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Monthly archives: April 2018

Posted: 16 April 2018
A group of Kiwi firms is heading to the US in June to get an exclusive look inside factories at the cutting edge of internet of things (IoT) in industry

For most people the term ‘industrial revolution’ conjures up images of belching steam engines and grim Victorian factories.

In truth the industrialisation of the modern world happened in several phases, beginning with steam power at the end of the 18th century, through to mainstream use of electricity a hundred years later, and then the computer revolution of the 1980s when everything mechanical and analogue turned digital.

We are now experiencing the fourth industrial revolution, a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological.

Thanks to advancements in robotics, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and the internet of things (IoT) our societies and economies are evolving again. Just as businesses of 150 years ago had to adapt to electricity enabling mass production, today’s enterprises face the challenge of embracing what has been dubbed Industry 4.0 - using smart technologies and data to drive intelligent action in the physical world.

Knowing when and how to incorporate these new technologies into your business model isn’t easy, and supporting companies to adapt to Industry 4.0 is a priority for Callaghan Innovation in its role as New Zealand’s innovation agency. As part of this it has joined forces with EMA and the Manufacturers’ Network to lead the USA Manufacturing Trek – a mission of Kiwi firms heading to the Internet of Manufacturing Conference in Chicago on June 6-7, and to get an exclusive look inside factories at the cutting edge of IoT in industry, such as CNC machine tool maker Haas Automation.

New Zealand companies are at the early stages of adopting Industry 4.0, Mike Burgess, senior policy analyst at EMA, says.

“Our members need to know what the manufacturing plant of the future looks like, what skills will be required, and what training they will need to develop for their workforces to adapt,” he says.

“There’s only so much you can learn from surfing websites. Nothing beats hands-on experience, talking to industry experts face-to-face and seeing how companies have implemented the new technologies.”

Philip Benson, operations manager at bronze alloys manufacturer AW Fraser, plans to head to Chicago to learn more about the practical applications of IoT. “For us it’s about a smart factory – using technology to gather, process and utilise information more efficiently.

“This is nothing new. Industry 4.0 is an evolution, rather than a revolution.”

Doing intelligent things with data in real time is creating whole new business models, says Nathan Stantiall, Callaghan Innovation’s business innovation adviser for manufacturing.

“An example is ‘servitisation’ – not selling the widget itself, but getting other forms of revenue from it,” Nathan says.

Aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce services its clients under a ‘power by the hour’ model, he says. Airlines do not own the engines, but pay for use and maintenance based on flying time. Meanwhile R-R utilises IoT technologies to collect and analyse huge volumes of data that enable it and the airlines to operate more efficiently.

While Germany is the leading proponent of Industry 4.0, it’s important for Kiwi companies to see how it’s being done in America, Nathan says. There it’s known as Industrial IoT or Internet of Manufacturing, with a focus beyond the factory.

“For example, your database might be connected to your customer or supplier’s database, so they get full visibility of stock and know exactly when to order,” Nathan says.

Firms ask him when they should implement Industrial IoT. “There is no right answer, but they should be starting now and experimenting with simple connections and data collection,” he says.

The USA Manufacturing Trek runs from 4-8 June. For more information contact us on

This article was first published in the April issue of the EMA Business Plus magazine.

Posted: 10 April 2018
What can New Zealand do to be prepared for the most disruptive years in history? We've gathered some key points from the Digital Nations gathering in New Zealand earlier this year.

At the Digital Nations 2030 summit in February, over 550 business leaders, policy makers and technology experts from 18 different countries heard that the next five years may be the most disruptive ever. Attendees were tasked with preparing every level of society for this technology-driven change.


1. NZ is a digital leader but we have a big job ahead

New Zealand is currently a leader in the Digital Evolution Index, ranking as a stand out country for digital success and noted as exceptional even within the ‘stand out’ group, alongside the UAE and Singapore.

However, as Frances Valintine put it, the next five years will see colossal change. As a nation, we must pick up the pace and adapt accordingly.


2. Don’t freak out - we're not facing the end of jobs for humans

There was resounding agreement that technology disruption is not going to destroy the job market. Instead, we will see different skills in demand, some jobs eliminated or transformed, and new jobs created.

This means though that we need a radical and swift change in our approach to education and upskilling. A recent Digital Skills Forum report said New Zealand should be hearing alarm bells because the country is seeing more tech jobs being created than the combined number of tech students graduating and tech visas granted.


3. Be curious and play with new technology

Things like personal 3D printers, robotic vacuum cleaners and the sharing economy will transform our lifestyles and the way we work. Leaders in business and government need to embrace technology and new innovations in their work and private lives.

Our Chief Executive, Vic Crone, urged that along with healthy pragmatism, leaders must have a curious attitude, trialling and getting comfortable with these innovations. It creates a deeper understanding of how to apply them to business products and services, industry value chains, or in government services.

Vic Crone at Digital Nations


4. NZ’s new Chief Technology Officer position will be crucial

There was concrete support for a new national Chief Technology Officer role which would provide visionary leadership and direction to help prepare us for the changes ahead.

Our General Manager of Strategy, Impact and Insights, Rosalie Nelson, suggested an important part of the role will be fostering a culture of innovation. This includes helping us recognise that we need to take risks to be successful, and although this may lead to failure sometimes, we can continually speed up the subsequent learning and recovery.


