R9 Accelerator 2015

The first Lightning Lab proved that investors, mentors, and entrepreneurs collaborating in a short amount of time can lead to big results and promise.

In March 2013, twenty-five founders gathered in Wellington to take part in the very first Lightning Lab that significantly increased their entrepreneurial capabilities.

A new experience for everyone involved, a real sense of community was established right away with all teams, mentors and staff working together to ensure both venture and programme success.

With mentors like Dave Moskovitz, Susan Iorns, Brett Holland, Dan Kahn, Linc Gasking and Helen Baxter, ventures were able to turn their ideas into investible companies with global potential.

At the end of the three months, teams pitched 150 investors during the first Demo Day on 15 May. Four of the nine startups in the inaugural class raised a total of $2.2 million in angel funding. These teams were LearnKo, Wipster, Expander and Publons.

“It was a great environment, being surrounded by all the other teams and mentors. It opened our eyes to different potential customers. The Lab also helped with traction with investors. The contacts and preparation really helped when it came to raising money.”

– Andrew Preston, Publons

“I really appreciated being given a full three months to completely focus on my idea. Previously I had been working after work, weekends or in my holidays, which means slow progress because often you are already tired before you even start!”

– David Cameron, LearnKo


Wipster is a beautifully simple video workflow platform that lets you watch, share and comment on your work-in-progress videos, so you get better feedback faster.

Wipster has raised another round from existing investors and is now in the process of closing a pre-A series round from local and international investors. This investment will see the product expand from reviewing and approving video, to all media formats including audio, image and PDF. The vast majority of Wipsters customers are in the US, and the company is growing revenue at 25% per month.

Expander is a cloud-based tracking and analytics platform that gives manufacturers a weapon to fight back against counterfeits, while connecting them to consumers and procuring valuable data in emerging markets.

Expander recently brought on board a new CEO, CTO and hired a Business Development Manager to drive the business though its commercialisation phase. It is currently raising a second round of investment, recently attended trade shows in New Zealand and Australia and presented at the Export NZ Food and Beverage Roadshow. Expander was also a finalist of the New Zealand Innovators Awards.

Publons is a platform for crowd-sourced peer-review of academic articles, where academics build reputation for their contributions.  It provides an alternative to the extremely slow, expensive, and closed status quo that hasn’t changed in 300 years.

Since its launch in 2013, Publons has helped more than 28,000 people peer review over 52,000 research papers in nearly 1,500 academic journals.  It is the largest repository of review data in the world.

LearnKo delivers online learning programs to English language organisations in Asia. We do this by harnessing the talent of Australasian tutors and delivering this via an online classroom to English language organisations.

Adeez provides a specialist mobile marketing solution which enables brands and marketing agencies to improve their ROI with mobile campaigns.

Promoki is a social media gaming platform for photo and video contests.

KidsGoMobile take the guesswork out of digital parenting so children can become safe, responsible mobile device users. The software they are creating allows parents to supervise their child’s phone activity, mitigate risks and incentivise responsible behaviour.

Teamisto is changing the way sports clubs raise money by generating new streams of sponsorship revenue.