Six Kiwi start-ups are being given the chance to accelerate growth with the help of seed funding and mentors through a new accelerator programme called Flux.
The programme, run through the Icehouse and Callaghan Innovation, is held over six months with the companies getting seed funding in exchange for an equity stake and the chance to raise more capital at a Demo Day on June 29, when they pitch their ideas to a room of more than 200 investors.
Other accelerator programmes include Lightning Lab, which is also operated in association the Icehouse and runs for a four-month period with $20,000 of seeding funding provided in exchange for a 6 per cent stake in each company.
In comparison, Flux runs for longer, with between $20,000 and $100,000 of seeding funding for a 5 to 10 per cent equity stake.
Flux programme director Mark Macleod-Smith said the new model allowed them to work with a broader range of companies at different stages.
"Nine out of 10 startups will fail depending on the data you look at," Macleod-Smith said.
"I think any mechanism that can provide support and leverage the networks, experience and capability of New Zealand's experienced business leaders to give these companies the best shot at succeeding is great," he said.
"A programme like this helps to catalyst that and it becomes like a village raising a child."
Tutoring business Osnova is building an app that uses artificial intelligence to tutor high school and university students in maths. Its founders, Raphael Nolden, Jurgen Brandstetter and Antonia Modkova, said the app could be used by itself or in the classroom - which is its initial target market. Compared to other systems, the app gives specific advice on a student's answers, including feedback for the more common mistakes as well as an explanation for the correct answer and suggestions on the areas in which the student needs to practice. The company is already testing its product in several schools, and hopes to roll the platform out later this month.
The Social Club
Marketing platform The Social Club connects influencers - those with a significant social media following - with brands looking to promote their products or services through campaigns and collaborations. Co-founders Georgia McGillivray and Justin Clark said they had come from a marketing background and could see the potential for a platform where influencers and brands could connect without the need for a middle man. The business has been running for just over a year and has more than 1,500 influencers on board. McGillivray and Clark said the accelerator would help the company develop its software and continue to grow.
The business digitises and streamlines trade credit account processes, allowing users to view the process from start to finish online rather than on paper. The company's target industries are manufacturing, retail trade, wholesale trade and storage and transport. According to its founder Miriana Lowrie, the company removes friction between suppliers and customers through removing the paper, as well as providing full visibility through sales reporting, and all the credit functions such as credit checks, trade reference checks, identity verification and guarantee requirements. Lowrie said the company's digital application is completed once and then pre-filled for every other trade account thereafter, ensuring a simple process for all parties involved.
The company offers a payment solution for small-scale payments, usually $1,000 or less, with no interest or fees for the consumer. Rather than extending a loan or getting a credit card, GenoaPay pays the business with the money upfront and the consumer pays GenoaPay over 10 weekly instalments. The company operated by taking a small margin from the merchant. Its founder Shaun Quincey said the system was already in use with automotive companies, beauty therapists, hairdressers, dentists and vet clinics among others. GenoaPay has been running since August last year and was looking to refine its service before scaling.
Your very own private banker, Jude is the brainchild of Ben Lynch. Fed up with being charged overdraft fees when he had money in neighbouring accounts, Lynch created a bot capable of checking when his accounts went into overdraft and transferring the right amount to cover this. Lynch built on his original product, adding in reminders for bills, notifications of unusual transactions and account checks and named it Jude - after his son. Jude integrates with the banking apps and platforms, and learns from the user. It has the ability to calculate how much has been spent at certain places or on items for example. Lynch says he is re-imagining the banking experience.
VidApp creates custom branded video apps which help people monetise their video content. The VidApp team - Rory Hancock, Hannah Curd and Dave Hancock - say they give people a way to showcase their content to the world, while building their own engaged, passionate community. Once a vid-app has been created, the company releases it to the Apple, Android and Apple TV App stores, which have more than 2 billion active users. At present, most of VidApp's customers are sports or instructional experts and personalities, but the team says the product can be used for any video content, from cooking and education to virtual reality.