Throughout 2024, we at Movac will be hosting the Movac Operating Chapters.  These programs have been designed to help Kiwi companies become global leaders by exposing them to world-class functional experts and international best practices.

The four Chapters are each centred around a functional area; the Movac Engineering, Customer Success, Sales & Marketing and Execution Chapters.

Each Chapter is led by a Movac Operating Partner (Ben Gracewood in this case), and features globally sourced leaders, online primer sessions, deep-dive workshops, and the opportunity for peer-to-peer learning.

Come and level up with the best! We welcome ecosystem guests to all of our online sessions (registration details below). Deep dive workshops are first reserved for Movac portfolio companies.


The Engineering Chapter

In the 2024 Engineering Chapter, we aim to help CTOs and engineering leaders at companies unlock opportunities and deal with common challenges that arise when building software products and scaling the company’s technical organisation. The sessions are designed to share live use cases of AI in building (which we think every company should be proactively strategising on!), ‘stuff I wish I knew’ stories from the trenches from local technical leaders and practical learnings from navigating horizontally / intra-function in a scaling company.

Engineers are the force behind any software company’s product, but New Zealand’s software engineering community is underserved compared to some international powerhouses. That’s why our goal is to get technical leaders together in a room to hear tested tactics, anecdotes of victories and near fatal blows from the country’s best. This includes generating peer-to-peer discussions and panel input to get multidimensional views.

Meet Ben

The Engineering Chapter is led by Movac Operating Partner, Ben Gracewood, CTO at Koltar.  Ben has experience across multiple sectors including SaaS, finance, and media and while a technologist at heart, his primary expertise is growing diverse, high-performance product engineering teams and implementing the culture, values, tools and processes required to deliver software at pace.

Ben was Vend’s first engineering manager, where he grew the engineering team from 8 to 80, shipped product on average every 6 minutes, and ultimately contributed to Vend’s ~NZ$500m exit. He’s also co-founder of NZ’s largest independent software engineering conference, Codemania.

The line-up

#1 Beyond the Hype: Building Real Stuff with AI {Cancelled}

We’ve seen all the hype: AI is going to replace coders and make many other roles redundant. While this might be hyperbole, it’s a fact that LLMs and other modern AI models are the next frontier of software engineering. How are you planning to integrate them into your organisation and product?

Join Ben Gracewood, CTO at Koltar & Movac Operating Partner and Mal Curtis, Chief Architect at Koltar, for a review of the current state of the art for AI product tooling, to work through some common problems you will encounter, along with potential solutions and to share some tips on integrating AI into your product and platforms.

NB: Because this is such a fast-moving space, we also welcome attendees to share their own tips and progress on using AI tools both internally and in product development. Feel free to contact Ben ahead of the session if you are keen to participate.

Who should attend: Engineering leaders and anyone keen to understand the possibilities and limitations of LLM tools, AI, etc.

Format: Online 90 mins including discussion and Q&A

Details: This event has been cancelled


#2 The Movac Engineering Jam

Details:  You can expect five world class kiwi engineers telling their own stories of software product engineering, in a structured, but informal way. We promise ‘no slides!’, plenty of time for Q&A, and a solid slot for mingling with peers after.

​​Speaker lineup (more to be announced!):
Michael Koziarski – ex Vend/Lightspeed
Annie Vella – Distinguished Engineer at Westpac
JD Trask – CEO at Raygun and Founder of Mindscape
Anna Cupples – Head of Engineering at TradeMe

Who should attend: This in person event is solely for engineering professionals in New Zealand-headquartered tech companies.

Details: In person, The Maritime Room, Princes Wharf, Auckland. Tuesday 17 September, 2.00pm – 6.30pm. Networking from 5pm. TICKETS ARE LIMITED. Register here


#3 Navigating Engineers are from Venus, Operations are from Mars

Agenda: Misunderstandings between engineering teams and other departments like operations, executive leadership, and sales are common in many organisations. Sometimes it can feel like you’re speaking entirely separate languages. In this session Ben & Paul will work through common points of conflict, mostly using real examples from their experience, and give you a bunch of tips and tricks to navigate the weird vibes that often arise.  We’ll cover everything from KPIs and deadlines, navigating uncertainty, learning from failure, and even try to tackle the age-old argument of which product feature we should prioritise.

This session hosted by Ben Gracewood and Paul Shingles, Movac Operating Partners.

Who should attend: Engineering, sales, marketing, operations professionals from local tech start-up companies.

Details: In person, Grid Auckland, John Lysaght Building, Auckland, Wednesday 16 October 2024, 2.00pm – 6.30pm. Networking from 5pm. TICKETS ARE LIMITED. Register here