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Posts Tagged cloud computing

Chipping in for multicore champion – let’s get parallel programming Peter Kerr Feb 04

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 You’ve got to admire someone who has a vision, almost as much as someone who is prepared to use the word vision.

So here’s a plug for Nicolas Erdody, founder of Open Parallel, and more importantly the organiser of Multicore World Conference 2014.

Erdody’s well aware that computer hardware power – where many cores (essentially single computers) can be placed on a single chip – has advanced beyond the IT industry’s ability to program for such beasts.

In this light, he’s put together for a third consecutive year a two-day conference at Auckland’s AUT on 25 and 26 February that brings together many global experts on dealing with this challenge.

Naturally Erdody’s keen to get as many attendees to the world-class event as possible (just under $1000 for full attendance, including a conference dinner on the Tuesday night).

Equally he wants NZ Inc to wake up to the realisation that there’s a real opportunity for our collective psyche and IT infrastructure to ride the just-beginning wave of programming possibilities that exist around multicore coding.

Erdody’s passionate that a concentrated effort of NZ government, commercial interest, engineering and developers’ communities, R&D and academia could provide programming solutions for multicore.

Given that multicore’s parallel coding requirements are weightless, location agnostic, and an increasing problem needing to be solved, Erdody’s dead right about the opportunity.

Rounding up the collective cats to bring it to fruition, even in a country as only two degrees of separation connected as New Zealand has been an ongoing challenge for the Oamaru (yes, you read that right), former Uruguayan businessman.

However he must be doing something right. After two years staging the event in Wellington, for the third conference Erdody has pulled Auckland’s AUT (Auckland University of Technology) onboard as one of the sponsors, along with well-known open source software promoters Catalyst IT, SKA Organisation (from the UK) Cray Inc, NesI, NZOSS, MBIE, ThinkAgency, Scoop Media and NVIDIA.

There are more than 20 speakers at MCW2014, with over two-thirds of them from overseas.

Erdody would love to see as many IT managers, CTOs and CIOs, engineers and developers as possible at what is cutting edge thinking – and what is sure to be an inside look at where computing is heading in the immediate and not-to-distant future.

In a sense (though Erdody’s too polite to say this), anyone connected with the IT industry at even a slightly senior level would be a fool not to be there – if not for the speaker quality, then for the informal conversations which alone can often be worth the price of admission.

Additionally, on February 27 & 28, Erdody’s helped organise in association with AUT’s Dr. Andrew Ensor and Prof. Sergei Gulyaev a Square Kilometer Array (Computing for SKA) Workshop – the global initiative, using radio telescopes based in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand to better map the universe.  (New Zealand is a full member of the 10 country SKA Organisation, which is a cornerstone sponsor of MCW2014).

(Incidentially, Open Parallel is the only New Zealand company that leads a work package of, admittedly a small part of a huge international effort, the design phase of the SKA. Open Parallel’s contribution to the SKA isn’t funded by the NZ government, and, as a result, Erdody would appreciate international sponsorship or donors for the effort).

Finally, and getting back to the ‘vision thing’ (as accidentally coined by George Bush), Erdody deserves recognition for hammering away at an opportunity for New Zealand.

Our country could position itself as a centre of excellence and make lots of money by solving multicore programming problems for others.

Who is up for the discussion, the challenge and the prospect?

(In particular, government-type advisers looking for the next big thing, are you listening?)


‘Always be pitching, looking for feedback’ – Wipster’s Rollo Wenlock Peter Kerr Nov 19

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“Get your idea out there as much as possible, pitch it to everyone, even to strangers in a cafe, see what happens. If it doesn’t resonate, you probably don’t have anything.”

That was Wipster head sherang’s advice given at Wellington’s Entrepreneur’s Club in mid October.

Wipster was part of the Capital’s Lightning Lab initial inductees, and successfully pitched to 150 investors at Demo-Day in Mid-May. This capital raising brought in $600,000 for the startup – though this took a fair bit of too-ing and fro-ing, and it wasn’t till August that the money was locked down.

