The best thing about the Stockland Accelerator? Connections.

BlueChilli > Blog > Blog > The best thing about the Stockland Accelerator? Connections.

This is a guest post from Tyson Jennings, co-founder of Yodel International along with Simon Harris. Yodel is a communication and workplace management platform that connects you with your entire workforce so you can quickly fill shifts.

The #StocklandStartups are just halfway into the Stockland Accelerator program. Here the Yodel co-founding team share their best takeaway from the program so far.

How did Yodel start?

Roughly 18 months ago, a couple of McDonald’s operations guys decided to solve a problem that we faced every day. We wasted time filling shifts and it made everyone involved miserable!

We thought we could do it faster and easier. Our goal was to offer the shift to every suitable employee in less than 30 seconds.

So we got to it! Over the next 15 or so months, we entered a pre-accelerator to validate our idea, we built a prototype with some Russians developers, then scraped the prototype, raised a small amount of cash and engaged a Brisbane based developer for MVP v.2.

We had some success but knew there was much we didn’t know! Late 2018, we realised we needed help to grow.

There is only so much a couple of Maccas managers can ‘wing’ when building a tech startup.

We might have made progress but we were moving too slowly.

So we went looking for help. We found the Stockland Accelerator, and submitted an application.

The best thing about accelerator? The people

Once we were successful in getting into the accelerator we needed to work out how we can best maximise this opportunity.

We needed help with development, marketing, networks and understanding the markets we wanted to go into.

We’ve had help in these areas, but the best part of the BlueChilli experience so far has been the access to a broad range of advisors and mentors.

Shannon, Tyson, Simon, Matthew and Filipa
Right after the announcement of being selected for the Stockland Accelerator program. From right: Shannon Alba – Stockland, Tyson & Simon – Yodel, Matthew and Filipa BlueChilli.

We’re halfway through the Stockland Accelerator program and have had a range of interactions with various experts. Through fun and well-planned networking events, like a particularly competitive trivia night (we lost by a point!), we have made excellent strategic connections and created some advocates along the way. These introductions have led to relationships with customers, potential investors, development help as well some awesome advice and friendships.

Building those connections

Whenever possible BlueChilli and Stockland bring in industry-relevant contacts to help with a wide range of elements of startup life.

We have weekly pitch practice with experienced mentors who give us honest and constructive feedback is both nerve-racking and invaluable, allowing us to hone our pitch skills.

When we head interstate for the immersion sessions, BlueChilli and Stockland bring together mentors for informative industry relevant networking events that have pushed us slightly out of our comfort zone but not too far that we’ve wanted to bail and go have a beer.

These events have been critical for us to make connections that we just wouldn’t have been able to from Brisbane.

Dealing with all the advice

However, there is a cautionary tale in this wide array of excellent contacts, advisor whiplash.

When we first arrived we were warned, “you are going to get a lot of great advice but it will often be contradictory and you will feel fatigued by it, AKA advisor whiplash”.

After the first advisor session, we felt overwhelmed. We had been given so much advice that our heads were spinning, it was almost the opposite of helpful.

So we made the necessary decision to divide ourselves at events to maximise our coverage of advisors and then come back together, discuss that advice and focus on the advice that was most relevant to our customer base.

Without this strategy we could have ended up constantly changing direction, ending up fatigued and losing focus on why we were there.

Support from BlueChilli and Stockland

Stockland has also been a great help, with Shannon Alba, National Manager-Innovation, being our main contact and has been some of the best help we have had.

We are a Brisbane based startup, which comes with a few barriers as most of BlueChilli is Sydney based and Shannon has been able to put us into contact with some fantastic Stockland contacts based in Brisbane resulting in a potential pilot with Stocklands in their Retail centres.

Tyson pitching Yodel at Stockland in Melbourne.
Tyson pitching Yodel at Stockland in Melbourne.

We’re enjoying our time in the BlueChilli program and we’re enjoying no longer being in an echo chamber. They have added value in ways we didn’t realise as well as supporting us to let us know we are not a couple of novices focusing on the wrong things.

BlueChilli’s openness, professionalism and expertise is something we value immensely and though we would have continued to grow without them, with them is so much better.

Yodel International is one of the #StocklandStartups in our Stockland Accelerator program. The founders are halfway through the program and this week, they’re going to demo what they’ve created so far at the Product Showcase. 

This was a guest post from Tyson Jennings, co-founder of Yodel International along with Simon Harris. Yodel is a communication and workplace management platform that connects you with your entire workforce so you can quickly fill shifts.