Start-up highlights March-May 2017
Over the last couple of months, we have seen some fantastic ideas validated, businesses built, capital raised, some fast fails, priceless learning, and good times all around – congratulations to all of you!
With a number of our accelerators beginning to wrap up, we would like to extend a huge thank you to our partner organisations who passionately deliver such amazing programmes to New Zealand start-ups.
And what’s next? As we approach the end of the first half of the year, we are excited about what is coming up for the second half. Keep your eyes peeled for some big announcements later in June.
First exit for Lightning Lab
Lots of buzz around the first successful exit from Lightning Lab 2013 programme in Wellington. Publons has been acquired by Clarivate Analytics - a strategic partner for the company. Publons provides a platform that gives academics credit for the peer review work they do, and whose mission is to "speed up science through the power of peer review". An awesome outcome for the founders, and for the angel investors to see a return in just 4 years time. A great example that shows the value that our accelerator programmes provide for passionate and driven kiwi entrepreneurs.
Sprout agritech muster day
Sprout Agritech Accelerator held its muster day on 21 April at Fonterra HQ in Auckland. Seven teams pitched at muster day: Ceratech, Ectosolutions, Elastic Green, FTek, Knowby, Pinpoint Diagnostics, and Tribal.
Sprout fills a gap for entrepreneurs with great ideas to disrupt the agri sector. In its second year, it is continuing to gain recognition as an internationally recognised agritech accelerator program. We will be working alongside the Sprout team to ensure the start-ups have a transition plan for life after the accelerator. See the end of programme report for more info. Bring on year three of Sprout!
KFA wraps up
Demo Day for the Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator (KFA), co-funded by Callaghan Innovation and run by Creative HQ, was hosted on 19 May on Wellington’s waterfront. Seven teams completing the accelerator pitched to a full theatre of investors, advisors, and entrepreneurs: Wicket, Liberac, National Account Registry, Sharesies, Accounting Pod, Teddy, and Flatfish.
Representing Callaghan Innovation, Vic Crone was a guest speaker alongside Paul Brock (Kiwibank CEO), and Chris Teeling (Xero, Head of Group Strategic Initiatives and Ventures).
Some of the start-ups who presented at demo day are maintaining good press coverage (Sharesies), and will be working towards securing funding from investors.
This event marks the ending of the Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator, and the teams will be wrapping up and planning the next steps on their journey. Again, we will be working with Creative HQ to assist these startups.
Lightning Lab Electric to kick off
Lightning Lab Electric has announced the four ventures that will be participating in its energy sector accelerator programme on 12 June, wrapping up with a Demo Day on September 7: Polyanio, emhTrade, Mitton Electric, and Ampli. These four ventures “represent the enormous scope of the energy industry” and will “assist in developing innovative solutions to meet the sector’s changes and bring disruptive concepts to market”, says Programme Director Brett Holland. Our Energy and Environment Sector Team was part of the selection committee and will be a specialist advisor available to the teams throughout the duration of the programme. Touch base with the team if you would like to know more or be involved. All the best to the startups.
Electric Innovation Challenge winner
A precursor to the accelerator, Lightning Lab Electric’s Innovation Challenge called for innovative ideas in electricity and sustainable energy, and resulted in emhLab winning the top prize of $20,000. The team is now one of the four participating ventures to build its electricity innovation solutions using market validation and product development approaches trialled by companies such as Google, IDEO, and Tesla.
FLUX hosts international trio
The Flux companies were lucky enough to host special guests Dom Price, Edith Yeung, and Peter Dingle on their premises on 4 April. This was a great chance for the teams to hear from some serious international innovators. Meanwhile, the teams are cracking on at an incredible pace, hurtling toward demo day on June 29. We have also seen an amazing achievement with one FLUX company closing a massive capital raise while still in incubation! Congratulations Miriana Lowrie and 1-Centre.
Bill Reichert visits from the US
Callaghan Innovation and AUT partnered to bring Bill Reichert, Managing Director at Garage Technology Ventures and AUT Entrepreneur in Residence, to New Zealand in May. Bill, who has more than 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur and operating executive, shared insights about the US venture capital landscape and met start-ups from the Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator, Flux, Creative HQ, Bizdojo, and Astrolab.
Wintec INNES48 – A start-up competition
From 28-30 April, teams with big ideas gathered together for a sleepless weekend ideating, validating, and working on their pitches. This was a fantastic event run at the amazing Wintec campus in Hamilton and co-hosted by our incubator partner SODA Inc. You can see a livestream of the pitches here.
R9 Accelerator 3+ Demo Day
On 8 June the R9 Accelerator 3+ programme culminated with a demo day where the teams pitched their solutions to a panel of experts – and an enthusiastic audience who got to vote for their favourite team. myTrove got the most votes, winning the People's Choice Award.
Procurement for June 2017 - June 2019
We are making fantastic progress with our procurement for Founder Incubators, General Accelerators, and Maori Accelerator with contract negotiations close to wrapping up. Announcement of successful providers will begin during June – we will also be launching a marketing campaign, so keep an eye out! We’ll have some FAQs for staff available around this time too.
(Date TBC) FLUX Bus Tour
29 June 2017 FLUX/The Icehouse Demo Day
7 September 2017 Lightning Lab Electric Demo Day
Is your start-up related event missing from the list? Email Start-Up Team to get it added in the next issue