Founders from 16 promising start-ups from every corner of New Zealand were in the spotlight at ecentre’s Innovation Showcase at B: HIVE at Smales Farm last week, in front of over 150 representatives from across NZ’s innovation ecosystem.
ecentre’s annual showcase helps create connections to fast track the success of early stage ventures – from the idea stage, through to those that are ready to take on global markets.
The event profiled 2019 graduates from ecentre’s Sprint Global programme, including:
· Bee Intelligence – software and technology for precision apiculture from hive to jar (Wellington)
· Chippur - app-based employee wellbeing programme (Auckland)
· Demandlytix - advanced analytics for business planning and management (Auckland)
· Guardian Angel Security - health and safety hardware/ software solutions for lone workers (Auckland).
· iLose - weight loss app for coaches and clients (Northland)
· Investify - investment research tools for retail investors (Auckland)
· Narrative Muse - connecting audiences with women authors’ and filmmakers’ work (Auckland)
· PICMI - cloud-based software for simplifying the employment process for agricultural seasonal staff (Tasman)
· Sparrows – tracking and monitoring of freight for supply chain and logistics insights (Auckland)
· Trickle - beer tracking hardware/ software solution to minimise keg wastage in hospitality (Auckland)
· Yonder – digital assistants for smart tourism businesses (Taranaki)
Nine of the graduates delivered 90 second pitch presentations to build awareness and generate new connections, and were joined by MyGoodness and VINCE, startups supported by ecentre partner Northland Inc. My Goodness! is a unique non-dairy ice cream using exotic persimmon for the base and VINCE is a wholefood plant-based meal-ready solution for people that want to increase their daily intake of vegetables or reduce their meat intake with no added fuss.
ecentre CEO Jackie Young said, “Our showcase is a fantastic opportunity to see the innovation pipeline in action, from idea stage ventures through to early stage businesses ready to go global. It was amazing to have the right people in the room, people who are massive players in the start-up ecosystem mixing with people who are just beginning their journey.”
Several startups also delivered 5-minute pitches to 50 qualified investors, experienced at helping take start-ups global, in a closed door session prior to the public Innovation Showcase.
Flying Kiwi Angel’s board member Rudi Bublitz said it was inspiring to see a lot of really interesting businesses and enthusiastic founders. “The event delivered exactly what we want to see. Everything is very people focussed and ecentre is very aligned to what we are doing at Flying Kiwi. I like the model of providing this program to the founders at no cost, rather than monetising the whole process - that really resonates with me.”
Dr Gavin Clark, Dean, Enterprise at Massey University was delighted at how well the pitches were received by the crowd. “The event had a comfortable yet high-energy environment. We had a critical mass of investors and entrepreneurs and it was inspiring to see the community working so well together, catalysed by ecentre.”
The event also provided an opportunity to hear from Sprint Global star alumnus Roman Kudiyarov, co-founder of Termius, who shared his journey from the Sprint programme to raising $4.1m in investment from some of Silicon Valley’s top venture capitalists.
Sprint Global’s foundation partners Massey University and Callaghan Innovation also took to the stage, with Callaghan Innovation’s Rosie Spragg sharing their Whakatauākī “Explore the unknown, pursue excellence”. The event was also an opportunity for startups to engage with a long list of ecentre’s other partners and supporters including, Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED), EY and Hudson Gavin Martin.
An expo at the Innovation Showcase provided an opportunity to showcase other ‘Kiwi Go-Getters’ succeeding’, alongside the startups who had delivered pitches.
Massey University startups profiled at the expo included Ewetube (Massey University’s Grand idea winner) a developer of horticultural pots and bags from biodegradable woollen felt, HerdIq a developer of smart ear tags for livestock, Smart Farm a developer of artificial intelligence-enabled robotic systems for agricultural and horticultural industries, and Money Leaks a developer of easy to use investment software for 50+ people to understand and manage funds from superannuation, inheritance and unexpected windfalls.
Sprint Develop course alumnus Navigr8 also showed off its app for cyclists who want to better measure their performance and navigate unfamiliar routes. Students from private tertiary provider Aspire2 International, an ecentre partner, also took part.
Rose Wendy from Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED), a Sprint Global supporter, commented at the event on how the ecentre is helping founders through the programme. “A lot of people are aspirational – but this is people actually doing it with great support wrapped around them.”
Event supporters included Callaghan Innovation who showcased Scale-Up NZ which helps speed up innovation and the growth of innovative businesses in Aotearoa New Zealand, and NZTech who provided start-ups with a complimentary one year membership of the NZ Tech Alliance.
Jackie Young said, “At ecentre, we embrace our role in the New Zealand innovation ecosystem by providing a platform to connect people from startups through to scaleups, schools, tertiary institutes, and government.
“It was fantastic to see the community we’ve built in action at this year’s Innovation Showcase and the support we have wrapped around these early stage ventures. The willingness of our wonderful partners, supporters and mentors to share valuable know-how and feedback, plays an important role as we help the next wave of founders and entrepreneurs succeed.”