The cloud platform based service allows work-in-progress videos to be easily shared with team mates and clients, who can annotate feedback directly on the video.

Essentially, it streamlines the whole video-making process, with the video itself becoming the canvas for all communication to go through.

Compared to endless email chains which require naming a particular timestamp of the video, and then the editor having to go back and forwards from email to video, it is a neat solution to a problem says Rollo Wenlock.

He’s been in the video/film production and editing arena for a number of years, so is well versed in the frustrations of getting a final, edited and agreed by all participants, video out the door.

Considering that Wenlock had his lightbulb moment for what became Wipster only last November, he and Wipster have come a long way. Admittedly, Wipster’s been testing ever-improving versions of their product to those who have signed up as Beta customers.

But more importantly, the company’s about to hire a rockstar marketing/sales person whose sole focus will be to get out and sell to some of an estimated two million video-makers around the world, with a November 1 release date for a thoroughly tested product.

This includes staying in touch with, and letting some of the 2000 people using the software know what is happening, and using them to test and help refine Wipster.

Wipster now also has a board of directors, a chief technical officer, designer, front end developer, “and myself”, says Wenlock.

But he’s a passionate promoter of Wipster, and leading the charge while learning new skills along the way.

He’s also clearly having a lot of fun in the new role.

“We’re always one step from failure; but by putting yourself in the firing line, there’s always the chance you’re going to succeed magnificently.”

Wenlock gave two (formal) pieces of advice – given that the entire 20 minute informal presentation was a wealth of how to’s.

  • The importance of a startup getting to ‘product market fit’. This can take months – and is validated is when you get multiple customers buying the product
  • Startup is a buzzword. Focus on what problem you are solving; and then what’s your solution is to that problem.

“Then tell everyone. Don’t secretly develop it, loudly develop it. You’re building a business, and that’s why nobody gives a s#@t about the idea – action is the only thing,” he says.

Wenlock calculates that if Wipster can be useful for 5% of the two million video producers, who will be happy to pay $49/month for the service, then a viable business can be created.

The Wipster team also has a range of additional features ready to be rolled out, which will compliment the core feature ‘comment on the video’, but it all needs validating…

Wenlock’s zeal for Wipster, and ability to succinctly explain why it is good and the problem it solves is obviously key to its ongoing success in such a short timespan.

The recent launch of the 9th edition of the TIN 100 (successful high technology companies) showed that much of NZ’s ICT international success is based on being in the cloud, with a SaaS (software as a service) for which recurring revenue is generated.

Wipster ticks all the boxes.

Don’t be surprised to see this Wipster weightless product making the lower echelons of the TIN 100 (the TIN 100+, more than $2 million in revenue a year) in the not too distant future


Failing companies the most open to new ideas – Wes Yun, UX Design Day Peter Kerr Oct 15

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“The most exciting places to work are those big companies that are failing. They’re most open to ideas, they have nothing to lose. They’re looking for the Hail Mary pass.”

[American gridiron quarterback’s hope and a prayer hurl of the ball down the field in the faith it’ll be caught by one of his own players]

Wes Yun


This counter-intuitive comment, in an offline conversation with the UX Design Day’s keynote speaker Wes Yun, was one of the unexpected aha moments of an event which attracted a fullhouse of 360 attendees. It was also the first conference to be held in Wellington’s refurbished Shed 6.

(No doubt) using design thinking, the organisers had Yun as the last speaker of the day rather than the first – so there wasn’t that gradual crowd erosion that often happens at these sort of do’s.

The self-deprecating American designer these days is creative director at Samsung (USA), but among other stints has been Motorola, RIM (on its last legs at now renamed Blackberry) and FHM (as it was creating its online platform in the early 2000s).

A few of his take home points in his hour-long (but it didn’t seem it) presentation were:

  • When you’re designing something new, you have to be aware of the old thing you’re displacing (the old thing, or the people attached to it in various ways may not be that keen to be replaced)
  •  Get comfortable with failure. If at first you don’t fail…try…fail again
  • Don’t fail fast. Listen fast

Yun also made the observation that it is a fascinating time to be a designer.

