Story image

New cohort of Kiwi innovators announced for Vodafone xone accelerator

07 Jul 2017

Vodafone has awarded ten top Kiwi innovators entry to its startup accelerator and innovation lab, Vodafone xone, to power their clever inventions to the next level.

The successful startups will work in areas that are revolutionising lives, through the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors, drones, and artificial intelligence.

They come from a diverse range of sectors including winemaking and pipfruit-growing, interactive audio books, a social media platform for gamers, smart earthquake-resistant building solutions, and a company focused on making healthcare more accessible.

They include Christchurch-based EVNEX, a startup building electric vehicle charging solutions that integrate with solar smart-grids, and Parkable, a pioneer in the sharing economy, connecting parkers to hosts who have spare land.

Matt Williams, Vodafone consumer director, is delighted with the calibre of the ten startups.

“The range of solutions and ideas have been really quite spectacular from these ten companies - from medical solutions, through to a really clever shared parking system.

“There is a massive amount of smart design in terms of sensors, big data and analytics. There’s one company that uses artificial intelligence to enhance customer experience, in a really powerful way,” Williams says.

“We believe with Vodafone’s help these innovations have the power to change the world.”

Nicole Buisson, Vodafone xone head, says the intensive pitching process - or Dragon’s Den - brought to light a wonderful selection of different industries that are working on significant connected IoT devices.

“We are really looking forward to working with all of these businesses and our global reach means that we can help them more easily scale and grow.

“The incredible companies we selected in 2016 will be mentoring these new start-ups, and Vodafone xone has now built up a fantastic base of 20 companies taking their amazing ideas to the world,” Buisson says.

The ten startups in the inaugural Vodafone xone 2016 cohort collectively generated more than $8.5 million in new revenue, attracted $7 million in capital funding, created 25 new jobs, and ended their time in the accelerator programme with operations in 12 countries.

For technology director Tony Baird, the companies represent a tide of smart innovation sweeping the world.

“Pretty soon there are going to be more IoT devices than people, and the use of sensors, big data, and analytics in the cloud is coming through strongly in this xone group.

“Vodafone is key to the delivery of a robust IoT network that is reliable and, just as importantly, secure,” Baird says.

Selected companies will receive a total package valued at more than $150,000, including seed funding, and access to world-class technology and mentoring as part of a six-month programme.

The ten Vodafone xone companies are:

Wine Grenade

Wine Grenade mimics the age-old maturing process without requiring small-volume and expensive French oak barrels. Watch Wine Grenade’s xone journey begin here.

Hectre

Hectre is a software tool to help growers manage their orchard to lower costs and grow better fruit.

Thematic

Thematic takes raw data and creates an interactive report that includes key driver analysis, customer segment comparison and impact analytics (prediction) using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Deep Machine Learning (ML) algorithms.

1Centre

1Centre is a cloud-based platform that digitally streamlines trade credit application and approval processes for both suppliers and their customers. 1Centre Founder Miriana Lowrie explains.

EVNEX

EVNEX allows customers to deploy electric vehicle charging solutions that easily integrate with grid demand response systems and solar smart grid technology. Founder Ed Harvey outlines his vision with Vodafone xone.

Sonnar Interactive

Sonnar Interactive creates interactive audio narratives, introducing engaging, non-linear auditory experiences that evolve through the user’s personal choices

Emblim

Emblim is a social media platform for discovering and managing gaming communities.

Vensa Health

Vensa is disrupting the bricks and mortar model of primary health care via Vensa.com, making health more convenient and accessible.

Tectonus

Provides joints that protect your buildings from earthquakes and return it to its original position.

Parkable

Changes the way people park by connecting parkers to park hosts, helping parkers save money, and hosts earn income.

How big data can revolutionise NZ’s hospitals
Miya Precision is being used across 17 wards and the emergency department at Palmerston North Hospital.
Time's up, tax dodgers: Multinational tech firms may soon pay their dues
Multinational tech and digital services firms may no longer have a free tax pass to operate in New Zealand. 
Spark’s new IoT network reaches 98% of New Zealand
Spark is the first company to confirm the nationwide completion of a Cat-M1 network in New Zealand.
WhatsApp users warned to change voicemail PINs
Attackers are allegedly gaining access to users’ WhatsApp accounts by using the default voicemail PIN to access voice authentication codes.
Robots to the fore – Key insights for New Zealand Business into RPA in 2019
From making artificial intelligence a business reality to closer ties to human colleagues, robotic process automation is gearing up for a strong 2019.
50 million tonnes of e-waste: IT faces sustainability challenges
“Through This is IT, we want to help people better understand the problem of today’s linear “take, make, dispose” thinking around IT products and its effects like e-waste, pollution and climate change."
Vocus & Vodafone unbundle NZ's fibre network
“Unbundling fibre will provide retail service providers with a flexible future-proofed platform regardless of what tomorrow brings."
IDC: A/NZ second highest APAC IoT spenders per capita
New IDC forecast expects the Internet of Things spending in Asia/Pacific excluding Japan to reach US$381.8 Billion by 2022.