Spark Ventures Ed Hyde leaves Spark

As part of the leadership restructure at Spark Ed Hyde chief of Spark Ventures is leaving the company.

"Spark Ventures chief Ed Hyde will leave the country's biggest telecommunications company by the end of June, with his unit being integrated into the wider business"

Christmas and Thanks from GBJ Innovation

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year. 

In 2017 I was fortunate enough to work with a number of fantastic entrepreneurs, young and old.  Thanks to all of you who had the ambition to give it a go.  You are the ones who make a real difference.  There are too many of you to mention individually and I would hate to miss anyone - you know who you are.

Thanks to everyone within the tech and startup / innovation ecosystem including;
- Ministry of Awesome
- ChristchurchNZ & GreenHouse
- University of Canterbury - EDP, entre & Centre for Entrepreneurship
- Canterbury Tech
- Canterbury Angels
- Startup Weekend & Christchurch Startup Meetup
- Callaghan Innovation & their Regional Business Partners
- Startup Dunedin
- All the fantastic sponsors
- And our exceptional services providers

Canterbury Tech
After 5 years I've recently stepped down from the board of Canterbury Tech.  They are a fantastic group and I remain a member and wish the new committee all the best.  The strength of this group is clearly evident during the recent board elections, with 16 nominees for 3 positions. 

I live in Canterbury in the startup hotspot of Tai Tapu but work with people across the country, focused primarily on the South Island.  Christchurch gets most of my attention but I am a regular in Dunedin which is where my great-great-grandfather and great-great-grandmother arrived from Glasgow in 1858.

New Year
Working in this space can be exciting but can also be challenging, stressful, and all encompassing.  This is the perfect time of the year to remind ourselves to take some time for ourselves and our families, review where we are at and set goals for the new year.

Looking forward to an exciting 2018, Merry Christmas and have a safe New Year.


Geoff Brsh
Founder, GBJ Innovation

Upcoming events

There are a few events on this week;

Tuesday 26th September

Christchurch: Sales & Marketing Jam ($20)
September 26th 12:30pm
Auditorium, Christchurch Art Gallery, 49 Worcester Blvd Christchurch

UCE Kathmandu NZ Student Social Enterprise Challenge
September 26th 5:30pm
Engineering Core, 48 Creyke Road, Christchurch

Wednesday September 27th

Social Enterprise World Forum, Christchurch
Wednesday - Friday

Women In Tech - Christchurch
September 27th 5:30pm
Aftermath Gallery, 165a Gloucester Street, Christchurch

Thursday September 28th

Relentless Innovation: Spark Venture's Story
Thursday September 28th, 5:30pm
57 Kilmore Street, Christchurch

October 2017

Canterbury Tech - October monthly event
Tuesday 3rd October 2017
Ara – Engineering and Architectural Studies building, Madras st, Christchurch

Christchurch Hackers Conference (CHCon)
CHCon is a conference for security professionals and hackers
Thursday 26th (Training), Friday 27th & Saturday 28th October
 UCSA Events Centre, 90 Ilam Rd, Riccarton, Christchurch

November 2017

Hi-Tech Award Launch - save the date - 29 November 2017


Canterbury Tech Summit 2017

Another fantastic Tech Summit was held in Christchurch on Thursday 14th of September 2017.

Changes in Christchurch Ecosystem

Some significant changes in the Christchurch ecosystem over recent times;

  • CEO, ChristchurchNZ - Tom Hooper to Joanna Norris
  • CAO, Ministry of Awesome - Lauren Merritt to Marian Johnson
  • Head, Vodafone xone - Kevin Park to Lauren Merritt
  • CEO, Canterbury Chamber of Commerce - Peter Townsend to Leanne Watson
  • Chair, Canterbury Angels - Ben Reid - Gerald Carter
  • Client Manager - Technology, ChristchurchNZ - Neil Hamilton while Sheralee MacDonald is on 12 months travel leave.
  • GreenHouse Manager, ChristchurchNZ - Oliviah Theyers-Collins
  • Senior Advisor, Innovation & Commercialisation, ChristchurchNZ - Neil Pattinson

EPIC Tenants Finalists in Champion Canterbury Awards

Three of the tenants at EPIC were recently selected as finalists in the Champion Canterbury Business Awards.