“Everybody ‘gets’ what you’re talking about, that your trying to influence for the better, culture society, the world, behaviour.”

And for a couple of other take home points (unfortunately I was only able to make the later afternoon session).

Ruth Brown, head of UX at Trademe:

Ruth Brown

  • Data is the new coal. Abundant, dirty and bloody difficult to mine…but coal drove the industrial revolution (told to her by her friend Hansa, who received it from her friend Pierre, who is not sure where he got it from)
  • Design like you know everything. Listen like you know nothing

Resn designer Marcus Brown:

Marcus Brown

  • Audio adds the emotion. (Marcus reckons that so often designers are concentrating on the pictures, graphics and movement, they tack on the music and sound at the end almost as an after-thought. Compare that to the movies where audio is a key component right from the beginning – it adds to the overall feeling

This was an excellent event, and those people I asked who had been there all day felt they’d learned lots.

As a plug, and a hope that this inaugural UX Design Day is repeated next year, get there if you can.


The heart of the matter, and a matter of the heart, is design by intention Peter Kerr Oct 01

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Seeing as on the design side of things I’m more in the ‘I know when it works, I just don’t know how to do it properly’ camp…here’s a plug to the UX Design Day.

UX stands for User Experience – a customer-oriented view of whatever it is you’re offering.

This is happening on October 10 at Shed 6 in Wellington – and part of the reason to give it a boost is (as you’d hope and expect) the great website and more they’ve created.

Again, based on great design, they extracted half an hour of my time clicking through some of their 60 useful design resources. In case you can’t decide which of these to further browse, there’s even an option to play resource roulette!

Here’s what the organisers say about the one day, $150 event (which in the scheme of conferences is pretty good value it strikes me).

UX Design words, jpeg

Knowing that I don’t know much or enough about design, and that my son’s about to embark on (as yet undecided exactly what) design-oriented tertiary education, I’m looking forward to finding out more about the whole subject.

It’s a big gap in my understanding – and, apparently, you’re never too old to learn.

They’ve even included a ‘Convince your boss’ page. It takes you to a single page explanation/justification, with a box in the top left hand corner to put your name into. Very cool and clever.


Showcase site demonstrates how others can digitally engage with members Peter Kerr Sep 10

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Jamie Houston of Honk Marketing has been using his own (sideline, but now about to turn profitable) business as a showcase of how others can use the web to improve customer interaction.

This blog gives a few of the lessons the Wellingtonian has learned (and builds on a first story about him here).

As a lover of music in general and ukuleles in particular, Houston did a fair bit of research and found it was a very popular niche, with groups of like-minded people.

Hence, he has set up his, ‘Love My Ukulele’ website, which is intimately linked to a Facebook page.

Now, at the time of interview, Houston had over 6500 likes on this page. He’s also spent a few dollars on Facebook to specifically target/advertise to self-confessed Uke lovers.

And the Facebook Page is being constantly updated; but, rather than have to constantly find new material, he uses content submitted by his ‘members’ which is displayed proudly on his LMU website. When people Like his Facebook page, they’re asked if they wish to ‘join’ the LMU Club, a Self-Hosted WordPress website, with a Pinterest-like plug in and Blog section showing photos of people with their Ukes and featuring articles from the ‘members’.

The signer-uppers also receive weekly newsletter emails about ukulele-related tips, products, stories, and goings on.

From those Facebook likes, Houston has had over 750 people join his LMU mailing list – along with a little bit of information (including where they live), and a disclaimer that LMU has the copyright to re-user material posted on the site (including member-generated blogs and pictures). This is all done on a legal page.

Equally, this is all done automatically, and Houston can easily segment this ‘club’ that people have joined through their own volition.

As he says too, Facebook can easily change its rules, and just as MySpace disappeared, could become quickly unfashionable. For this reason, encouraging Uke-lovers to join his email list and use his own website, over which he has control, is a key part of his marketing strategy.

