News and events

Startup Highlights - April 2018

open this image in new window: Blueprint startup concept

This article was published on 6 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.

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.

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 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.

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 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?

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.