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Former Lightning Lab programme director launches NZ’s first virtual accelerator

20 Jul 2017

Venture accelerator ZeroPoint Ventures has officially launched its new virtual incubation and acceleration programmes.

Its mission is to build a new model of startup success that is aimed at making more successful, innovative New Zealand companies focussed on growing revenues rather than investment, no matter where they are in New Zealand.

After successfully launching Startup Weekend and Lightning Lab in New Zealand, Dan Khan, ZeroPoint Ventures co-founder and CEO, recognised the increasing demand from non-Auckland and non-Wellington-based founders seeking guidance on how to grow their business ideas.

The ZeroPoint Model

"The ZeroPoint Ventures model is built on the premise that local communities are core to our identity as New Zealanders,” Khan says.

“Our clear and transparent pathway ensures founders receive blended mentor-led development, self-learning and peer-to-peer support.

“Our virtual tools, as well as our guided-journey approach, provides founders with a unique set of strengths, assisting them where they live, amongst their existing networks and supporters," he adds.  

"In New Zealand, the mainstream startup narrative is often measured by the amount of capital you've raised, rather than how many customers, or how much revenue you've achieved.

“Our revenue-focussed model brings a fresh approach to helping build startups that are focussed on profitability from day one, and who can achieve that with a fraction of the capital required for traditional 'moonshot' startups,” says Khan.

“The core of our approach is aligned with founders looking to build purposeful and profitable companies that can reach a meaningful revenue milestone rather than stringing out venture capital for longer than necessary," Khan explains.

Bill Reichert, Silicon Valley's Garage Technology Ventures managing director, included ZeroPoint Ventures in his list of top New Zealand businesses on a recent trip here, describing ZeroPoint Ventures as "a venture fund that is driven by proof, not just hope."

Ventures and Innovation

ZeroPoint Ventures aims to support New Zealand venture capability and innovation through five key areas:

1. Founders/Ventures

ZeroPoint takes founders through a tailored rapid assessment, incubation and acceleration process that successively builds on an evidence-based approach to prove there's a business worth building before the founder commits valuable time, money, and resources to the venture. Teams progress together via a mentor-led uniquely New Zealand playbook right from their ventures' own zero point. Founders learn the fundamentals of successful venture growth to sustainability with a focus on revenue-based milestones and customer-driven evidence. Surrounded by experienced mentors, their peer cohort, and the wider community, all founders who progress are supported throughout their journey to their first $1million in revenue.

2. Mentors

Experienced mentors coach, witness, support and drive the founder experience. Throughout the journey, evidence-based review panels enable mentors to check progress & share knowledge. ZeroPoint Ventures hopes that over time, its founder graduates will become mentors sharing their own experience for the next generation.

3. Partnerships

ZeroPoint works with partners across the community to support the development of their ventures and culture of internal innovation. It supports existing corporates, local, regional, and central government entities and non-profit organisations to help find, engage and upskill their own people, identifying internal innovators and building their own communities to embed a new cycle of innovation.

4. Communities

ZeroPoint has strong grassroots community support throughout New Zealand; with regular engagements that build collaboration and common spaces between our venture communities, and external meetups and events which connect with the wider startup ecosystem, we aim to create extra impact by cross-connecting these often disparate networks.

5. Investors 

Venture investors in New Zealand are traditionally sold a dream of high-growth returns across startup portfolios, but early-stage venture fund returns have failed to live up to the hype. ZeroPoint’s new approach to venture capital blends evidence-based learning milestones to create a risk efficient model of venture capital that still allows investors to participate in ventures that turn into moonshots, but also invest in, support, and see a return from ventures that may never reach an exit.

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