Concentrate and MTech Games are finalists in the Professional Services – small enterprise category, whereas Corvecto is a finalist in the Innovation category.

The Teams of Startup Weekend Christchurch 2017

Congratulations to all who took part in Startup Weekend Christchurch 2017, and a big thanks to everyone who helped make it happen.

May 19 - 21 saw EPIC buzzing with energy at all hours as 120+ participants, mentors, organisers, and volunteers packed out the space to pitch startup ideas and turn them into real businesses, all in the space of a weekend.
Friday night was off to a running start with 54 individuals pitching their startup ideas, teams were formed, and coffee was drunk. The proverbial brown stuff may have hit the fan for many teams throughout Saturday as they engaged with their target market and learnt the dreaded word ‘pivot’.


Ultimately 13 teams delivered the goods at the final pitch battle in front of the public and our esteemed judges, with Binder taking out first place and bragging rights as the winners of Startup Weekend Christchurch 2017.

 Final presentations @ Ara

Final presentations @ Ara

 Startup Weekend Christchurch 2017 Judges

Startup Weekend Christchurch 2017 Judges

Binder NZ (Winner)


Binder is a wedding planning site, that provides everything a couple needs to plan their wedding.  From venue, to photography, budget, and timeline Binder provides the complete wedding planning service.

Team: Daniel, Fionna, Hannah, Henry, Yanwei

Buzz Keeper (2nd place)


Buzz Keeper is a security device built into beehives that enables bee keepers to track stolen beehives and alert them of thefts.

Team: Kirsten, Simon, Ruby, Inder, Stephen, Nicole, Ryan, Michael

Freeze My Glass Off (3rd Place)


Freeze My Glass Off is a car defrosting system that defrosts frozen windscreens during winter months.

Team: Georgia, Peter, Callum, William

Better Kiwi


BetterKiwi helps New Zealanders be less apathetic about choosing the most appropriate KiwiSaver fund for their personal situation.

Team: Glendon, Rikki, Matt, Jason, Stephen

Make My Day!


Make My Day! is a mobile app that lists and recommends activities and nearby businesses to help make your day.

Team: Alex, Kerry, Peiyi, Taner, Margot, Thomas, Anna



TopCrop provides rentable and serviced vertical vegetable gardens for workplaces, contributing to a healthier and more productive workplace.

Team: Duncan, Pali, Stephan, Carl, Chris, James, Robina



Lakuna matches people with things needed to be stored with people that have available space.

Team: Edwin, Nathan, Ashling, Sarah, Ashley, Edwin, Izadora, Simon



Upto is an event promotion platform helping you find the best local activities and events to attend with your friends

Team: Arron, Matthew, James, Ben, Michel, Peter, Cameron, Stephanie

Gap Finder


GapFinder helps local governments connect with their communities to understand what they want for their cities.

Team: Christopher, Ollie, Daniel, Mike, Tony, Dorj, Olivia

Heart Sync


Heart Sync produces a pillow that helps adults sleep and provides anxiety relief by playing the sound of heart beats.

Team: Ged, Leo, Olivia



Helping young people learn about the world and envisage their future using Virtual Reality technology.

Team: Danny, Deborah, Chris, Joe, Sridhar, Alex, Paris, Raj, Daniel, Sakthi

Journey NZ


Journey is an app that lets visitors have a great travel experience, including localised stories, nearby attractions and information on places to eat and where to get petrol.

Team: Carl, Charles, Mitchell, Huey, Jake, Munir, Keryn

Revival of the Craft


Revival of the Craft matches people wanting to learn a craft with a community run workshop.

Team: Timo, Terry, David, Daisuke, Kerry


Startup Weekend’s are truly community events, so we’d love to thank our sponsors who believe in investing into their local community.

Lightning Lab Electric and the Innovation Challenge - Christchurch Event

If you are an innovator in the energy sector, in any area from generation to management and distribution you should attend this event on Feb 24 in Christchurch.

You will hear about the future of energy with US-based energy experts Helen and Dave Edwards and you will meet leading edge electricity innovators Bidgely and Flick Electric who will speak about what it takes to bring a product to market

Check out for more information and to attend the event get your FREE tickets here  

GBJ Innovation - 2016 Year In Review

A lot can happen in 12 months and we thought it would be good to list a couple of the highlights from 2016 to reminder us of all the things that happened during the year. 

