Kiwi firm Lightning Lab has announced the inclusion of Chinese startup LiangMa into its business accelerator programme.
The Chengdu-based firm is involved in sourcing ethically produced chickens and creating end-to-end authentication and certification of food items from producer to consumer.
The concept is driven by Chinese consumers’ demand for safe and high-quality products, a concept the company hopes might potentially be of interest to New Zealand’s primary sector selling into China.
Cofounders Denny Zou and Steve Xin will fly to New Zealand to join the programme in order to validate their concept over the duration of the programme. The team will present their progress, along with the other eight New Zealand-based startups participating in the accelerator, at the concluding ‘Demo Day’ showcase event.
Demo Days are a standard final event for Lightning Lab programmes, allowing the teams to pitch their business to a room of investors from around New Zealand.
As an extension of the Chinese team attending the programme, a delegation of Chinese investors will be invited to attend the event, creating a wider range of potential investment opportunities for the whole cohort.
Hosting an overseas team is a first for Lightning Lab, and will allow for a cultural exchange between New Zealand and Chinese startup ecosystems to be established.
The inclusion of the Chinese team is also likely to increase awareness of opportunities in China for the New Zealand-based teams, as a result of sharing knowledge and direct connections during the programme.
Lightning Lab is powered by Creative HQ, and CEO Stefan Korn says he is excited about the opportunity to host an overseas team.
“It’s great to see an international dimension to the programme, the first step towards Lightning Lab not only leading the way for acceleration in New Zealand but worldwide,” Korn says.
“We’d like to increase the exchange of entrepreneurs, startups and investors between China and New Zealand – and we also see an opportunity to establish a great relationship on innovation between Chengdu and Wellington.”
Alistair Crozier, New Zealand’s Consul-General in Chengdu, is equally enthusiastic about the opportunity for Lightning Lab to connect New Zealand and Chinese startup ecosystems.
”Chengdu has a very strong reputation in China as an innovation, technology and education hub,” he says.
“Every day here I see the same creative spirit that is also a hard-wired part of New Zealand’s DNA. LiangMa’s participation in the Lightning Lab programme has great potential to generate new ideas and inspiration for both sides.”