Lightning Lab Auckland Chooses 9 Digital Startups for 2015

Media Release – 6 March 2015

The ballots are in! Lightning Lab has announced the 9 digital startups who will join the 2015 Auckland programme.

Broker Better, Designer Wardrobe, Estimeet, Future Insight, Logicore, Justly, Preno, Roll, and Wear it Her Way all made it through the extensive application process to be the 9 teams to receive $18,000 seed funding, intense mentorship, and the opportunity to work on the business 24/7 through the 3 month long Lightning Lab programme.

This year saw over 200 enquiries from all over the country and offshore. Lightning Lab Auckland Director, Mark MacLeod-Smith, says the interest in this year’s programme has been massive.

“We had a huge response from the startup community. I think the interest we’ve received this year is due to Lightning Lab being more established and well-known. While this is the first programme in Auckland, it is the third Lightning Lab programme in New Zealand. The Auckland programme is the first step as we roll out nationwide to give more entrepreneurs across New Zealand the opportunity to supercharge their startups with Lightning Lab.”

Founding investor Trevor Dickinson was impressed with the applications that were received.

“There was a large number of high-quality applications. Obviously there were a ton of great opportunities in the web and mobile space but the critical ingredient we looked for was a remarkable team. The selection process was challenging because we simply had so many promising teams.”

However, the programme could only choose 9 startups says Dickinson and there were a few things that separated the top teams from the rest.

“Typically they had more rounded teams, experience in their respective industries and were very business savvy. They also engaged with us really early on and attended all the workshops and events we held, which helped them to craft a compelling application.”

Starting on 9 March, the teams will begin their 13 week Lightning Lab journey based at GridAKL in the Wynyard Quarter where they will work with more than 100 mentors to build and launch their company. The ten teams will receive $18,000 seed investment but the programme will culminate with Demo Day where each team pitches to a room of 200+ angel investors for further funding.

Donielle Brooke from Designer Wardrobe says that the team are ecstatic about the programme and are thrilled to be one of the 9 companies, especially after the extensive application process.

“The thing that got us excited about the programme was the mentors. There is a pool of over 100 past entrepreneurs and executives that are volunteering their time to work specifically with us as we build our marketplace. Having access to such inspiring people that can help accelerate our growth is such a great way forward.”

The programme is supported by a range of partners including: Delivery Partner, The Icehouse; National Foundation Partner, Spark; National Partner, Microsoft Ventures; and Lab partners Bank of New Zealand, Simpson Grierson, Deloitte and Loyalty New Zealand.

Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development Ltd. (ATEED) is the Auckland Foundation Partner, hosting Lighting Lab at GridAKL.

Callaghan Innovation has committed to support the national Lightning Lab programme for the next two years, building its existing links with promising new ICT startups, entrepreneurs, mentors and early stage investors.

The Auckland programme is kicking off a full and exciting year for Lightning Lab with the Christchurch programme being confirmed to start in August. Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC) is delivering the Christchurch programme at their new Innovation Hub within the Innovation Precinct. Expressions of interest are now being sought for the Christchurch programme and formal applications will open on the 1 April 2015.

Lightning Lab 2015 Startups

  • Broker Better: Lead & referral generation for mortgage and insurance advisers –
  • Designer Wardrobe: A platform to buy, sell and swap high-end second hand designer clothes –
  • Estimeet: An app that lets you know how far away your friends are when meeting up –
  • Future Insight: An online tool for business analysts to find what they don’t know about their data in seconds –
  • Logicore: Value chain management software –
  • Justly: Xero-style creation and management of testamentary docs: wills, power of attorney, advance medical directives –
  • Preno: Property management application for smaller accommodation providers –
  • Roll: Super simple business intelligence and management software for SMEs –
  • Wear it Her Way: Web app crowdsourcing clothing recommendations from girls for guys –

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