– Stefan Korn, CEO, Creative HQ
In 2012, Creative HQ identified the need for New Zealand-based entrepreneurial teams to move with greater speed in order to be successful internationally. This, paired with the rise of acceleration in key markets overseas, led Creative HQ to embark on a two-year journey to bring acceleration to New Zealand.
Business Acceleration provides the seed capital, mentorship, methodologies, structure and environment needed to grow startup ideas into solid reality in a short time frame. It’s also an internationally proven model for growing a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Creative HQ founded New Zealand’s first acceleration programme “Lightning Lab” in 2012 with support from a group of professional investors, the Science and Innovation arm of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and a range of passionate sponsors.
Phil McCaw, Dave Moskovitz, Stefan Korn, Marcel van den Assum, Trevor Dickinson, Evander Management, K1W1 and Sparkbox Ventures were the original founding investors of Lightning Lab.
The first Lightning Lab ran in Wellington in 2013 to much avail. The programme was held again in Wellington in 2014. In 2015, Lightning Lab extended its reach across New Zealand and ran in a number of locations with The Icehouse as our delivery partner in Auckland, and with the Canterbury Development Corporation as our delivery partner in Christchurch. In 2016 Lightning Lab Digital returned to Auckland, and Lightning Lab XX ran in Wellington. To date, Lightning Lab has guided 150 entrepreneurs (63 startups) through rigorous learning, mentoring and business development that resulted in over $10 million in private investment following the programme’s Demo Day investment events.
With Callaghan Innovation‘s financial support, Lightning Lab continues to be a powerful collaboration of public funding and private investment. Callaghan, responsible for accelerating the commercialisation of innovation by businesses, is a core partner in the ongoing success of Lightning Lab alongside a number of the original and new individual and institutional investors.
As New Zealand’s first and premier accelerator, Lightning Lab has proven itself to be the preeminent vehicle for engaging the startup community in the pursuit of building investable high-growth companies.
– Ken Erskine, Director of startups, The Icehouse
– Jamie Cairns, general manager innovation, CDC