the NZ fintech industry?

The firm I work for, JHC Systems Ltd, is predominantly UK based so it’s interesting to compare the two worlds. NZ is less mature but that means that firms aren’t tied down by legacy software and processes. It’s an exciting time for FinTech everywhere so it will be great to see what comes out of NZ (and Devonport in particular)!

Where do you see the greatest opportunities for your business over the next year or two years?

Over the last few years, we’ve seen technology as the catalyst for explosive growth in every industry, where entrenched businesses suddenly find themselves battling to stay relevant in a world full of billion-dollar startups and finance is no exception.

Over the last few years, JHC has invested heavily in new technologies and products to support the digital transformation of the Wealth Management industry. We’re helping our clients stay relevant, agile and compliant in a world where customers no longer want lunches with their financial adviser while they talk through their portfolio, they want on-demand, interconnected dashboards and visualisations which is something we can help with.

Are you expanding your markets overseas and if so, where?

Traditionally we’ve focused on the UK market but we recently opened an office in Dubai to target the Middle East and we’re currently looking at partnership opportunities in New Zealand and Australia.

What are you currently working on?

In 2017 JHC released our new product, Neon, which is a cloud-based compliance monitoring solution aimed at transforming how Wealth Management firms approach the monitoring of their client’s portfolios. We automate compliance checks to flag problems up immediately rather than this being a manual, time-consuming task run every 3 months or so. Senior management get an up to date picture of the state of their firm, compliance staff can focus on the big picture rather than getting bogged down in the process and investment managers get more timely notifications of problems with their client base.

Is blockchain part of your roadmap?

The core of Figaro, our investment management platform, allows stockbrokers and wealth managers to buy and sell securities on exchanges around the world. Although blockchain seems perfect for disrupting this process where it could remove all the intermediaries between two counterparties, we’ve yet to see any practical way of transitioning from the current settlement systems to a blockchain, so at the moment we have no plans to integrate any blockchain technology. 

On your bike!  Level One’s Latest Resident

On your bike! Level One’s Latest Resident

Karl Woolcott is the living embodiment of why you should follow your passion.  He operates the bespoke cycling tour company Ride Holidays which organises cycling holidays for thousands of lycra-clad Kiwis and Australians, but says it doesn’t feel like work.  RIDE goes everywhere where there are roads:  Italy, Spain, France, Canada, Vietnam Australia — the New Zealand destinations include Wellington and Taupo.   Even though Karl looks as if he’s spent most of his life on a bike, he’s at pains to stress that RIDE’s trips cater for all levels of riding.  His oldest rider so far has been 81 while his youngest riders are teenagers. They also encourage non-biking partners to join their trips; and tailor events and activities throughout the tour to ensure they don’t spend the whole time staring out the window of a minivan.

Karl’s a former travel agent who hails from Hataitai in windy Wellington, so he’s finding life in Devonport relatively calm.  He’s still getting used to the Lake Road traffic but then again, who cares – he’s on his bike!  The bike tours take him overseas around four months of the year, but in his non-travelling months you’ll find him at Level One most of the week.  For the latest on what’s hot in the cycling world, he’s your man.

Conference Hop with a Difference

Conference Hop with a Difference

Vinsight’s Simon Lampen is just back from one of those enviable business trips where you really question how much work was actually done.  His whistle-stop, ten-day tour of the US included a visit to UC Davis in California, home to the world-renowned Viticulture and Enology faculty, and many millions of bicycles.   

The 5,300-acre campus is in the city of Davis, a vibrant college town of about 68,000 located in Yolo County. The state capital is 20 minutes away, and world-class destinations such as the San Francisco Bay Area, Lake Tahoe and the Napa Valley are within a two-hour drive. Davis was once voted “America’s Best Cycling City” – a nod to the most sensible mode of transport around town, given the plethora of vineyards and wineries within easy reach.

While there, Simon presented at an accounting seminar for wineries where sustainability, innovation and high tech ways of working were common themes alongside a shared love of wine.

Next stop: Portland, and the craft beer capital of the US.  Also known as Beervana, Portland boasts 60 brewing establishments around town, including a dedicated gluten-free brewery, Ground Breaker.


Simon timed his visit to Portland around the Craft Beverage Expo, an annual trade exposition and conference for the entire artisan beverage industry – spanning wine, beer, spirits, mead and cider.  The organisers acknowledge that being successful in this burgeoning industry is about much more than just production — producers have got to know how to get their product into consumers’ hands as efficiently as possible.  In the spirit of work, Simon did the rounds of the myriad of cider craftsmen, sake producers, brewers, wineries and mead makers, sharing in their wisdom and sampling a fair bit along the way.

And why did he go again?  Vinsight has had huge success in Australia and Simon was keen to look at breaking into the US market — building a network, referral marketing, exploring regulatory and distribution issues, that sort of thing.  Oh, and a bit of beer and wine research.  Life sure is tough.