GBJ works in two main areas; startup support and the startup ecosystem.

Startup support is where we help an individual startup to launch, grow, and raise investment.  

Startup ecosystem tasks are where we work with groups of startups or founders.

Startup Support

We worked with some amazing founders during the year, here are just a few highlights from 2016, sorry to everyone I left out.


This incredible startup was formed at Startup Weekend Christchurch 2016 in May and supplies edible insects to restaurants and special events around the country.  They have received significant press coverage including television and radio interviews.  All of this in only 8 months!

The highlight was helping them prepare for the entre $85k Challenge 2016 competition, which they won!

 Anteater winning the entre $85k Challenge 2016

Anteater winning the entre $85k Challenge 2016


CodeLingo is a Dunedin based startup working in the software tools space.  Their revolutionary product automates the code review process to help us make better software and save us from the estimated $1 trillion dollar technical debt problem.

They recently won a Chorus Gig-start grant.

 CodeLingo receiving a Chorus Gig-start grant

CodeLingo receiving a Chorus Gig-start grant


AccountingPod is re-imagining financial education for accountants and business people using real business data and cloud tools.

AccountingPod has just been shortlisted for the new Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator.

 AccountingPod at the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator selection day

AccountingPod at the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator selection day

 AccountingPod Complete For Cash Cow competition

AccountingPod Complete For Cash Cow competition

 AccountingPod Complete For Cash Cow competition  

AccountingPod Complete For Cash Cow competition 

Canterbury Startup Ecosystem

Canterbury Tech

A big year for Canterbury Tech as we re-branded from Canterbury Software in April.  Software, electronics, sensors, wearables are all merging together and the new name reflects that people don’t just write software they create innovative tech products.

The Tech Summit continues to be the largest tech event in the south island, and was sold out in 2016 with more than 650 registrations.

  Photo credit: Jonny Knopp, Peanut Productions.

Photo credit: Jonny Knopp, Peanut Productions.

 Photo credit: Jonny Knopp, Peanut Productions.

Photo credit: Jonny Knopp, Peanut Productions.

Ministry of Awesome

A very busy year for Ministry of Awesome with the addition of two new awesome trustees ; Sue Suckling and Lloyd Mander.

We expanded to two co-working spaces and relocated our main location to the beautiful 192 St Asaph Street.

Ministry of Awesome ran a crazy number of events and workshops from the weekly Coffee and Jam to special events and our new workshop series.

We met with more than a hundred entrepreneurs via our Startup Activation programme and Activator Caffeine Adventure events.   

 AwesomeHQ, 192 St Asaph Street

AwesomeHQ, 192 St Asaph Street

 Activator Caffeine Adventure

Activator Caffeine Adventure

Startup Christchurch

In 2016 we organised our 3rd Startup Weekend Christchurch event with a sold out event at EPIC in May.  The highlight for me this year is seeing so many of the attendees from the past events following their own entrepreneurial journeys.  From Peter and Bex with Anteater to Andy and Chris with Chess Checker and Regina with Swoopy.

 Startup Weekend Christchurch @ EPIC

Startup Weekend Christchurch @ EPIC

 Startup Weekend Christchurch @ EPIC

Startup Weekend Christchurch @ EPIC

University of Canterbury

University of Canterbury continues to grow its startup support with the official opening of UCE during 2016 and the continuing success of its student club entre.  UC students have also participated in; Startup Weekend, Vodafone Xone, Lightning Lab, and BNZ Start-up Alley.

 Opening of UCE

Opening of UCE

 UCE Bootcamp

UCE Bootcamp

Canterbury Angels

Canterbury Angels turned one during 2016 and had a big year with gaining SCIF accreditation,  completing our first investment and hiring Gabby Addington as our Operations Manager.



There are lots of other great ecosystem groups and activities in 2016 that we weren't directly involved in but did participate with so wanted to acknowledge;

I don’t hear anyone talking about the gaming industry or the tech industry generally

This episode from TVNZ's The Hard Stuff with Nigel Latta is a great summary into why the tech industry is so important for New Zealand, especially this quote from Nigel Latta "I don’t hear anyone talking about the gaming industry or the tech industry generally".

The Hard Stuff with Nigel Latta - Selling Ourselves Short (TVNZ)