A local innovator wants his new communications platform to make WINZ redundant.
RealStew aimed at integrating chat, email, social media, user groups, websites and blogs on one platform housed in a single internet browser.
RealStew Connect's directors were Paddy Delaney and Keith Conway. Delaney started working on the project from home some four years ago.
He had gradually convinced sceptics to get on board.
Delaney hoped to "monetise eyeballs" by directing people to buy applications and tools they were most interested in.
"We've used the social capital of our users to grow our base," he said. "We're growing by a couple of thousand every day."
RealStew based its operations in a Parnell building where it had received support from business incubators Icehouse.
Delaney said RealStew users would ultimately be able to play games, use cloud storage, find a date, buy auction items, and invest.
He said a growing user base could interact and now, with commercial applications, engage in transactions.
Delaney said RealStew had 36 applications and around 200 "application public interface" tools as well. Delaney said he was talking to third-party developers to hone some of RealStew's platforms.
RealStew would ultimately target everyone who had internet access through mobile technology - a global market of billions. He said the company's New Zealand origins would allow revenue to flow back here. Users would have to pay tax on their earnings each month.
"One of our business goals is to make WINZ redundant. We want the money currently being received by those on welfare to be eclipsed by what they would get from moderate use of RealStew. Once it gets the first few people off benefits and the word gets out, it will avalanche.
Delaney said he had no doubt a "tipping point" would be reached. "And when that happens every single person in New Zealand will start connecting their friends up and the whole thing will go ballistic."
Delaney was aware some observers might suggest RealStew was a pyramid scheme but said RealStew users were not obligated to buy or sell anything. "Our revenue comes from selling solutions people want to buy. We don't want all of it, we don't need all of it...so we're doing the decent thing and returning a portion to the users who are helping us grow."
RealStew used an online accounting system to manage transactions, including currency conversion.The company returned 54% of revenues to affiliates through an electronic wallet system. 5% was invested in an application called RealVoice. Six per cent went to RealStew staff. The remaining 35 per cent went into a fund the firm would have ready to lend to people.
There was a monthly $5 charge to use the online accounting system. "If we have not goven you at least $5 of the passive income we are sharing we are not going to charge you. The first $5 we give you we will take back as a fee."
Aspects of RealStew took inspiration from Farmville, the Facebook game that grew from zero to millions of users in less than one year.
"The major difference with us, however, is that there is a tangible reward from RealStew - money," Delaney said. For now, that money came from people buying services from RealStew but would in future include lending and currency conversion services.