But, by also posting photos and stories that appear on the LMU website, back to Facebook, the possibility of fans liking and sharing the love is increased, and with it the word of mouth opportunities continue to grow.

“My objective is to build a mailing list off Facebook,” says Houston. “From there it is a soft-sell, that’s the strategy; the more-so because it is a heart-based one.”

One example is a community-voted-on T-shirt design. Using a crowd-funding platform, in which those wanting (and willing to pay NZ$40) a certain ukulele-inspired T-shirt, those signed-up knew that 50 people would have to pre-pay via credit cards before the ‘go’ button would be pressed at a USA-based printer who made and posted the finished article. (Only then too would their money be transferred)

So far Houston’s made two different crowd sourced and funded T-shirts.

“The strategies we’re using are cutting edge,” says Houston. “It is about engagement and having fun. We’re also straight up, not hiding anything, though 99% of people don’t read the small print telling them that we will make money if they purchase anything we recommend.”

Houston says LMU is in-effect a scalable, duplicable (by himself and others) effort, that is automated to a large extent.

Posting new material, at this stage anyway, is easy, and he’ll be looking at new ways to build off the mailing list – including affiliate sales of Uke-related products from the website.

He says that by understanding products that are freely, or relatively cheaply, available to all through the internet, people can build a separate business.

Of course too, he’s happy to act as an adviser to others wishing to automate customer engagement, and earn a reward for his own years of learning how all this works.

At the moment though, his LMU acts as an exemplar for those he sells his consultancy services to, and he’s got other potential niches up his sleeve.

For example, lots of people like cats enough to wish to be part of a group dedicated to moggies.

Don’t be surprised to see something turn up on that one day!


Building an integrated interweb presence – easily Peter Kerr Sep 03

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For many people (including especially myself), figuring out how to integrate all things interwebby in order to build a business is, at the very least, daunting.

Think cleverly using Facebook and other social media, building a database, selectively interacting with potential customers – and doing it all automatically and simply.

It is something that brings thoughts of designers and coders and a slew of geeks to produce something that looks half-decent.

But a recent meeting at a WordPress Wellington users Meetup, brought to light someone who has figured out, using either free or very cost-effective tools, ways to look a million dollars, and interact with a select group of people.

Now, Jamie Houston’s been on a self-learning process for a number of years, and as a recently repatriated Lower Hutt lad from Australia, has set up Honk Marketing as a specialist ‘backend’ marketing consultancy, helping small businesses with their marketing systems.

Houston especially gives credit to ‘Warrior Forum’, where Warriors Special Offers are early stage products and software, for sale at heavily reduced prices to assist online marketers.

It was through these courses that he learned some of the secrets, and products, to fine tune his own offer and how to go about targeting a small, passionate group.

As Houston sells it, most people offering website development or marketing advice and the like talk about what it should ‘look’ like, the layout, the style, having a social media presence etc, etc.

“No one talks about the ‘backend’ i.e. the systems you should have in place to identify your hottest prospects, the marketing campaigns you should have in place to nurture those people who are not ready to buy from you right now, the tagging and segmenting of your databases, automated email campaigns and the like,” says Houston. “Businesses tend to know they need to do something in these areas, but they don’t know how.”

So; partly to act as a crash-test-dummy and prove his own marketing credentials, but also to develop a separate business himself, Houston’s set up ‘Love My Ukulele’, an integrated, largely automatic system to plug into and interact with this select group.

Now it helps that Houston is both a music nut and ukulele fiend himself, so his six months in the making process to build a following is rooted in a genuine enthusiasm for what he’s promoting. As he describes it a “ukulele’s the instrument of peace, of happiness.”

Now, I’m going to have a follow up blog on how Houston’s gone about setting up a Facebook and separate website for Love My Ukulele (a primer for everyone really). He gives a few good tips and specific actions – and he’s constantly coming up with new ideas – which has grown a business that “is about to turn into profit.”

