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Microsoft Ventures partners with Lightning Lab for 2015 programme

In 2015 Microsoft Ventures is again partnering with Lightning Lab to provide start-ups with tools needed to bring ventures to market.

Founded by Creative HQ, the Lightning Lab started as a Wellington based programme and is now a national organisation. The Wellington-based incubator has been joined by Canterbury Development in Christchurch and The Icehouse in Auckland who will deliver the programme in their respective regions.

Lightning Lab Auckland will start in March 2015. A group of ten promising New Zealand start-ups, to be announced mid-February, will take part in a 12 week programme that aims to turn ideas into new ventures.

The first time Microsoft Ventures partnered with Lightning Lab was for the 2014 programme, and this year the support arrangement will cover 20 months.

Mark MacLeod-Smith, Lightning Lab, Auckland Programme director, says having Microsoft Ventures as a national partner offers significant endorsement and provides benefits for the participating companies.

“We have been working hard to build on the success of Lightning Lab since its inception two years ago, and while there is still hard work ahead, this partnership is extremely encouraging for the participating start-ups and the investors who are backing Lightning Lab.”

Nigel Parker, Microsoft New Zealand, director for developer experience, says through the Microsoft BizSpark programme the participating start-ups have access to tools and resources such as tablets and smartphones. 

On top of this, they will have access to technology experts, support and mentorship from Microsoft’s international network.

“We support entrepreneurial communities all over the world and Lightning Lab is a leading engine in the New Zealand start-up scene," he says. 

"This partnership is an ideal way to help foster local innovation across the country by working with the next generation of entrepreneurs who have an opportunity to change the world,” says Parker.

Thiago Almeida, Microsoft New Zealand, technical evangelist, will lead the engagement between Microsoft Ventures and Lightning Lab.