Hartill PR

A new, 12-week programme from the ecentre at Massey University offers tech start-ups their best chance of securing early stage investment by not thinking about investment at all.

The Sprint Launch programme is a unique proposition, drawing on Massey University and ecentre Hattaf Ansari’s ground-breaking research, which reveals that early customer traction and thinking global from day one generates local investor interest.

Mr Ansari’s study of 88 New Zealand early stage investors, angel investors, venture capitalists and members of crowd-funding groups, found local start-ups tended to use the US model of getting ‘investor ready’, which differs markedly from the interests of local investors.

Ecentre’s CEO, Jackie Young, anticipates the Sprint Launch programme will generate significantly better results for start-ups looking for investors.

“We’ve taken aspects of our successful entrepreneurship programmes and adapted them based on the results of Mr Ansari’s research.

“Market traction and early revenue are key considerations in the decision to invest by New Zealand investors. Rather than the traditional get-investment-ready approach, the Sprint Launch programme will instead focus on early revenue and customer acquisition. Founders will spend less time perfecting their pitch and more time creating momentum.”

“Companies taking part in the Sprint Launch programme will have one clear mission: To get paying customers onboard as quickly as possible” says Ms Young.

Mr Ansari’s research is the first of its kind in New Zealand.

“Until now there has been no data on the behaviour of New Zealand investors and how New Zealand culture impacts on their criterion for investment in early stage ventures. We are hugely fortunate to be able to draw on Mr Ansari’s findings, which have potential to change the fortunes of local start-up businesses,” says Ms Young.

Ecentre has been instrumental in shaping the fortunes of hundreds of start-ups since its inception in 2001.

CEO and founder of Perceptive Ltd, Chris Pescott says the ecentre was an integral part of its beginnings, and nurtured the business through its first three years of start-up.

“I can confidently say that we wouldn’t be where we are today without this early mentorship. I will always be grateful to the ecentre team for their guidance and support during our formative years,” says Mr Pescott.

Ms Young says the Sprint Launch initiative is made possible with the support of EY, ATEED and Hudson Gavin Martin.

ATEED General Manager Business, Innovation and Skills, Patrick McVeigh, says helping to turn start-ups into successful businesses is a significant driver for the regional economy.

“Providing innovators with the right mentors and support to take their product to market can be the difference between success and failure. The ecentre Sprint programme is a robust model, and we look forward to following the process of entrepreneurs taking part,” says Mr McVeigh.

Sprint Launch is a three-month programme that takes start-ups from functional prototype to first customers by facilitating mentorship, business development, customer acquisition and capital. It fills a gap in the market for start-ups that have validated their business model and developed a prototype and now need to fast track their customer acquisition.

“Participants can tap into our global network of industry experts, business partners and senior executives. Each company in the programme is matched with a business mentor and an ecentre alumni who has been there and done it before. We also offer introductions to our network of angel investors and venture capitalists, help with company formation, accounting, legal and IP advice,” Says Ms Young.

Companies interested in applying for the next Sprint Launch programme can complete the application online at https://ecentre.formsbyair.com/forms/sprinter-application

For Hattaf Ansari’s full research paper, email reception@ecentre.org.nz.


For further information please contact: Penny Hartill hPR, 021 271 424, penny@hartillpr.co.nz

Editor’s notes:

Since 2001, the ecentre business incubator and accelerator has been building the capabilities of founders by providing a supportive environment, flexible facilities and valuable connections to New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem. With access to resources including on-site professionals, experienced mentors and investors from around the region, and Massey University’s world-class research and subject matter experts, entrepreneurs at ecentre have scaled their startups to successful global companies.

Based at Massey University in Albany, Auckland, ecentre is a not-for-profit offering business incubation services to startup founders, as well as results-oriented programmes that provide a structured approach to validating and developing business ideas, customer acquisition, investment readiness, and export growth:

  • Sprint Foundation: An intensive programme where entrepreneurs apply market validation tools and methodologies to their idea or business venture (3 months)
  • Sprint Develop: Tailored commercialisation support for early stage companies that have worked through the initial market validation process and are working (3 months)
  • Sprint Launch: An accelerator-like programme that fast tracks customer acquisition and revenue generation for startups (3 months).


Media release – for immediate release

The ecentre at Massey University has reaffirmed its place as a leading incubator hub for tech start-ups, winning a Callaghan Innovation service expansion contract, announced by the Science and Innovation Minister, Paul Goldsmith.

From next month, the North Shore, Auckland-based ecentre, will work with Northland Inc, Northland’s Regional Economic Development Agency, to deliver services to start-ups from the Te Tai Tokerau region.

Ecentre CEO, Jackie Young, says winning the Callaghan Innovation contract is a significant indicator that its programmes deliver results.

“Now, in association with Northland Inc, we help more businesses validate and develop their business ideas, build their customer base, get investment ready and go global, more quickly.”

Mr Goldsmith says the ecentre’s programmes demonstrate the Government’s desire to encourage more technology start-ups in New Zealand as a means to diversifying the economy and increasing productivity.

“These contracts underpin the Government’s commitment to readying the New Zealand economy for the technological disruption to come.

“I can’t wait to see the businesses that these support providers help bring to market,” says Mr Goldsmith.

