Lightning Lab strikes Auckland

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Ahead of its Demo Day next week, New Zealand’s first digital start-up accelerator Lightning Lab touched down in our Auckland pop-up event space with some tips on how to ensure accelerator success.

With a wide range of the local startup community in attendance, including new Auckland accelerator Hopscale and angel investors Sparkbox, around 60 participants were able to get valuable insight with where people go wrong, and then get back on the right track, when it comes to the growth of accelerator initiatives here in the land of the long white cloud. And almost no one knows as much about how accelerators can triumph over those ‘start-up hiccups’ than Laura Reitel, the former programme manager for US-based accelerator Techstars who was invited over to New Zealand by Lightning Lab founding partner, Wellington’s Creative HQ. (Lightning Lab is NZ’s only member of the Global Accelerator Network, established by Techstars and with 50 particpating accelerator programmes globally).

Reitel’s main point that hit home for the Dojo team: the minute an application is submitted to an accelerator programme, the individual or team needs to be drumming up interest and activity around their concept.  

“Most people just apply then wait for an answer but the acceptance stage takes two and a half months. If you’re just sitting on your idea, you’re not the people to do what you’re saying. Create a website or start collecting some signups, start a blog and get an audience around your product.”

Nick Churchouse, Venture Manager at Creative HQ, also got in amongst the discussion using some real life experiences of how the current intake is managing the accelerator process.

“In the first four weeks the Lightning Lab teams got hammered by mentors. Everyone has a different opinion and they all have their advice, but you have to pick what works for you and your team.

Lightning Lab has certainly been an exciting venture for the BizDojo to be supporting, with co-founder Nick Shewring also acting as a mentor for the programme.  We are definitely looking forward to seeing what fantastic new businesses will emerge from next Wednesday’s Demo Day at Te Papa in Wellington - watch this space!