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Posts Tagged Market validation

PledgeMe co-flounderer’s words of wisdom Peter Kerr Jan 14

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 You’ve got to give a bit of kudos to someone who calls themselves the chief bubble blower and co-flounderer (yes, spelling is correct) of a company.

Whether you call New Zealand’s first crowd-funding platform PledgeMe a startup is debateable, as the 18 month company is still alive, kicking and more importantly growing.

Said, co-flounderer Anna Guenther gave a short presentation to Wellington’s Entrepreneur’s Club recently, highlighting the mostly ups, and a few of the learnings for PledgeMe that has so far raised $2.1 million across 470 successful fund-raising projects.

PledgeMe’s business model is a 5% success fee commission (with an additional 2.8% to pay for credit card fees). And while of course earning your way is important, you get the feeling Guenther’s absolutely enjoying enabling mostly community projects with an average size of $3500. Apparently 49% of all projects receive their funding target.

I suspect she’s excluded from this average size figure their most successful fund-raising – a $207,000 Christchurch sculpture initiative (matched by Westpac, and with an additional $180,000 sent in by cheques!).

The oldest successful fund-raiser was 82 year old Stu Buchanan, a jazz band leader who crowd-sourced (including from three generations of students he’s taught) enough money to put together his first ever album. He ticked it off his bucket-list!

Guenther gave the following wisdomettes for anyone starting up. Being an internet wizard, she’s also put these points up so you can check it out on Dropbox.

  • Choose the right partner
  • Have a hard conversation at the start around a shareholder agreement. The discussion can focus around the who’s idea it was, the writing of the business plan, other expertise brought to the table. What are people going to be contributing now and down the line?
  • Ask for help – a coffee or beer can be empowering in the knowledge and networks that result
  • Sometimes you have to jump (code is never ready!). Have a launch party, then you have to begin
  • Build networks without expectations. In 12 months, you never know, those contacts could ignite
  • Surround yourself with smart people. You don’t want to be (or think you are) the smartest person in the room
  • Design. The best dollars spent are at the start – and that means making the brand look good and people wanting to connect with it
  • You can’t compare your feelings inside, with others’ outside website. In other words, what other startups show as their exterior view, in no way matches the undoubted angst and sometimes indecision that goes on inside. (Guenther acknowledged Rowan Simpson’s advice on this one)

Geunther also encouraged taking any opportunity to speak at other peoples’ events, launches, meetings as a way of spreading the word/love.

When asked if she thought that the recent launch of an NZ-oriented Kickstarter would affect PledgeMe, she felt no.

“We’re different, and we believe that local is important to us,” she says.

“But indeed, if anyone wants some advice about putting a project up on Kickstarter, or on PledgeMe, give me a yell.”


Callaghan Innovation’s evolution gets curiouser and curiouser Peter Kerr Dec 17

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The analogy of Alice in Wonderland, and curiouser and curiouser comes to mind with Callaghan Innovation.

That and a type of ennui as the 14-months-in-existence Crown Agent struggles to come into life.

Firstly, rumour has it (from a number of well-informed people) that minister of everything Steven Joyce is sitting on CI’s business plan.

Such a business plan was meant to be delivered not long after (but never really defined) CI’s Statement of Intent which came out in early July.

So six months later all we still have is a generic SOI of what Callaghan Innovation will do.

How, (the hard part) is still to be revealed through this business plan. Which, by inference means Steven’s just a bit wary (and one suspects weary) of it.

But wait, there’s more.

In the meantime, there’s been an announcement of a new stakeholder advisory board for CI.

As the press release says:

“This panel of experts will support the Callaghan Innovation Governance Board to deliver fresh thinking, and offer a diversity of perspective and experience that will help grow New Zealand’s economy through science and innovation.”

Intriguing.

The Callaghan Innovation board was announced in January.

Just what has it, and more particularly its chair Sue Suckling been up to since then?

And, with the advisory board on-board as well, who is going to be responsible for what?

sticK always argued that the cart was in front of the horse in effectively scrapping the old IRL without defining what the new entity would do, or how it would do it.

While building the plane while you fly it may be OK for bootstrapping startups, doing the same with 400 or so scientists and engineers already employed is a much less validated process.

You have to suspect that Steven Joyce wishes he’d backed the well-planned potential morphing of IRL into an Advanced Technology Institute model, similar to say Taiwan’s ITRI.

The other exemplar that has been touted is the Danish Technology Institute. Callaghan representatives (and dozens of other NZ science people have visited this over the past decade).

Both ITRI and DTI are applied science/engineering-heavy entities that work hand-in-glove with industry and academia to turn prototypes and concepts into sellable commercial products.

Both have a well-defined mandate; they know their role.

Which, for all the commercialisation-speak of the embryonic Callaghan Innovation; it is still a long way off defining.

Quite where and how the new CI stakeholder advisory board will ‘advise’ Callaghan Innovation will be fascinating.

But, if the advisory board chairman Andrew Coy (magnetic resonance equipment-maker Magritek chief executive) wanted to help the country and his own company’s growth, he could do much worse than suggest dusting off the ATI model.

