Five Kiwi start-ups have been chosen for this year's Flux Accelerator programme - a six-month process run through the Icehouse.

Each team will be given the chance to accelerate their growth through seed funding and help from business mentors, before pitching their ideas to more than 400 investors at a demo day on June 28, with the chance to raise more capital.

Last year's cohort raised an additional $5.5 million at the demo day, or about $800,000 per company.

Icehouse seed partner Barnaby Marshall says the range of companies applying was impressive.


"These companies have big visions, big markets and a scalable idea which is why they were chosen for this," he says.

"Our approach is empowering: we give a small amount of seed funding, help finding experienced people that are relevant to their industry to share experiences and knowledge, and help raising more capital to fund further growth."

Although Flux still believes companies should fund their business predominantly through revenue, this is not always easy for start-ups says Marshall, and the programme provides a good opportunity to fast-track growth.

While accelerator programmes around the world typically operate for three months, Flux is run across six months.

Entrepreneurs such as Wildfire founder Victoria Ransom, Dexibit chief executive Angie Judge and Scott Nolan of Founders Fund are among mentors supporting the teams.

Think Ladder

A modern mental-health application, ThinkLadder offers cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) through an app which already has thousands of users around the world.

Founders Katie and Mark Gatt started the company with the aim of making mental health treatment more available to anyone who needs it.

"Our approach is to look at all the barriers preventing people from receiving help and then try to tackle that," says Mark Gatt.


"We're not trying to replace counselling - therapy is really valuable, but for those that can't get there, we want to provide another option."

Mark Gatt of Thinkladder. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Mark Gatt of Thinkladder. Photo / Jason Oxenham

The company is starting with CBT but plans to add other therapy options as the business grows.

Gatt says customers can use ThinkLadder for self-awareness, to trace unhelpful beliefs and replace those beliefs with more empowering alternatives.


With the rise of autonomous robots and vehicles, control and co-ordination of this technology will become increasingly important, say David Inggs and Richard Stinear, co-founders of Rocos.

The company is building software platforms focused on the management and operation of autonomous robotics in agriculture, mining and emergency response.

Inggs says the company hopes to accelerate the adoption of robotics by making the technology easier to use and manage.

David Inggs, left, and Richard Stinear of Rocos. Photo / Jason Oxenham
David Inggs, left, and Richard Stinear of Rocos. Photo / Jason Oxenham

"A lot of people talk about the efficiency of autonomous robots, but if you need a PhD student with every robot it becomes more expensive to use the technology than to just hire someone to do the task," he says.

"We want to make sure these can be used reliably every time and without needing a team of people to manage them."

Rocos creates cloud-based platforms capable of talking to any robot or other software.


Andrew Nicol, co-founder and chief executive of coHired, says the job hunting and recruitment process can be a long and difficult one, and his company aims to make it simpler.

The company uses data to streamline the process, taking hundreds of CVs and shortlisting them to the five most relevant candidates for the role and the company, based on the candidate's experience for the role, whether they are likely to enjoy the work and how they might fit into the team.

Andrew Nicol of Cohired. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Andrew Nicol of Cohired. Photo / Jason Oxenham

"For recruiters, if you're looking at hundreds of applications every week, they eventually start to look the same because people tend to use the same templates and formats."

"Using this tech we can match who will be the best fit for a job based on information from the company and the candidates," Nicol says.

"We've had clients with thousands of applicants for one job, and for the recruiter there's no way they can look at all those CVs and give them any sort of justice. Our company makes the whole process smooth and simple."


Aimed at shoppers and retailers, website Thieve offers a curated shopping page with the best wholesale products.

Users can browse by categories such as fashion, technology, accessories or homeware and see the most viewed and most purchased items.

Founder Tim Scullin says the business started as a side project but quickly grew in scale.

Tim Scullin of Thieve. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Tim Scullin of Thieve. Photo / Jason Oxenham

"We launched the site and it was the number one upvoted [business] on US site Product Hunt, which is a start-up finder in the US.

Their list gets emailed out to hundreds of thousands of people, so at that point we had always thought it was a cool project but we realised we could double down on it as a proper business and it's just grown since then."

The company has also developed tools for dropshippers - people who buy direct from a factory and then resell - to better understand what products are popular and selling well. Scullin says most of the company's traffic comes from the US.


Founded by Carlos Seguin Lozano and Jing Li, Chipi is a search tool for customers' cloud-based apps and files.

Lozano says the app is capable of searching across all of a user's products and apps, saving time and energy. "It's about bringing the joy back to the cloud," he says.

"The search engine connects to everything and it's quick and simple to use."

Jing Li, left, and Carlos Seguin Lozano of Chipi. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Jing Li, left, and Carlos Seguin Lozano of Chipi. Photo / Jason Oxenham

The pair both have senior management and development experience from previous roles with Xero.

By the end of the Flux programme, they aim to have a product that is engaging and enjoyable.

Lozano describes it as a Google search, or Mac Spotlight for personal cloud data.