Northland Inc chief executive officer, David Wilson, said the entrepreneurial spirit is strong in the region, and that successful outcomes for businesses are more likely when support is offered from the very start.

“We are really pleased to be able to offer incubation services to Northland firms for the first time, in partnership with the ecentre at Massey University. This will round out our business support services and help strengthen the ecosystem supporting Northland firms to grow; in particular, those fledgling companies ready to move to the next stage,” said Mr Wilson.

Since 2001, the ecentre business incubator and accelerator has been building the capabilities of new business owners by providing cutting edge programmes, on-site professionals, experienced mentors and investors to New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem. It offers three programmes: Sprint Foundation, an intensive programme where entrepreneurs apply market validation tools and methodologies to their idea or business venture; Sprint Develop, tailored commercialisation support for early stage companies that have worked through the initial market validation process and Sprint Launch, an accelerator-like programme that fast tracks customer acquisition and revenue generation for start-ups.

Ecentre is one of six founder incubator or accelerator hubs to win a contract following an extensive tender process. The other successful organisations are :  Waikato’s SODA Inc, Wellington’s Creative HQ and ZeroPoint Ventures, Auckland’s The Icehouse and Palmerston North’s BCC.

Founder incubators are based around a start-up organisation such as ecentre, and bring groups of start-ups together, sometimes in a shared working space, to provide services increasing their chances of customer acquisition, investment and success in the domestic and global marketplace.

Ecentre is also supported by EY, ATEED, NZ Trade and Enterprise, NZSA, Arrow Rock, Ever Edge IP, Hudson Gavin Martin, Simmonds Stewart, CMCTEC, NTec, Flying Kiwi Angels and Massey University.

For more information on ecentre go to www.ecentre.org.nz


For further information contact Penny Hartill, hPR 021721424, penny@hartillpr.co.nz

Media release – for immediate release

wireless nation

Fast, easy, accessible satellite connectivity for all of us is one step closer, in a new deal between Wireless Nation – a wholly owned New Zealand internet provider – and leading global satellite company Gilat Satellite Networks.

The agreement gives Wireless Nation access to Gilat’s on-the-ground satellite services.

Wireless Nation’s founder and technical director, Tom Linn, says the deal fundamentally changes the landscape of satellite provision in New Zealand.

“Gilat brings a multi-market satellite platform into the partnership. We can now support any application with Gilat’s high performance satellite hub system, along with comprehensive network management and a family of mission-specific terminals.

“We now have the ability to develop next-generation, high-speed services via satellite; services that customers want, easily and cost effectively.”

Mr Linn adds that the partnership is a future-proofing strategy.

“New Zealand households and businesses can look ahead to Wireless Nation’s satellite services with speeds beyond 200Mbps, regardless of customer location.

“Satellite is the ultimate communications method; it doesn’t require cables, or roads to be dug up. The technology newly acquired by Wireless Nation makes it a fully automated service.”

Gilat’s robust platform enables Wireless Nation to offer cellular backhaul services – a highly convenient alternative to fibre in remote and hilly areas. Cellular backhaul easily connects cell towers to mobile operators’ call networks.

“Satellite is immensely useful to mobile operators seeking to expand their coverage in difficult or isolated terrain,” says Mr Linn.

Wireless Nation can now offer Virtual Network Operator (VNO) service to mobile operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in New Zealand. VNOs have full control of their terminals and full flexibility to define and manage their own services. They also gain detailed satellite monitoring information such as modem status, bandwidth usage and signal levels.

Mr Linn continues that satellite is increasingly used to backup terrestrial connections such as Fibre and DSL lines in many parts of the world.

“As businesses move to Cloud software suites, Cloud PABX and Cloud storage solutions, satellite is ideal as a backup device, due to very high service availability – over 99.99 percent.”

The new, high throughput satellites being launched in Asia Pacific region have ten times more capacity available whilst the cost to build them remains similar.


For further information, or an interview opportunity with Tom Linn, contact: Penny Hartill, director, hPR 09 445 7525, 021 721 424, penny@hartillpr.co.nz

Editor’s Notes:

Wireless Nation is a New Zealand based Internet Service Provider that provides fast broadband to homes and businesses throughout New Zealand. Since 2005, Wireless Nation has consistently provided fast broadband anywhere it’s needed, from apartments in Auckland’s CBD to the remote Chatham Islands. Rural communities in particular benefit from Wireless Nation’s powerful Optus satellite network, which has a high look angle so is reliable, less prone to rain fade and less likely to have line of sight issues.  It also offers fixed line broadband and Voice Over IP (VOIP).

It has partnerships with ASB Rural, PGG Wrightson, leading rural insurer FMG, and accounting software and payroll solution provider MYOB. For more information, call 0800 101 143 or visit www.wirelessnation.co.nz

I was referred to AIG – the world’s largest insurance company – by a former colleague who headed up the company’s communications activity for the Asia/Pacific region. The brief was to provide strategic direction and counsel on an ongoing basis following the tragic Canterbury earthquakes.

I assist AIG on all matters concerning their external communications activities, from leveraging sponsorship opportunities and developing media activity at product launches through to providing advice on highly confidential issues.

AIG is the major global sponsor and official insurance partner of six of New Zealand’s world class rugby teams including the All Blacks.

Image: Sonya & Jason Hills from London, UK via Wikimedia Commons