5. There is a wealth of opportunity for our productive sectors

Vic Crone noted that the convergence of technologies we’re seeing poses significant threats and opportunities for our key productive sectors. Data and AI-driven smart crop forecasting, automated manufacturing bots and smart machine learning cameras; and consumer-driven collection models, are examples of how these opportunities are being seized. Her key message was that we all need to prepare for this disruption in order to thrive.


About Callaghan Innovation

Callaghan Innovation is New Zealand’s innovation agency, activating innovation and helping organisations grow faster for a better New Zealand.

We play a lead role in the country’s innovation ecosystem, connecting businesses to the networks, capability and co-funding they need to make their ideas happen and thrive. Our 400 or so staff include more than 200 of New Zealand’s leading scientists and engineers, dedicated to solving tough technical problems for our customers.

Posted: 06 April 2018
The latest news, events and announcements from New Zealand's startup sector.

Cruising into 2018 at full throttle, we saw the launch of accelerator programmes Kōkiri, FLUX, Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator (KFA) and SPROUT. Read on for information on these launches and other highlights from the Callaghan Innovation startup programmes over the last six months, and Soda Inc's INNES48 competition. Also, don't miss Techweek 2018 coming to your town in May.

For more info on what Callaghan Innovation’s startup team does, please see our startup site.

Accelerators Update


Kōkiri teams

The teams taking part in Kōkiri, the first ever Maori business accelerator, have just finished their second week-long residential in Hamilton.

A unique feature of Kōkiri is its blend of in-residence and out-of-residence delivery. For one week a month the teams stay fulltime in student accommodation at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa’s Mangakotukutuku campus in Hamilton. The remaining three weeks sees the teams travel to their homes (which range from Christchurch to Auckland) where they receive support from local business mentors as well as remote support from the core accelerator team. This is so the teams are not isolated from their core support network and whanau.

Check out more about the teams online here.

Key dates: Friday 15 June – Kōkiri Demo Day (Air New Zealand Innovation Centre, Auckland).


The Icehouse’s FLUX programme has confirmed five high performing startups for the 2018 cohort.

This includes:  a robot analysis and management company; a tool for dropshippers to find new products; a tool for global search of all of your cloud apps; a company helping brands with high turnover customer-facing employees recruit faster and better; and a therapist in your pocket.

For more information on the cohort, see this Idealog article.  

Key dates: Thursday 28 June – Flux Demo Day (venue TBC).

Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator

This year’s crop of financial technology startups promises to be just as disruptive as the first. Companies are using blockchain to manage payments, creating chatbots, helping freelancers fulfil their tax obligations, creating a whānau-based lending platform and much more.

Check out the teams in the KFA Press Release and in The Spinoff.

Some of the teams are doing incredibly well gaining support at just week four of the programme! KFA Team Choice recently secured $1m NZD in non-equity funding from the Foundation. Read more at the KFA blog.

Key dates: Thursday 17 May - Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator Demo Day (venue TBC).


SPROUT Agritech Accelerator has kicked off the year with nine promising agritech ventures getting exclusive access to world-class mentoring and training from leaders in technology, research and business growth and funding. Companies will receive unparalleled access to the New Zealand and global farming network to validate and grow their businesses.

Check out the teams online here.

Key dates: SPROUT Showcase at Fieldays 2018, 13-16 June, Mystery Creek.

Going on around the country



The weekend of 17th March saw Hamilton’s annual INNES48 startup weekend take on the theme of “Better Together.”

The event attracted teams from around the Waikato, and even a group that included students and academics from Wintec’s Tertiary partner China Chengdu University of Technology.

A great opportunity for collaboration, the challenge sees the region’s movers and shakers come together to build stronger connections and to support entrepreneurship across the Waikato business ecosystem.

Taking out the top prize of $10,000 was Creative Dragons with C&D Box, a cooperative concept, putting convenience store owners together to benefit from better security through technology, group buying and support.

Brown & Down Boys took out the Peoples’ Choice and the Best Pitch awards with an Airbnb style concept to respond to the issues New Zealand marae are facing to maintain their facilities.

Congratulations to all the participants and mentors for a great event – read more online here or on the SODA Inc. Facebook page (@sodaincnz).

Founder Incubators making a mark in first half of 2017/18

Founder Incubators making a mark

Our founder incubator programme partners are knocking it out of the park! Since the start of the reporting period on 1 July 2017 until 31 December 2017, we have seen 99 new startups enter a programme, 61 startups raise $53m of funding, 428.8 FTEs supported (18% Female) and 61 companies referred in to other partners in the ecosystem, including the Regional Business Partner Network.

Keep up the good work supporting startups and entrepreneurs in NZ!

Tech Week

Are you ready for Techweek 2018?

Check out the programme – you can even filter for startup related events – including a tour of the Mahuki Accelerator in Wellington; a series on how IoT is saving the world in Waikato; and a kids’ robotics challenge in Christchurch.

The week-long programme is updated regularly so keep an eye on it, and don’t miss registrations for the best events.

Zeropoint Ventures

Zeropoint Ventures has refreshed its programme, and it looks great. Check out their website to learn more about 0. Sprint – a one-week intensive sprint – and 0. Studio, a place to nurture promising startup ideas with capability and resource.

Upcoming events

17 May 2018 – Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator Demo Day (TBC)

19–27 May – 2018 Techweek 2018

15 June – Kōkiri Demo Day

13-16 June – Sprout showcase @ Fieldays 2018

28 June – Flux Demo Day

Is your startup related event missing from the list? Email Startup Team to get it added in the next issue.