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Start-up Highlights, March 2017

Posted: 10 March 2017
Callaghan Innovation's start-up team has resurrected a blog favourite for your reading pleasure.

Welcome to 2017, and what a start it’s been - Does anyone else feel like the expected "slow start to the year" turned out to be a hectic whirlwind of activity leaving us wondering why there are already hot cross buns in the shops..?
 
Here is the Start-up Team’s bi-monthly newsletter of updates, recent events and upcoming activities to keep you sprightly!
 
Take a moment, grab a cuppa and enjoy :)

Microsoft AgTech Hackathon

In collaboration with Microsoft, BCC, Sprout, Massey University, CEDA, Manawatu-Rangitikei Federated Farmers, Accelerate 25, Future Institutes and NZ Agrifood Investment Week - The AgTech Hackathon Launched on 24th February with Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, Ranveer Chandra talking about Microsoft's move into digital farming.

Teams will begin to work on solutions to every day on-farm opportunities from March 11th. Teams will continue to work on their solution during the New Zealand AgriFood Investment Week with final pitches to be held at Central Districts Field Days on March 17th.
 
Successful solutions will lead to business opportunities and the products could ultimately end up in market helping to make farmers work more efficiently all around the world. AgTech Hackathon is designed to not only help solve problems, but also enable a connection and conversation between our rural and urban communities.
  
This event represents a collaborative approach to addressing and innovating on everyday opportunities in one of our biggest industries, with potential to take these solutions global.

Acceleration 2017
2017 has already been a really exciting year on the accelerator front, with three scheduled, Callaghan Innovation funded Accelerators kicking things off in style!

Callaghan Innovation's Hemi Rolleston (2nd from right) and Elena Higgison (on the far right) at the Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator launch
Callaghan Innovation's Hemi Rolleston (2nd from right) and Elena Higgison (on the far right) at the Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator launch

 

Lightning Lab Electric - One of two fresh accelerator programmes under the Lightning Lab banner and hosted by Creative HQ Launched on 31 January at Genesis Energy in Ellerslie, Auckland, with guest speakers including Hemi Rolleston. 
o    Beginning with The Lightning Lab Electric Innovation Challenge is New Zealand’s first ever open call for innovation in the electricity sector. 
o    This has included the release of 30min power prices data for the public to use for innovation
o    The Ideas competition is currently open, seeking the best ideas in the categories of Consumer Solutions, Network Solutions and Grid Solutions, and a total prize pool of $40,000. 
o    The Accelerator programme will officially kick off in May 2017.

The Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator kicked off with a "Meet the Teams" evening on Tuesday 7th February in Wellington. It had impressive pitches from the cohort on day one, and was opened by guests Science & Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith, Xero's Rod Drury, our CFO Richard Perry, and Kiwibank's Peter Fletcher-Dobson and Mark Stephen.

Flux Accelerator has officially started, with six reportedly outstanding companies starting the programme on Monday 20th February.

Sprout Agritech Accelerator held their “best block course to date” in Hamilton on 27th & 28th January, with guest speakers Victoria Ransom, Paul Burmester and Larry Ellison talking about their entrepreneurial journeys, and sharing tips on how reverse engineering your business plan based on your exit strategy can really help to give you direction in the go-to-market phase.

Technology Incubators demystify some of the unknowns about transitioning into the commercial world
Representatives from Astrolab, WNT Ventures, Powerhouse Ventures and The MacDiarmid Institute made an expedition to beautiful Queenstown to host a session at the AMN8 [Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology] Conference on 14th February. 

Press coverage of the conference overall was exceptional, and the Callaghan Innovation funded Technology Incubator programme even got its very own mention over on The Spinoff

From this has come the observation that there is a common thread to the questions researchers across various institutions are asking. On this basis, the Start-up Team will work with our R&D stakeholders to develop a FAQ type document which will help demystify the process, and hopefully encourage New Zealand researchers to engage proactively with the technology incubator and repayable loan schemes as a commercialisation pathway.

Accelerator and Founder Incubator Procurement for June 2017 - June 2019
Responses to the RfP, which closed in earlu February, were outstanding, receiving an incredible range of high quality responses.
We received a high number of responses to the Founder Incubator RfP, General Accelerator and Maori Accelerator programmes. Some of the concepts and partnership models we have seen are incredibly encouraging and represent the high calibre of service we expect to drive the next generation of growth.
Panel meetings wrap up this week, with negotiations expected to commence by the end of March.
Expect to hear more in the next couple of months, and we’re looking forward to an exciting two years ahead with these initiatives!
 
Upcoming Events
16 March 2017 NZTE Agribusiness Investment Showcase
3 April Callaghan Connect Customer Day
4 April The Atlassian Effect: Dominic Price on How to Scale a Culture of Innovation
4-5 April Phil McKinney - “7 Immutable Laws of Innovation”
21 April Sprout Company Showcase 
13-16 March NZ Agrifood Investment Week
6-14 May Tech-week 
12 May Hi-tech Awards Gala

Is your event missing from the list? Leave a comment to get it added in the next issue

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