The Lightning Lab
Startup ‘acceleration’ is where the urgency and energy of The Amazing Race meets the structure and rigor of business incubation, condensed into a 12-week timeframe.
At the end of it, companies pitch to a room packed with investors and market partners (called Demo Day). Acceleration provides a structure that brings focused support at the right time for the business. The core purpose of the Lightning Lab is to prepare companies for investors. The Lightning Lab is an investment pathway; seed funding and preparation for first external investment. No other programme or model does this with speed.
It is also an internationally proven model for growing a strong entrepreneurial eco-system. It is a structure that enables investors and mentors to participate with and grow great companies – but not carry the burden of the startup journey. It enables efficient support for seed stage startups.
What We’re After
We’re looking for stellar teams with great ideas in interesting markets.
You might be:
- A couple of bright sparks straight out of university with a cracking idea and smart friends who are co-founders. You’re used to living on 2 minute noodles and you have all of the drive and determination to see if this idea has wings.
- A business that is up and running. You know it has huge potential but you’re struggling to give this baby the limelight it needs and deserves. The Lightning Lab is the perfect way to get massive exposure and connect with the investors and mentors you need to take it forward.
- In a corporate job with commitments. You’ve got an idea but it’s hard to get the time and space to pursue it. Can you swing 12 weeks leave? The Lightning Lab seed funding will help free you up to give it a go.
We especially love:
- Applications: Web/Enterprise 2.0, BI/data/analytics, gaming/simulation, etc.
- Technology: Web, SaaS, mobile, open source, data integration, middleware, etc.
Don’t fret though. If you don’t quite fit the mold but know you’ve got something exciting, contact us. We appreciate originality. To move quickly you need a team. Two founders is our ideal minimum for acceptance into the programme. But again, if it’s only you and you have a great idea, talk to us – we will never turn a great idea away.
This is a crazy-good opportunity so we’re asking for your complete commitment. You need to be willing and able to work exclusively on your business, relocate to Wellington and be based out of the Lightning Lab for the duration of the programme.
What Happens at the Lab
What you get
- Entry into a dedicated and focused programme that will accelerate your opportunity within a model, and at a speed never before seen in NZ.
- Direct exposure to NZ’s leading investors – Phil McCaw, WebFund, Evander Management, Trevor Dickinson, Marcel van Den Assum, K1W1 and Sparkbox Ventures.
- Huge assistance in shaping your business opportunity and preparing to pitch this to investors.
- Exposure at Demo Day to the biggest group of Angel Investors ever assembled in NZ.
- Instantly plugged into the right people in the ecosystem and all of their connections. We have NZ (and beyond) covered.
- You will work closely with our mentors, some of New Zealand’s best entrepreneurs and business minds and we are still building our mentor pool.
- The very best technical and business talent to bolster your capability. Plus staff from other established digital company’s who will help out as well, including Trade Me. And we’ll pick up the tab.
- They call it the 11th team, the extra support and motivation you get from being on the journey with like minded people. The opportunities to learn from each other and a dose of healthy competition to keep you on your toes.
- Massive Exposure – Lots of people are going to sit up and take notice. This is the exposure that will get you in front of the customers and partners you need.
- Global from Day One! We have exclusive access to 51 accelerators around the world with their own set of mentors and investors we can tap into.
- Seed Funding – Up to $18k in seed funding to help you focus on your opportunity.
- The Perks – See them here
- The Secret Sauce – Yes we have it! Here it is
What you give
Your time – the team will work on your opportunity for 12 weeks. Most teams bootstrap and may get the funds together to fund one person full time, usually a technical person and often not a founder. The Lightning Lab model is a radical step change in what it takes to get a start up up and running. It may take some swift thinking to free the team up. Ultimately you need to decide between 12 weeks of your life (with a known investment pathway) or 1 to 2 years of bootstrapping with no guarantee of exposure to investors, mentors and the connections you will need.
Equity – If you are accepted into the Lightning Lab we will look for 8% equity in your business. Remember the total value of the programme is way more than the seed funding.
How to apply
Just click on that link in the menu bar and fill out the form. This is your chance to give us a good overview of you, your team and product. We love hearing great ideas, so give us your best. Check out Application Tips and FAQ for pointers.
If you are from out of town check out the Wellington page.
Want to discuss further? Contact Us