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Digital firms seek start-up spark

21 Sep 12

New Zealand’s first digital accelerator Lightning Lab will back the best startup teams from the ground up with cash, muscle and entrepreneur-driven momentum.

A new scheme backed by private investors and the Science and Innovation arm of MBIE says it will invest, inspire and accelerate New Zealand’s best digital entrepreneurs.

Lightning Lab says it will supercharge ten digital startups within a network of 100 mentors and an intensive 12-week pathway to prove, build and launch their businesses into market.

Putting up to $18,000 of seed investment into elite teams of startup entrepreneurs, Lightning Lab hopes the proposal pushes start-up firms to make their business idea fly within three months.

Founding investor Phil McCaw says fast tracking startup companies is critical.

“Having seen countless startup founders pitch their ideas, they all need cash and they all need serious sharpening up - in their understanding of the markets they're entering and having the fire in the belly and determination to succeed, fast," he says.

"Lightning Lab allows us to pick ten great startup teams and ignite a fuse.

“It’s going to create a tangible pressure zone where, with resource and guidance, these companies can deliver something fantastic.

"Out on their own this can take years, which is what we see a lot of.

"We’re investing in companies we haven’t seen yet, so essentially what we are backing is the promise of the Lightning Lab programme.

"New Zealand needs more of this.”

The programme is open to any team of startup founders across New Zealand and will run early 2013.

Applications are open now, and close in December with the top ten applicants will be selected by the founding investor group, all active and high-profile angel investors.