This article was published on 18 July 2017
NZ company Dotterel, runner-up in Callaghan Innovation’s inaugural C-Prize Challenge with noise-suppressing technology for drones, now has international success in its sights after being signed up by an American technology accelerator.
TechStars is one of the most prestigious technology accelerators in the world, connecting companies to global heavy hitters and significant investment opportunities. Dotterel is the first New Zealand-based company to be accepted.
Founded by three brothers in 2015 to address unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) noise in cinematography, Dotterel will participate in Techstar’s first Asia-Pacific programme, to be held in Adelaide from mid-July.
The 3-month programme will focus on defence-applicable technologies and is mentored by Boeing, Thales and Saab - three of the world’s largest defence contractors.
Chief Operating Officer Shaun Edlin says Dotterel has the potential to be ‘the Dolby of drones’ and its technology has possibilities for a huge range of commercial applications. Co-founder Seamus Rowe adds: “However, without Callaghan Innovation’s C-Prize Challenge, we wouldn’t be here. It gives you a goal, in our case a problem to solve, and the money to go after it.”
The C-Prize Challenge invites Kiwi innovators and entrepreneurs to create technology solutions in a designated area. The biennial event is designed to push the boundaries of what’s possible through technology and offers a NZ$100,000 grand prize package.
“It takes a lot of courage to make the leap into innovation,” says Callaghan Innovation’s Chief Technology Officer Chris Hartshorn. “An opportunity like C-Prize can be just the nudge that people with ideas and ambition need to create a tangible concept – and to achieve international success, as evidence by Dotterel.”
Entrants in this year’s Challenge have been invited to create the next generation of wearable technology with a focus on improving human performance and wellbeing, Dr Hartshorn says. “We have a fantastic 92 entries - 46 for the Living Healthier category, 30 for Working Safer and 16 for Playing Smarter.”
Dr Hartshorn says the potential for wearable technology is immense - as an example, Kiwi wearables company iMeasureU sold in June for $3.5m to Vicon, a British motion capture technology specialist.
This year’s C-Prize Challenge finalists will be announced on July 24.