Today, New Zealand’s premier digital accelerator has announced the ten digital startups that will embark on the 2016 Lightning Lab Programme in Auckland.
Reyedr, Wireless Guard, Foodcourt Online, Sonnar Interactive, WayWiser, Phoenix Audio, SeekStock, Dexibit, Slick Software, and Rock.ai all made it through the extensive application process to be the ten teams to receive $20,000 seed funding, intense mentorship, and the opportunity to work on the business 24/7 through the four month long Lightning Lab programme.
Lightning Lab Auckland ran its first programme last year, helping nine companies to raise approximately $2.6 million NZD. Following the inaugural Auckland accelerator, improvements have been made to deliver more value to the selected startups. The most noticeable change has been the addition of an extra month to the programme. This will see companies receive even more support as they navigate through the fundraising process. Lightning Lab Auckland Programme Director, Jeff Mann, says the calibre of applications this year made the selection process a difficult one.
“We were really pleased with the quality and class of all the applicants. We had a huge response from the startup community which I personally think is testament to the success and reception of our 2015 programme. It’s extremely pleasing to see how involved and how enthused the startup community has become. The 136 startups who were engaged throughout the application process made our decision a difficult one.”
The ten Lighting Lab Auckland teams accepted into the 2016 programme are:
- Reyedr: Head-up GPS display for motorcyclists for safer and smarter riding – reyedr.com
- Wireless Guard: Security hardware technology which detects if doors and windows are left locked or unlocked, open or closed and syncs to your phone – wirelessguard.co.nz
- Foodcourt Online: A multi-platform ordering system for individuals to order from multiple restaurants in one delivery – foodcourtonline.co.nz
- Sonnar Interactive: An interactive audio book allowing writers to easily publish their multi journey entertainment stories – f6s.com/sonnar
- WayWiser: A new application tool for outdoor recreation enthusiasts to discover the great outdoors without the assistance of a commercial tour guide – waywiser.co.nz/
- Phoenix Audio: Audio software designed to identify and smooth fluctuations in your hearing to ensure a deeper musical experience – phoenixaudio.co.nz
- SeekStock: Web application developed for individuals in retail to assist in streamlining managerial activities such as product holds, transfers and requests – seekstock.co.nz
- Dexibit: Software and hardware that is visitor analytics for the arts; informs culture centre customers which art/exhibitions a visitor has observed – dexibit.com
- Slick Software: Cloud hosted community chat tool for websites – slick.chat
- Rock.ai: A.I engine to auto build and deploy native apps (web, mob, TV) and API (+CMS) – www.rock.ai
National Foundation Partner Spark, have provided each of the ten startups with a WiFi and data package in addition to 11 mentors who will support the various teams through the challenges and successes of the programme.
Spark’s Head of Business Marketing, Richard Sandford, says “Access to the latest and fastest technology is crucial for New Zealand businesses, that’s why we’re getting right behind Lightning Lab and providing teams with access to fast mobile data so they can tap into everything they need, wherever they are.
“Whether they’re skyping a mentor from a café, or gathering research and sending it straight to the cloud, teams will have the technology they need to keep them connected,” says Sandford.
Starting on 7th March, the teams will begin their 17 week Lightning Lab journey based in the Uptown innovation precinct in Eden Terrace where they will work with up to 100 mentors to build and launch their company. The ten teams will receive $20,000 seed investment but the programme will culminate with Demo Day where each team pitches to a room of 200+ angel investors for further funding.
Taylor Howatson, from Wireless Guard, says the team are excited to get stuck into the programme and are thrilled to be selected as one of the ten digital startups after such a comprehensive application process.
“The Wireless Guard team are excited to move to Auckland and immerse ourselves in the Lighting Lab Programme. The extensive networks that the Lighting Lab will bring to Wireless Guard throughout the program will help grow our business and founders. We are very much looking forward to sharing our businesses progress both during the program and at the Lighting Lab Demo Day in June.”
Lightning Lab is powered by Creative HQ and Callaghan Innovation, and is a member of the Global Accelerator Network. Lightning Lab’s National Foundation Partner is Spark and its National Partner is Microsoft Ventures. Microsoft has been onboard as a National Partner with Lightning Lab since their inaugural programme ran in 2013. The partnership between Lightning Lab and Microsoft New Zealand backs some of New Zealand’s most promising startup companies and is now worth over $20 million in cloud credits. Microsoft have provided the ten selected startups for the 2016 Auckland programme with access to an open cheque worth over $500,000 each to use on the Microsoft Azure platform over the next three years.
“Startups burn cash fast because they grow fast. This extra support means they can focus their energy on customer acquisition and market validation knowing that they have a trusted and scalable technology platform behind them regardless of their technology choices,” says Nigel Parker, Director of Developer Experience, Microsoft New Zealand.
The Lightning Lab Auckland Programme is generously supported by a range of specific partners including: Auckland Foundation Partners: SKY Television and Auckland Tourism Events & Economic Development Ltd. (ATEED), which facilitated the space for the programme in partnership with building owner, Auckland Transport. Auckland Programme Partners include the Bank of New Zealand, Yellow Labs, Simpson Grierson, Deloitte and Goat Ventures.
Lightning Lab XX is a female focused accelerator based in Wellington that will run at the same time as the Lightning Lab digital programme. Lightning Lab XX kicks off in Wellington next month where teams will spend 13 weeks and will work with up to 100 mentors to accelerate their business, including Slingshot co-founder Annette Presley, Webstock co-founder Natasha Lampard, Kiwibank founder Sam Knowles and more.