Media Release: Vodafone and BNZ commit to help Aider serve small businesses in New Zealand


Wednesday 18 December 2019Today, two of the best-known brands in the country, Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) and Vodafone New Zealand, announced Aider, along with four other innovative New Zealand technology startups, has been selected to join the prestigious Vodafone xone Partner Series accelerator. Focused on finding the best digital solutions to help Vodafone and BNZ’s SME customers connect, grow and thrive in the evolving digital world, the programme acceptance required a broad application process. Among the ten shortlisted companies, Aider’s Head of Marketing, Kari Viccars and Head of Partnerships, Sarah Dobson pitched “Dragon’s Den” style in front of five judges and a film crew in Christchurch.

"Partnerships are the heart of our business."

- Sarah Dobson, Head of Partnerships, Aider

The team started their pitch talking about the dismal survival rates of New Zealand small businesses, nearly 50% do not survive past five years. They went on to explain how their digital assistant is designed to serve business owners – quickly and affordably – with critical insights needed for daily, data-led decision making. Aider’s already impressively executed partner and channel strategy sealed the deal.  “Partnerships are the heart of our business,” said Dobson. “By working with key partners including Vodafone and BNZ, we strengthen the value Aider can deliver and we can help even more small business owners, delivering value and insight they have never seen before. ”Head of SME at Vodafone, Richard Phillimore-Smith said the judges were impressed with the clear value proposition and strong channels to market Aider had already developed. “It is a fantastic product and one that we can see really benefiting our small business customers. The xone programme will help Aider refine this offering even further, while increasing the strength of its business partnerships. "Viccars explained how getting validation from established and trusted brands is key to achieving market penetration as a tech start-up. “There is a mounting battle for the limited attention of the small business owner. Both of these businesses have an exceptional customer base and strong brand recognition and trust. We are keen to learn how they got there as well as leverage these relationships to help more people.” The four other companies selected to join the Vodafone xone Partner Series accelerator are VXT, Micado, Credisense and Pip IoT. Read the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) and Vodafone New Zealand release here.

Aider media contact: Brendan Roberts at

About Aider

Co-founded in 2017 by Brendan Roberts and Pete Weaver, Aider is a mobile, digital assistant for smarter business. Aider connects to the applications small business owners use every day to run their companies, and delivers easy access to answers critical for daily, data-led decision making. Integrations include: point of sale, accounting, payroll, rostering, online calendar, social media and analytics. Using Aider’s mobile app, questions are asked by typing, voice-to-text or speaking through a voice assistant, like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Aider can answer hundreds of questions a business owner might have, including:

  • “Hey Aider, how much revenue did I make this week?”
  • “Who showed up for work today?”
  • “Aider, get someone at Westpac to contact me”
  • “How many Uber Eats sales have I made this month?”
  • “What were my top selling products today?”

Constantly learning and growing its knowledge base, Aider can also schedule notifications, put reminders in the user’s calendar, and will deliver trends analysis and benchmarking.Aider also provides “built in” connections to weather, events and news apps. Key Benefits:

  • Immediate, easy access to business information in one place accessible simply by asking a question in natural language.
  • Enables fast, data-led decisions
  • Aider proactively provides actionable insights based on custom business data
  • Users can take action directly from Aider to improve their business
  • Growing list of business and built-in app connection

About Vodafone New Zealand

Vodafone NZ is one of New Zealand’s leading digital services and connectivity companies, and we believe every New Zealander will thrive with access to the world’s best digital services. We offer more than 3 million connections to Consumer and Business customers, and our existing mobile network covers 98.5% of where Kiwis live, work and play. Our company culture embraces Diversity and Inclusion at the heart, and we are proud recipients of the Rainbow Tick.  We believe in being engaged corporate citizens, and our Vodafone New Zealand Foundation is on a 10 year, $20 million journey to halve the number of disadvantaged and excluded youth by 2027. We are a partner market in the Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies. For more information, please visit

About Bank of New Zealand

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) was founded in 1861 and is committed to being an integral part of a high achieving New Zealand, and helping its customers be good with money. To operate in New Zealand, BNZ employs more than 4,700 people to help its 1.2 million customers across the country. The bank has more than 150 retail stores and 33 Partners business centres across New Zealand, and works with personal, business, agri, charity and private wealth clients offering services in retail, small business, commercial, corporate, agribusiness, institutional and investment, and insurance. BNZ is one of New Zealand's largest carbon neutral companies and works to help make New Zealand’s communities stronger. Bank of New Zealand is a subsidiary of the National Australia Bank Group of companies, and is governed locally by a fully empowered New Zealand Board of Directors.

About the Vodafone xone Partner Series

Vodafone xone is a business accelerator programme aimed at helping scale and grow Kiwi startups. The programme has been running since 2016 and has seen 29 startups go through the 6 month intensive programme of mentoring, workshops and testing. Successful xone alumni include the likes of virtual sportscasting studio Spalk, artificial intelligence business Aware Group, intelligent electric vehicle charging solution Evnex and conversational intelligence platform Ambit along with many more. The Vodafone xone Partner Series is a revamped version of the Vodafone xone where Vodafone New Zealand partners with one of their corporate partners to co-deliver a three month programme with the intent of preparing the businesses for a corporate partnership or commercial deal.For more information on the Vodafone xone Partner Series see