What’s better than developing products from your mum’s basement? Developing products in New Zealand’s most prestigious accelerator, with access to initial funding, expert mentors, and potential investors!

While Velox Innovation may be working with established companies to deliver our coaching programme, we are also extremely passionate about startup innovation in New Zealand. With this in mind, we were excited to hear that business accelerator Lightning Lab is now offering Lightning Lab Manufacturing—a 12 week long mentor-intensive programme specifically focusing on physical product development. We went along to their Auckland information session to meet some of the team and learn more about the programme.

Among them was Programme Director Shaun O’Keefe, who had recently arrived from Texas. While previously spending 14 years with the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival as an event producer and strategist—for those who don’t know, SXSW is a set of film, interactive, and music festivals and conferences that take place early each year in Austin, Texas—Shaun now consults via his creative strategy lab Apostrophe Industries. It’s safe to say that Lightning Lab is doing a great job at attracting overseas talent.

The Accelerator Model

Based on the best-of-breed accelerator model developed by TechStars in the US, Lightning Lab includes 3 months of intense capability-building and hard work, followed by the opportunity forteams to pitch to leading investors at a high-profile event known as Demo Day. They have now held two programmes in Wellington and one in Auckland.


The new Lightning Lab Manufacturing accelerator comes out of a partnership betweenCreative HQ, Callaghan Innovation (also corporate partners to our coaching programme), the Hutt City Council and Grow Wellington.

The accelerator will give startups that are building physical products the opportunity to rapidly grow their companies through a special combination of seed funding, world-class mentoring, mind-expanding workshops and intensive business development.

The programme will take place in Lower Hutt, with a group of exceptional mentors available to coach teams on how to get their products to market.

Lightning Lab Alumni – New Zealand’s Finest

Lightning Lab has a track record for producing some incredible digital startups.

Wipster—an alumni from the 2013 Wellington programme—is a video workflow platform letting users watch, share and comment on their work-in-progress videos, allowing better feedback to be received more efficiently. In February 2015 the company secured $1.2 million USD in funding to drive the globally-used platforms development and reach.

CloudCannon allows web designers to host, deploy and maintain websites for clients. It doesn’t require any programming and fits in with the web designer’s existing workflow. The service—which went through the 2014 programme in Wellington—now boasts thousands of users managing millions of pages every month.

GlassJar, also from the 2014 programme, is a software platform for managing shared expenses and making group payments. It has been launched in the rental market to help tenants create group accounts that are able to pay for all shared expenses, without the need to use cheques. The former Christchurch company is now based in Silicon Valley, in the US startup accelerator Y Combinator, which provides US$120,000 in seed funding to every startup it invests in.

GlassJar is the first kiwi company to have been accepted into the accelerator, which has seen companies such as Airbnb and Dropbox pass through its doors.

Fostering Entrepreneurship and Innovation

We believe the Lightning Lab programme will be an invaluable contributor to the success of New Zealand businesses, and are excited to follow the progress of future product development superstars.

If you are interested in the finer details of Lightning Lab, you can get in touch with the team by visiting their website. For more details about Lightning Lab’s manufacturing programme click here. They have also announced an extended application deadline – any interested startups now have until Friday 3rd of July to apply.


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