It could be just the thing to bring to a Mad Tea Party.


We’re getting over our notions of shame around business failure Peter Kerr Dec 10

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I’m putting the proposition out there that we’re getting over our collective Kiwi hang-up about startup and business failure.

That is, whereas in the past we’d write somebody off for having tried, and been not successful in a new business venture – these days we’re much more inclined to encourage them to dust themselves off, and get on with something else.

From that point of view, we’re becoming much more American in our attitude to ‘failure’, and as long as it is failure for the right reasons, are inclined to regard it as experience.

This was the basis of a speech I recently had the privilege of giving to the NZ Institute of Patent Attorneys in Wellington.

Now, there’s no academic research that’s been carried out on this change in our collective attitude; not that I could find anyway.

And, in checking with Professor Sally Davenport of Victoria University’s School of Management, she doesn’t believe there’s been any study of this kind either – but being ever-entrepreneurial herself, would be keen to research the topic if some funding was available.

In talking about some of the anecdotal evidence for the proposition (see below), Sally made the following observation.

“It is how these things become normalised. We’re getting over the tipping point.”

So, and based pretty much on a gut feel, what’s some evidence that we’re collectively over a tipping point with regard to business failure.

Item 1.

Lightning Labs.

Now this Wellington (and nationwide) initiative to fast track good ideas into investor-backable businesses saw nine February startups, pitch to would be financiers in May.

Four of the startups garnered over $2 million in investment between them. Just as notably in a September press release was the unashamed dealing with and description of what the unsuccessful fund-finders were up to.

Some are still building their business model, one’s taking an amateur sports funding concept to South America, and the other teams have moved onto other ventures. But, they’ll all be back for LL II next year. To all extent and purposes, this LL press release was a recognition, if not a celebration of failure, and of its absolute value.

Item 2.

The TIN 100 report, though in this context the discussion around the report which came out in late October.

TIN 100 report founder Greg Shanahan gets to meet a fair number of the founders of these companies, including those of the TIN 100+, those smaller companies (less than $2 million annual turnover) hovering outside the main group.

“Most were baby-boomers, most were grey-haired,” says Shanahan.

What he didn’t say, but is sure to be the case is that a fair number of these CEOs will have known previous non-success.

This age group belies the notion that all entrepreneurs are in their twenties – and backs the stats that it is older people who actually begin more startups than younger (see a couple of studies, here and here).

The other ‘advantage’ of baby-boomer entrepreneurs is we’re more prepared have a go. At our age, failure is in fact NOT trying.

Item 3.

The Dead Startup Society.

A couple of years ago, the idea of getting together to commemorate a business failure would’ve been an absolute non-starter. But the packed-out attendance of this offshoot of Lean Startup Wellington on November 20 showed how cathartic people found the experience (I’ll get up next time to demonstrate my non-success).

As the Dead Startup Society said on its Meetup page:

“Many of us have been involved in startups that have failed – some quietly, some spectacularly, most somewhere in between. Come along to reflect and share our failures and the lessons we’ve learned from them.”

If there is anything that demonstrates a change in attitude, it is an ability to take the mickey out of ourselves.

Laughing about failure, after you’ve swallowed its bitter pill, takes away its stigma.

This part of our NZ tall poppy syndrome (the knocking machine) is no longer the invisible anchor preventing those of us who have failed for the right reasons, from getting out there and having another go.

Live long and prosper – as Star Trek’s Spock would say.


KiwiNet and the sell of commercialisation Peter Kerr Nov 26

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There’s always something to learn at commercialisation workshops.

KiwiNet, the group-hug of university and CRI commercialisation units held a Wellington-based forum around understanding customers.

So, here’s couple of interesting bits and pieces from the day – of which I was only able to attend some of, so this is in no way representative.

KiwiNet chair Ruth Richardson, also sits on the KiwiNet Pre-Seed Accelerator Fund (PSAF) investment committee that evaluates ideas put forward by its members – before such ideas are put forward to MBIE.

She gave some investment criteria tips for the ±30 attendees.

  • The ‘sell’ usually comes in your answers to the question and answers, not in the initial presentation
  • Show your enthusiasm
  • Bring your principal investigator if you can
  • Bringing a representative from the business partner can work very well
  • External expert advice can add substantial value
  • Demonstrate value right along the supply chain
  • If you’re unsure, try a project review
  • Listen to the committee and address the concerns
  • It’s OK to fail

Magritek CEO Andrew Coy (risking, he reckons the wrath of his work colleagues) considers that the drivers of a successful academic scientist and commercialiser (who could be a scientist) are different.

Difference/orientation between an academic scientist and a commercial scientist

Science Commercial
Ideas Execution
Best Good enough
Right Successful
Thorough Fast
Publish Secret
Individual Team
Funding Investment and return
Wide ranging Focus
Happy PBRF Happy customer

Coy commented that sometimes universities get very tied up in trying to value intellectual property, before any money has been made from a possible venture.

“Share in the future value, not today’s costs,” he says.