Houston emphasises that he’s developed a plan beyond mere Likes on a Facebook page, that engages people and equally allows/gets them to share – and along the way purchase products such as specially designed T-shirts.

“It is a combination of years of training, time and effort,” he says. “At the same time, if you haven’t nailed social media, you won’t be able to make any money from your internet efforts.”


Appiness is good service – Icestack launches its moonshot to America Peter Kerr Aug 27

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Given that his presentation was to the MobileTech Summit 2013, a primary industry focused event, Andrew McPherson’s app analogy was very apt.

A tractor can be likened to a mobile device, the tool that is driven off the Power Take Off is the app says the chief executive of ‘Icestack’, and of ECONZ an Auckland-based 40 year old enterprise wireless provider.

“The apps that work best help achieve a single task very efficiently,” he says.

Speaking to over 200 attendees at the inaugural MTS2013 in Wellington, McPherson spruiked Icestack, succinctly described as a community-based app to directly connect with industry services.

Icestack’s a separate gig for McPherson et al as a technology to help people find and interact with good service providers.

(As an aside, ‘Experieco’, as the builders of Icestack are described as McPherson, ‘chief collaborator’, Philip Court, ‘big picture visionist’, and Nicky Lowrie, ‘agony aunt’).

It is about to be launched after a year’s perfecting – with America as its first major target market. From their own market research, there’s nothing that achieves this as quickly, easily and practically as Icestack (though of course he would say that!)

Icestack came about in the first instance when McPherson found it difficult to find a good plumber for a rural house he was involved with.

His team looked at somehow incorporating social media, though quickly found that sites such as Facebook “aren’t that good in a business sense.”

At the same time, searching for someone via the desktop isn’t that useful as many service providers aren’t present there as such.

Hence the solution goals the team came up with:

  • To allow businesses or individuals to build a list of the service companies they regularly work with
  • To be able to interact with the service companies to schedule work and get realtime updates
  • To be able to share the list of companies with friends and clients

In designing the Icestack app, McPherson says they very much wanted to continue the real world way of doing things where, usually first, you’ll ask a friend or colleague if they know of a good carpenter (or plumber or fencer or whatever).

In other words people know other (good) people – and by being able to link these connections in a social media sense, an individual can tap into a wider service community.

“In a social-mobile world, social business communities will be the new business clusters,” McPherson says. “Businesses can and should band together to offer combined services in a geographic region.”

The combination of these ideas has resulted in a self-described app that allows people to “find, store, request, rate and recommend your favourite service providers.”

Icestack itself is a free android and Apple app for an individual end-user.

Where Icestack hopes to make its money is by providing it to service providers, who only pay (US$15/month) once they obtain six or more service requests through the app.

As McPherson described offline from MTS2013, Icestack is a ‘moonshot’ for the Experieco group.

The job is to as quickly as possible attempt to get the app to go viral, and not be one of the living dead among an estimated 1.5 million apps that have been developed in what is essentially less than half a decade.

Whether the app achieves a single task very efficiently, and individuals and businesses tell their mates about it – time will tell.


Primary industry mobile tech forum draws the digerati Peter Kerr Aug 20

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Numbers tell a story on their own.

And the fact that over 220 attendees ponyed up at the Mobile Tech Summit 2013 in Wellington on August 7 & 8 underscores the message that our natural resources aren’t as old-hat as some would like to believe.

This new event is designed to showcase current and upcoming mobile innovations in New Zealand’s principle food and fibre sections.

In other words; the application of smartphones and mobile devices across our biological industries – which for all the movies made in New Zealand and talk of standalone digital businesses, still underpin our economy.

Indeed, it is the use of an increasingly wide range of digital tools to improve the production, quality, performance (and partly the consumer reaction/acceptance) of products of our land and sea that MTS2013 was clearly aimed at.

The physical, financial and environmental information and components that can be added right along the value-chain from pasture to plate, (or seedling to structure or fish to dish) is huge – and there’s no shortage of tech products for what is commonly known as decision support.

