Three lessons for entrepreneurs from conversations with successful startup founder Justin Dry of Vinomofo

Anya Merryfield
Oct 23, 2017 · 3 min read
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Our recent Founders Night gave us an opportunity to bring the startup community together to New Zealand while sharing lessons from successful startups like Vinomofo, Canva and Safety Culture.

There was plenty to learn from the screening of the film The New Hustle, but the after screening fire-side chat with Justin Dry, Vinomofo Co-Founder and Co-CEO surprisingly shifted in focus as we went around New Zealand. So we have put together highlights from each city, with lessons that local founders were focussing on.

It is not just about the founder, it’s about their family too
From the Christchurch event

“I can trust him completely, his main goal is to look after my sister and their kids”

In Christchurch Justin was interviewed by BizDojo residents Bex De Prospo and Peter Randrup from Anteater. Co-Founders themselves, it was interesting to see them delve into the mechanics of Vinomofo from that perspective and the first question they posed was around the dynamics between Andre and Justin — Co-Founders, Co-CEO’s and brothers in law.

Justin explained that it was not as messy as you might first think; and that their shared family and shared love and care for that family acted as a unifying factor that kept them on the same page. A truly unifying goal.

At the same time, the film really highlighted the impact the startup journey could have on families, and all three of the stories touched on this strain. This is something that Founders Central Director & Founder Nick Shewring has spoken about before, check out his tips on tackling this issue here.

You need to hire the right people for the right time
From the Wellington event

Not only is it about getting the talent right, it’s about getting the talent right in your team for the stage of your business. In those beginning phases Justin explains that you are hiring for broad skills, multi-taskers that can do it all. But as your business scales, you need those people to become more specialised, more focussed in their skill-set. This means that those people you brought on board to help you grow your business from nothing, the ones that you may call your family, who have seen you through thick and thin? Those people may not be the people you need to take your business to the next level. And that is a hard reality to face for many people.

How much of your startup success is down to skill, how much is timing?
From the Auckland event

“In hindsight each of those businesses lead to the end goal that is VinoMofo, Qwoff built the audience, road to vino built the network of wine lovers, the check in app built a bigger network and audience and VinoMofo we had timing…We had the timing of that business model, the network we built and the audience that we had — and that is 4 or 5 years of building it with 3 wrong businesses…” — Justin, Vinomofo, Founder Night

When asked how much of Vinomofo’s success was down to skill, luck and timing Justin replied probably each of the areas was equal. Or maybe even more shifted towards timing. Justin puts their success down to being ambitious, getting the most out of the things that didn’t work and really jumping on things when the timing hits. For that to work, you need to be prepared for the opportunity; and it was past failure and the learning that came with it that built the capability to enable that success.

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