Accelerate July 2015

Smart connections lead to success

open this image in new window: PredictHQ

Finding the right expertise for your business need can be tricky at times and the value lies in the ability to make the right connections and linkages that lead to business success.

Not everyone can make those connections on their own, and it’s a smart business that reaches out to others and leverages existing expertise to succeed.

Such is the case with PredictHQ, an Auckland-based start-up whose innovative API (application program interface) and web-app products analyse events happening around the world. PredictHQ forecasts the effect these events will have on businesses so that they can tailor their marketing activities and maximise their advertising spend on events that will impact their bottom line the most.

The brainchild of Campbell Brown and Mike Ballantyne, PredictHQ emerged out of Online Republic, a company specialising in cruise, car rental and motorhome travel bookings.

Bringing together scheduled and real-time data on a wide range of global variables such as severe weather, holidays, sporting events, flights, concerts, and natural disasters, their product standardises, enriches and ranks this data according to an individual business’s needs. It then adds in valuable context such as population, economic and demographic data, providing clients with the ability to optimise advertising campaigns wherever they may operate in the world. 

PredictHQ approached Callaghan Innovation, who provided not only R&D funding but also connections to industry heavy hitters whose insights helped refine their strategy and operational approach. Engaging the services of Callaghan Innovation’s data science team also provided an edge in the areas of data modelling and visualisation.

“As a start-up, you try to think of everything, but you can’t. With Callaghan Innovation, because it is not their first rodeo, they understand how to connect and, more importantly, who to connect with. They understand our pain points and help us facilitate a potential solution for that,” says Campbell Brown.

Assistance also came in unexpected areas, such as connections to companies that provided advice on the billing aspect of their platform – a seemingly small but important aspect to any growth company with a subscription-based business model. 
“The insights that I got from that 30-minute meeting fundamentally changed how we looked at our billing platform and what we want to do with it in future,” says Brown.

“PredictHQ is not alone in realising the benefit of looking elsewhere to find the expertise they need,” says Martin Knoche, business innovation advisor at Callaghan Innovation.

“Many other ambitious New Zealand companies are aware of this too, and are working with us as a first port of call. When we know what you need, we help you make the connections. We identify the expertise a business needs and act as innovation broker to connect a business to the right advisor, partner, mentor or technology provider, both in New Zealand and internationally.

“We can also connect you with like-minded businesses that may be interested in partnerships around manufacturing and delivery collaborations, access to facilities and knowledge sharing,” he says.

Campbell Brown says that Callaghan Innovation’s input and connections were invaluable – “from introducing us to other businesses, to allowing us to share in best practice, to providing research services”.

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Updated: 4 September 2015