Lightning Lab Demo Day for Start-ups

7 May 2013

Last year, we ran a story encouraging people with great business ideas to apply for New Zealand’s first digital start-up ‘accelerator’ programme, Lightning Lab – a chance to work full-time on a new digital project for three months, funded by private ‘angel’ investors.

CEOs of digital start-ups.

CEOs of digital start-ups will pitch their work on Demo Day

Nine start-ups were chosen out of 90 applicants, and now they’re are about to emerge from their accelerator stint on The Terrace and head to Te Papa to pitch their work to investors.

Lightning Lab’s Demo Day on Wednesday 15 May will be the largest start-up showcase in New Zealand – more than 100 professional investors will be there from around the country.

One of the participants, Pamela Ward, says her company, KidsGoMobile, applied to Lightning Lab because they were spread across the country.

“This programme helped us come together to one place and get our project moving. It’s been intense, full on – there are not enough hours in the day.”

Aimed at helping young people to handle cyber abuse and protecting them from the downsides of such a connected world, the KidsGoMobile app will serve as “training wheels for a child’s first phone”.

Teamisto CEO Pat O’Reilly says the programme pushed the boundaries of what he was used to.

“I’ve never worked so hard in all my life – there was some hardcore sleep deprivation. But we learned so much – we have so many smart people with varying experience and angles on how to improve our business.”

Teamisto is working on a funding mechanism to help sports clubs be self-sustaining enterprises, and creating more value for sports team sponsors at the same time.

While investors are already interested in some of the start-ups, Demo Day is a chance to attract the right support in terms of people and investment.

This is the first of the annual Lightning Lab accelerator programmes based in Wellington, founded by Creative HQ and funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

If you have an idea that you think might fly for a digital product, keep an eye on the Lightning Lab website for the next call for applications, open in August or September this year.

Lightning Lab

Creative HQ is Wellington’s entrepreneurship and start-up hub funded by economic development agency Grow Wellington, which is in turn supported by Wellington regional ratepayers.