IT Brief New Zealand - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
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Auckland SaaS start-up Afirmo transforming small business operations
Fri, 10th Nov 2023

A SaaS (Software as a Service) start-up out of Auckland, Afirmo, is revolutionising the way small businesses operate in New Zealand. Providing a holistic platform of support for owning and operating small businesses, the software has already engaged 3500 customers in the first year of operation.

The novel app aims to assist aspiring entrepreneurs in setting up their businesses, covering different types of entities such as sole traderships, partnerships as well as limited liability companies. Afirmo significantly simplifies the process of handling various business and tax registration tasks such as IRD, GST, NZBN, BIC, ACC Cover Plus accounts and also aids new business venturers in employer registration and tax obligations management.

Beyond business formation, Afirmo also provides early-stage businesses with essential marketing tools, including website creation services, logo design and domain name registration. To foster business growth, Afirmo offers integrated tax, insurance, and money tools, offering valuable business insights in the process.

The app is the brainchild of Auckland based co-founders, Robert Rolls and Mary Fitzgerald. Mary Fitzgerald, Chief Communications Officer of Afirmo, highlighted how CEO Robert Rolls envisioned Afirmo as a solution to ease the struggle faced by aspiring business owners. "Rob recognised that aspiring business owners, in the past, had to spend too much time getting their ducks in a row - having to go to the end of the internet and back again in search of all the information required to get their business started,” Fitzgerald shared.

The pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns acted as a catalyst for the initiation of Afirmo. The pair recognised the impact that COVID-19 was having on personal and professional lives, and, importantly, on job security. According to Fitzgerald, many were looking for new opportunities to substitute lost income, and yet lacked the necessary support to effectively spearhead their business ideas.

Afirmo is designed to alleviate these challenges. Fitzgerald stated, "We'd like to think that Afirmo removes a lot of the friction points for small businesses so they really can get on with the stuff that they need to commit to such as acquiring and keeping their customers."

The couple began working on the project in October 2020, launching the first version of the app by August 2022. The business has grown from an initial team of three to ten full-time staff members to date. This includes Fitzgerald and Rolls, Ertan Sarikaya, Joachim Schoss [co-founder, director and investor], and seven other full-time staff.