There was a wide range of speakers and different types of vendors – with, unsurprisingly, the start point for many being of the products on offer being a map; farm, forest, vineyard or sea.

The layers of information that can be applied to this spatial place range from soil type to irrigation history, fertiliser requirements to the crops and animal production that have come off a particular piece of dirt.

One challenge I’ve often observed is how these different dataset talk to each other, and how an individual actually makes money from being up with the tech play (beyond such information simply being a cool thing to be involved with).

However one of the underlying themes through the two days is how such silos of knowledge can interlink and interact so that better decisions can be made – even if many of the speakers acknowledged the difficulty of enabling meaningful collaboration between datasets.

The industry will get there; though one factor that will need to be overcome is demographic. Older farmers (and the average age of sheep and beef farmers is 58) mostly aren’t going to be interested in adopting the new mobile technology.

In that regard though, by the time those farmers retire, the different mobile apps and datasets will be much more integrated and provide a much more compelling logic and means to make more money.

Finally, a couple of points raised by speakers.

Mark Pawsey of SST Software (Australia) says that “pure cloud is a challenging environment for agriculture”. This is because, firstly, there’s a tonne of information that can be gleaned at one place and point in time from a piece of land. And, secondly, because wireless networks are comparatively underpowered in rural situations, (and devices such as iPads don’t have that much computing power), getting that data to the cloud to be processed is a trick in itself.

That said, Lukasz Zawilski, the Ministry of Primary Industries’ strategy and architecture manager reckons “mobility is really good at solving complex problems.”

The organisers of this event were no doubt delighted at the turnout, and made the closing comment to the effect they were happily surprised at the number who turned up.

This interface of real (products) and digital (data and intelligence) looks like it could be an opportunity to mine for the foreseeable future.


Connecting business and organisations by collaborating on content – Flightdec Peter Kerr Aug 06

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One of the small ironies of the internet-enabled world is that it is meant to bring communities of interest closer together.

And while there’s Facebook and Twitter and other social media connectors, no one has really cracked the wider challenge of business and other organisational groups sharing and supporting each other.

Everyone operates in a silo – even though such groups share the same interests, philosophies, (often) customers, export outlook, motivations and success stories.

At the same time, (usually) smaller companies and groups struggle to provide new content – which is one of the major important components of maintaining search engine visibility, visitors and relationships with their own customers.

Which is where Flightdec.com comes to the party.

Its creators, Fraser Carson et al (being Sheridan Bruce, Yvonne Ward and Logan Hendra) could find nothing that made it easy for like-minded groups to easily share content across their websites.

So, they created their own – which as well as being a simple way to build websites, is an even easier way to network with and share content with other Flightdec websites.

Apparently they’ve figured out al l the backend geeky stuff that makes it easy to (tick a box) share, and selectively publish content from others.

For example, Carson and others are pushing the Technology Valley concept (the Hutt Valley and now wider Wellington’s high and medium tech business community). One way of bringing all these diverse, but shared interest, business groups together is under the technologyvalley.co.nz site.

Members, some of which Weltec Connect’s Centre for Smart Products Paul Mather describes as being ‘sparks in the dark’, are one or two man (or women) bands, often doing clever value-added products. Under a Technology Valley community, they’re better connected, aware of others up to equally clever things, and more aware of wider initiatives that are happening – for example at Callaghan Innovation.

Equally, if they have something they want to tell the wider world (or just their community), they can spread the word, easily, wider than just their own website viewers.

Carson says the group’s spent considerable time and money getting this product right and easy to use. Having stress-tested its performance, it is available for wider sale – and because it is template, and templatable, the scale it can be applied to is virtually limitless.

sticK was flattered to be asked if my blogs could be included and naturally, as a way of leveraging original content, I said yes.

Without having investigated whether the claim that no one else has figured how to easily allow communities of interest to collaborate and share content that’s optimised for mobile and tablet – I’ll take Carson’s word on that score.

In the meantime, check it out – a content solution for a connecting problem.


