Startup Accelerator Auckland announces mentors and partners

Published: Fri 3 Oct 2014 03:02 PM
Media Release
3 October 2014
Startup Accelerator Lightning Lab Auckland announces top mentors and partners
New Zealand’s leading digital startup accelerator, Lightning Lab, officially kicked off its Auckland programme yesterday announcing a selection of NZ’s leading entrepreneurs and business influencers as mentors for the 2015 programme.
Well over a 100 budding entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and key influencers from the startup community attended a launch event yesterday held at the new event space at Grid AKL, Auckland’s innovation precinct in Wynyard Quarter.
Lightning Lab Auckland Programme Director, Mark MacLeod-Smith, announced several key personalities in the NZ business community as mentors for the 2015 programme.
“We have some exciting talent joining us for the programme including Greg Cross, CEO and co-founder of PowerbyProxi; Vaughan Rowsell, CEO and co-founder of Vend; Ben Young, co-founder of digital agency Young & Shand, NZ’s 8th fastest growing business; Claudia Batten, US-based serial entrepreneur and youngest ever World Class NZ Supreme Award winner; and Tim Williams, the first foreigner to list a company on the Japanese stock exchange.”
In addition to mentors, Lightning Lab announced key partners and sponsors for the programme.
Sparkwill be Lightning Lab’s first ever National Foundation Sponsor, supporting not only the Auckland programme but also future programmes in Wellington and Christchurch.
“With their new tagline ‘Never stop starting’ we saw an obvious fit and are excited to work with them over the next two years,” says MacLeod-Smith
Microsoft will also continue to support Lightning Lab. After having been a partner for Lightning Lab in Wellington, Microsoft has now joined as a national partner.
In addition, The Bank of New Zealand continue to show strong support for the New Zealand startup community by coming onboard as Lab sponsors for the Auckland Programme.
Lightning Lab Auckland has also found its home. During the three month-long programme the selected startups and the Lightning Lab team will be based at Grid AKL thanks to the generous support of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) who have come onboard as a Foundation partner for the Auckland programme.
Lightning Lab arms startups with the funding, networks and expertise to rapidly accelerate their venture. In early 2015, ten startups will be selected to participate in the three month programme which runs from March to June 2015.
Applications for the programme will open 22 October and close 17 December 2014.
As of 7 October, the Lightning Lab team will be on a nationwide roadshow with the – Starting Up Lean event series visiting Christchurch, Wellington, Dunedin and Hamilton. This event is a chance for digital startup entrepreneurs around the country to learn about the fundamentals of the lean startup methodology as well as learn more about the Lightning Lab programme, meet the Lightning Lab team and get a head start on their application.
Expressions of Interest:
Lightning Lab Founder Series – Starting Up Lean -
o Christchurch – 7 October, 5.00pm
o Wellington - 8 October, 5.00pm
o Hamilton – 21 October, 5.00pm
o Dunedin – 23 October, 5.00pm
About Lightning Lab
Lightning Lab is the first digital accelerator programme in New Zealand. Each programme supercharges 10 digital startups within a network of more than 100 mentors and an intensive 12-week pathway to prove, build and launch their businesses into market. The programme puts up to $18,000 of seed investment into teams of startup entrepreneurs and pushes them to make their business idea fly within three months, with support from a set of dedicated technical and business interns, and mentorship from leading entrepreneurs and business experts from around New Zealand.
Lightning Lab is the exclusive New Zealand member of the Global Accelerator Network (GAN), which comprises 51 of the top accelerators globally. Patrick Riley, Executive Director of GAN says, “We know Lightning Lab will be one of the best accelerators in the world. Using a proven model to propel entrepreneurs to success and, with connections already made with the country’s top mentors and investors, Kiwis are lucky to have an accelerator of this calibre in their country.”
From 2015 Lightning Lab national acceleration will be run by a partnership between Creative HQ, The Icehouse and Canterbury Development Corporation to run Accelerator Programmes in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

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