A team from one of the world's top business schools has touched down in New Zealand to collaborate with two local start-ups.
Eight MBA students from the MIT Sloan School of Management, based in Massachusetts, are working with Wellington start-up CricHQ and Auckland-based Vend.
CricHQ - which has former New Zealand cricket captain Stephen Fleming as a director - describes itself as a "cricket mad" company working to meet the technology needs of cricket players, fans and coaches.
Chief executive and founder Simon Baker says the company has created a social network for cricket players among other things.
"They have a profile with all of their career stats and they can follow their favourite players and get notifications from the game ... potentially in the future they'll be able to post a video clip of them celebrating their 100 [runs] and that goes up on their profile" he said.
The four MIT MBAs at CricHQ have been helping the company refine its strategy for its push into India, where a third of the start-up's 60 staff are now based. The other four students are in Auckland working with Vend, which creates point-of-sale software for retailers.
Vend chief executive Vaughan Rowsell said the visiting team had looked into strategic partnerships that the company could pursue.
"It's a great programme and it has been of immense benefit to us. Having them on board for even such a relatively short period of time has helped our thinking on a couple of key strategies," Rowsell said.
The students spent three months working with the two start-ups remotely from the US, followed by three weeks in New Zealand.
The programme - part of the Global Entrepreneurship Laboratory (G-Lab) project - is government-funded and has run since 2006. Under the scheme, up to 20 MBAs from the business school select Kiwi companies to work with and travel to New Zealand each year.By Hamish Fletcher @hamishfletcher Email Hamish