You may have heard about the Auckland Digital Lightning Lab – the accelerator programme which takes 10 teams with tech ideas, and helps them become fully fledged companies ready to take on the world. You see the glamorous outcome, when companies get investment and feature in the news. But what actually happens within the inconspicuous walls of our building?
The programme has been up and running for a week now, and teams are beginning to settle into a daily routine – that of the elusive creature, the entrepreneur. The day starts early; when I wander into the office at 8:45, teams are already huddled at their desks, working on their homework from the day before. The mornings last week were spent in workshops run by the high-profile serial tech startup founder, Dan Khan. It’s easy to get stuck within your preconceived ideas of what your product is, but Dan brought the companies right back to the basics, encouraging them to focus on their business strategy rather than the product and introducing them to the LEAN canvas model. If you’re not familiar with this very useful concept, check out Dan’s thoughts on it below. His expertise was incredibly valuable for the entrepreneurs in the first week of their journey.
At 12pm the teams disperse, and a bustle emerges as they chat, help themselves to carefully labeled food from the kitchen, or hang out on the balcony outside. Scout, the office dog, has free reign over the floor and is a constant source of entertainment and cuddles for those who need some comfort.
Evenings run on late as teams quietly work on their companies. Last week, we had the first of our three mentor speed-dating sessions. This was a chance for teams to network with experienced business people, and find potential mentors who would meet with them frequently to give advice. Teams gave pitches, and had 15 minutes with each mentor to get to know them and their skillset. Mentors and teams alike were inspired and buzzing from the fast-paced evening, which finished with pizza and drinks.
All in all, the first week has been (according to our entrepreneurs) ‘like drinking out of a firehose’, and ‘jumping off a cliff and building the plane on the way down’. Luckily, they have a few more months to build the plane before they hit the ground – and we’ll keep you updated with their progress!