He gave the example of Stanford University. The university owns any IP that comes from its scientists while they’re working there – but the university then licences it back to the inventor for a dollar. They then have a huge incentive to make the technology worth something.

Finally, Coy says rather than attempting to tie up any intellectual property in patents and the like, “the best IP is about making it work in reality,” he says.

“You want something that is hard to do, and you have to do lots of little things right to achieve it.”


‘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


Punakaiki Fund now a solution in search of a problem? Peter Kerr Oct 08

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So, will the Punakaiki Fund get to ‘Go’?

And, if so, how will it differ from the angel investment funds dotted around the country?

Originally hoping to raise between $20m to $50m, when the original close date of October 2 saw it unlikely to garner $5 million, the fund closure was extended to October 25.

The managers of PF will also drop its management fee to $150,000 from the original $300,000 proposal among other decreases in fees.

Punakaiki Fund’s purpose is to invest in early stage New Zealand technology, internet and design companies.

PF’s proposed director/manager, and internet commentator Lance Wiggs, partly blames the poor uptake for the offer on it coming to the market at the same time as the Meridian offer, with brokers dedicated to that process.

Now, this may or may not be the case.

But, especially at this much lower raise offer, it has to be questioned whether the PF is now a solution in search of a problem.

The angel investment scene is pretty healthy around the country, with 15 different member organisations around New Zealand having invested $220 million since 2008 (according to the Angel Association website, see at the bottom of the page).

Very often an angel investment in a particular company is syndicated among a number of investors, so there’s a spread of risk. The costs and fees associated with the investment are also relatively low.

So, if you’re someone with spare (i.e. can afford to lose it if the company goes bust) money, would you do it through an angel arrangement or the Punakaiki Fund? To be fair, PF in its disclaimer does point out its investments are also risky.

At $5m, the PF is only ever going to be able to make small-ish investments.

If it had managed to raise much more, then it might have been able to provide the $2-$10 million funding and further investment gap that many high growth companies find difficult to source in New Zealand.

Not being able to find that quantity of money is one reason many of these promising companies find they have to head offshore to secure the next stage of their growth.

All of which is a pity. It would be good for a publicly listed investment vehicle to be visible and successful.

So, good luck Punakaiki, and thanks for raising the profile of smart companies. It would be good to have you in the mix, but the omens aren’t good.


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.


Bacteria detector set to scale up for food industry Peter Kerr Jul 02

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I’m always a bit of a sucker for innovations and improvements that add value to our biological industries.

After all, as a country we’d be fools not to play to our major strength in producing food and fibre.

An innovation’s appeal is also greatly increased when it solves a problem – and in this particular case it is instantly identifying the presence of bacteria in food products.

It’s one reason I’m keen on seeing Veritide’s real-time, non-contact bacterial scanner gain more traction. (Note: Veritide’s in the process of updating its website following its pivot to concentrate on the food industry).

The Christchurch based startup has proven its ultraviolet light and florescence reading technology to detect (usually faecal) contamination on meat carcasses – working with ANZCO to prove its concept. (Bacteria emit back a slightly different wavelength of light – a clever algorithm can interpret the mass of light information obtained from a scanner, showing whether bacteria are present).

Particularly with fresh, chilled meat, bacterial spoilage is a major challenge on what is essentially a sterile product as the animal’s pelt is pulled off. The United States (with others sure to follow) has a Zero Faecal Tolerance on its importing borders, and detecting and remedying bacterially compromised meat is a multi-million dollar problem for the meat industry.

The current bacterial detection method is to take selected swabs from the carcass and meat plant surfaces, and grow these swabs on petrie dishes over three days.

As you can imagine, such a method is pretty hit and miss, and even with hygiene standards that match hospital operating theatres, meat companies find it difficult to detect and remedy bacterial contamination.

Hence, the potential attractiveness of a real-time, non-contact bacteria detector.

Not only can it assess all of a carcass (compared to selected swabs), but surfaces can be monitored as well. Remedying contamination is also, obviously, much quicker and easier.

Having proven its concept, Veritide’s looking to finish its prototype development and testing before the end of the year, and then take a sellable portable device to market. From that point of view, it is building on the initial investment made by Endeavour i-cap, Ngai Tahu Equities and Powerhouse Ventures.

While its initial target is the meat industry, it is a disruptive technology which has the potential to be a game changer within the meat and wider food industries. Apparently (though that’s always difficult to believe), there’s little competition from a real-time non-contact point of view.

Poultry and shellfish share exactly the same bacterial detection and mitigation problems – for which an instant ID would also be heaven sent.

So, as said at the beginning of this blog, Veritide solves a problem in our biological industries – it doesn’t have to go hunting for a market; there’s an obvious need. Compared to many other innovations it is what it commonly referred to as a no-brainer.

And, to mangle a metaphor…..the world’s their oyster.

On that basis, anyone’s free to give Veritide chief executive Craig Tuffnell a call on 021 945 944, or email on c.tuffnell@veritide.com for more information or to find out how they could be more involved.


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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