EVENT RECAP: Coffee and Jam #231

In this session, join us as Laura Reitel talks about the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator and Martin Johnson will share his awesome story behind Green Fuels. 

Speaker One: Laura Reitel from Fintech Accelerator

Laura is the Programme Director at Creative HQ, which organises Lightning Lab and has run 6, with the created businesses from the past 4 years making revenues between $10 to $20 million. Fintech Accelerator is a business accelerator in the finance sector and has been run once before, Sharesies is one of the businesses that used this method to scale up.  

Fintech Accelerator is a three months long programme, which means you have to be based in Wellington. It starts at the 12th of February and will run till the 17th of May. They are essentially looking for 10 companies in the Fintech space to invest in, with 6% equity worth $20.000, but more investments can be obtained via Kiwibank and their connections to private sector angel investors.

Ventures are ideally in the early stages, run by teams who are passionate about the problem they are solving, as this is seen as the key for success. For validation, Kiwibank will open up their customer base, and you can do an online validation course, to make sure you are fully ready for the start.

For more information, visit their website https://nzfintech.kiwi/programme/

Speaker Two: Martin Johnson, Green Fuels

Martin Johnson was the Managing Director of Green Fuels, but is now the Divisional Manager, as Fulton Hogan purchased Green Fuels 3 months ago.

Green Fuels is a biodiesel manufacturer. It is a less-hazardous, more environmentally friendly fuel, made with 100% recycled vegetable oil, which has 90% less carbon emissions than normal diesel. It will enable cleaner burning, as less smoke arises and it will spill less quickly. There is no need to change the oil tank or engines of cars, as the tanks or engines can be used for a blended biodiesel with normal mineral mix, up to a 20% blend. It has reached the highest international standards, which is a European method. Their services are no different to other diesel distributors, thus supplying diesel blends, fuel management and reporting of their customer usage. Many companies uses it, such as Fulton Hogan but also the Botanical Gardens in the CBD use a 20% blend. 

The journey started for Martin when he got a job as Logistics manager at Solid Energy 10 years ago. As the Labour government introduced 3.5% biodiesel regulation, they got subsidised to make the biodiesel, but quickly the National Government scrapped it. It was clear that industry pressures, such as the finiteness of fossil fuels and climate change, were still pushing into the direction of biodiesel. When Biodiesel New Zealand was to be sold, Martin took the opportunity to lead the company and rebranded it as Green Fuels in 2013. During the entire process up to the sale to Fulton Hogan, there were a couple things he has learned. It is very important to focus on your goals, lower your risk with strategic partners, have a clear point of difference with your competitors and most importantly realise that you cannot do it all by yourself!

Even though, he is not the owner anymore, Martin still manages the business and has enabled the business to be scaled up.


The Canterbury Start-Up Launchpad is an event running from 9-12pm on 28th November at Addington Raceway – if you are interested visit the Eventbrite page here.  

Angus Whitehead is looking for a challenge in software engineering. You can email him at anguswhitehead@me.com  or give him a call at 0226092740.  

Coffee & Jam is Christchurch's longest running weekly meet up for entrepreneurial-minded people. It’s a great place to see ordinary people doing extraordinary things, meet people, learn and share in a creative space, hear about other events in Christchurch and indulge in a little bit of free coffee, jam and bread.

If you have an idea you'd like to pitch get in touch with Gina at gina@ministryofawesome.com