From Small Seeds – The EPIC RedSeed Story
From Small Seeds
You might think a training platform aimed at the retailers would have struggled during COVID, but RedSeed has continued to go from strength to strength.
RedSeed was the brainchild of Co-Founder and CEO Anya Anderson who started the business in 2010, along with 3 other co-founders. Anya had been working as a training manager for Hallensteins Glassons and saw a gap in the market for an online offering; online solutions were rare at that time – hard to believe today!
Retailers typically have high turnover and a high need for training new staff. Traditional models gather new staff together at one location, but it is hard to get everyone together for a training event; it’s often after the person has already started and is expensive.
RedSeed offers retailers the ability to provide immediate training to new staff, consistency in delivery and massively reduced costs. Anya had good connections in the market when they were starting and quickly had big named brand customers including The Warehouse Group, Hallenstein Glassons and Vodafone.
RedSeed delivers training which changes the behaviours of users, upskilling team members to help the organisation reach their goals. They have matured their offering and platform a lot since the early days.
“Our prototype was on a CD-ROM,” Anya laughs.
They offer customised training programmes and off-the-shelf content through their purpose-built LMS (Learning Management System). The market is now crowded with online training solutions, but Anya says their differentiator is the focus on supporting learning through coaching. Coaches work with trainees to ensure learning is embedded and translated into “real life.” They verify the trainee’s learning and provide data analytics of the training impact back to the client. She also credits their excellent account management as playing a key role in ensuring they are providing what the market needs and supporting their clients to achieve their goals.
While the retail and hospitality industries have been hard hit during COVID, RedSeed has seen a growth in demand as organisations have focused on upskilling their staff in order to differentiate themselves in their markets. They have also responded to growing demand and expanded to include hospitality and wholesale. Clients include Kathmandu, Icebreaker, Two Degrees Mobile, New World & Revlon. Ironically, they have also picked up their first US client during lockdown.
A Crazy, Awesome Team
There are fourteen in RedSeed’s main office in Christchurch, which also houses their own film studio – from instructional designers and their film & production team through to sales, marketing and developers. They also have a small client-facing team in Australia.
Earlier this year they bought the training provider, KiwiHost and so now have franchises in Auckland and Wellington.
Anya says the team is “crazy and awesome,” with lots of autonomy given. They have intentionally grown their culture as a team,
“Culture is everyone’s job,” says Anya.
They work hard on their culture and values and in understanding what everyone brings to the table. There is a collaborative culture, not just internally but also with their clients too, so that everyone’s voice gets heard. Despite the fact that they have the option to work from home, the team love getting together and tend to work from the office. This is great for the organic conversations that happen, but Anya recognises the need to work hard to ensure those not in Christchurch are also engaged and heard.
Being based in Christchurch
Anya loves running a business from Christchurch. The tech ecosystem is super strong, with lots of people connecting and being really open to having conversations that support other founders and startups.
Growth & Maturity
About six years ago, RedSeed got investment from Punakaiki to help them expand their team and do further product development. Having investment came with the proviso they needed to have a formal board, but this is a decision Anya now encourages any business with growth aspirations to do.
She says they have a great board, with Shaun Ryan as the chair and Lance Wiggs from Punakaiki. Last year a further injection of capital from Punakaiki enabled another of the original founders to be bought out and a new board member to be brought on board. Anya says Punakaiki are really founder-focused and very women-centric, something VCs globally have been criticised for lacking.
So, where next for RedSeed?
Anya sees a number of changes in the training landscape, including ongoing demand for online training, from organisations and also from individuals who have lost their jobs. There’s a massive demand in wellness support, as well as shifts in the way organisations carry out performance appraisals – separating the performance and coaching, from the salary discussions.
With further expansion into their niche sectors and growth in the Australian market, Anya’s feeling good about where things are going.
To find out more listen in to the EPIC Podcast with Anya Anderson