Lightning Lab startups ask – ‘where’s the money’? Peter Kerr May 21

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Lightning Lab 2013 saw nine startups pitch their digital products to would-be investors last week, seeking expansion capital for ideas that 12 weeks before mostly existed on paper.

The Wellington Demo Day saw highly polished presentations, with clear development plans and just as clear ‘here’s how we and our investors are going to make money’ to about 300 people at Te Papa’s Soundings Theatre. About half the audience were financiers.

Any investment secured goes to the next stage of development and expansion into global markets.

My initial underlying thought was jealousy.

Why? Because the participants have obviously learned so much.

Tui Te Hau, CEO of Wellington startup incubator Creative HQ up summed this rationale better than I can.

“Lightning Lab is turning out 30 entrepreneurs with a harder edge and keener and smarter drive to succeed than many. How far they go is up to them, but these companies are 12 weeks old and they already have more scars than most get in several years.”

These nine companies were whittled from 87 applications to LL late last year, and each received $6000 per head from a set of founding investors. By being part of a three month intensive acceleration programme, their digital concepts have been validated, built and established with early customers.

The startups have been mentored by local and international advisers, faced hard deadlines in growth targets and a structured model for accelerating early stage business growth based on international best practice.

When Te Hau talks about scars, she’s not exaggerating – but obtaining them so quickly and with the ability to ask advice such as “what should we do now” in such a concentrated manner – is something so valuable it really can’t be priced.

What is patently clear is that the 30 participants, and their wider networks, have had such an injection of entrepreneurial spirit and possibilities that multiplier spinoffs and benefits can only result for Wellington and New Zealand.

Put another way; this programme, with its hand-holding, arse-kicking and question-asking intensiveness will create a virtuous circle of increasing wealth.

And sure, like all of us, these startups have, and will make mistakes.

But, they know what needs to be done to get back on track, or alternatively how to fail-fast (and then get on with another project).

Because the Demo Day was asking for money, what can be reported publicly is limited.

Suffice to say that (and you’d have to imagine that the mentoring has been also strong in this area) the investment dollars being asked for by the startups seemed reasonable and appropriate.

Many of the companies had potential exponential growth rates, but realism ruled.

It is now up to the individual companies themselves to reveal if or what investment(s) have been made in them – and as this becomes known Lightning Lab will have its own raison d’etre validated.

For the record, those presenting were:

LearnKo – delivers online learning programs to English language organisations in Asia, harnessing Australasian tutors, training them and providing them with content to deliver through an online classroom

Publons – platform for crowd-sourced peer-review of academic articles, where academics build a reputation for their contributions. An alternative to the extremely slow, expensive and closed status quo of the past 300 years of academic publishing

Adeez – specialist mobile marketing platform, enabling brands and their agencies to increase their ROI on mobile marketing

Expander – tracking and analytics platform that protects brands by providing them with powerful tools to combat counterfeit, while connecting manufacturers and consumers

teamisto – turn a typical business sponsorship donation to an amateur sports club or team into an effective advertising channel with measurable results

Questo – works with organisations by providing a platform to create activities with incentives and rewards to engage their visitors. A mobile app and analytics engine provides the ability to track, measure and evaluate their visitors’ behaviour

promoki – social media platform that gamifies photo and video contests. Help brands co-create advertising campaigns with their audience and distribute crowd-filled media across multiple social networks

Kidsgomobile – software device to help parents teach their children to become responsible users of their first smartphone. Tool that notifies parents if their child engages in potentially risky phone behaviour and helps them resolve these issues

WIP – platform that enables professional video makers to share their work-in-progress videos with their team and clients to gather precise and meaningful feedback

Without doubt, some of these startups will go on to become much larger businesses. Without doubt too, most of them would not have got to this ‘go’ position without Lightning Lab.

The learning has been immense, and a thumbs up to those investors and sponsors who put their hands in their pockets from the get-go to kick the whole thing off.

Applications for the next Lightning Lab 2014 will open in September this year.


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