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 InnovationChallenge.co.nz for more information and to attend the event get your FREE tickets here https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/chc-lightning-lab-electric-innovation-challenge-tickets-31465482104  

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)

Want to help change software development forever?

Software Engineer - Dunedin Based

Software Engineer (Graduate - Intermediate)

Company:      CodeLingo Limited
Location:        Dunedin
Work Type:    Full-Time Position

Company Overview

Are you interested in the art of engineering? As engineers, we are good at scaling up anything - except ourselves. As teams scale up, quality and velocity often drop. We're about to change that.


We're looking for a graduate to intermediate engineer who works well in a team and enjoys working on challenging new problems every day.

You'll be exposed to a wide variety of technologies, including Docker, GRPC, GraphDBs and many of the most popular programming languages. While our core stack is Git, Golang and Meteor, having experience in these is not as important as having the ability and interest to quickly pick up new technologies.

You'll be guided by senior engineers and entering on the ground floor of a new company.

Responsibilities will include, but not limited to, server deployments, database optimisations and website updates. You'll be one of CodeLingo's first hires and be instrumental in pushing out our most important release: CodeLingo v1.


Jesse Meek, CEO

Vodafone announces Xone companies


Great to see Vodafone announcing the tech companies accepted into the first Christchurch based Vodafone Xone accelerator.

The companies are;

  1. Solarbright - solar powered smart road markers
  2. Spalk - customized sports commentaries
  3. Blerte - health and safety app
  4. Haptly - drone-based pasture monitoring 
  5. IoTStrea - Internet of Things (IoT) cloud platform
  6. Linc-Ed - educational web app
  7. Linewiz - internet filtering and management for schools
  8. Parking Sense - parking management 
  9. Wireless Guard - a smart device that can detect if a window or door is locked/unlocked
  10. Catch.it - product for sharing TV on social media

Linewize just recently announced they have raised money from Punakaiki Fund.

Wireless Guard recently graduated from Lightning Lab Auckland.

A good article on Stuff Vodafone Xone names winning tech entrepreneurs has more details.

Linewize attracts investment from Punakaiki Fund


Local Canterbury startup company Linewize has gained an investment from New Zealand high growth investment fund, Punakaiki. 

Linewize enables teachers to gain visibility and control over Internet use in the classroom, ensuring students' attention remains focused on education rather than entertainment.

The announcement was made today on the Punakaiki Fund website http://punakaikifund.co.nz/news/punakaiki-fund-invests-in-linewize/.

Congrats to the Linewize team.


Startup Weekend Dunedin 2016

I’m just back from Startup Weekend Dunedin 2016 where I was facilitating with Dave Moskovitz.  The organisers and mentors put on another fantastic event and the participants had the most amazing energy.  One participant (not to be named) worked until 7am one day and had over 19 cups of coffee in a 24 hour period (not recommended but does show how keen they were)! 

Startup Weekend is a 54 hour event that starts on Friday evening with people pitching their idea for a business.  In Dunedin approximately half of the participants pitched an idea which is fairly typical.  Then teams are formed around the ideas people like the most.  Over the weekend the companies develop their business model, build an MVP, perform validation, and pitch their business.  Check out the Startup Weekend site for more information.

The winning teams in Dunedin 2016 were;

  1. eduPay
  2. Job Well Done
  3. Manifest Health

eduPay provides a parent friendly payment solution for school fees. Reducing the inefficiencies for school’s doing manual payment reconciliations and making modern payment methods available to parents. 

Job Well Done has created a trading card game that helps families work together to do household chores.  They have a pledgeMe campaign running which has already raised over $600, check out the SOTW story http://sotw.nz/job-well-done/

Manifest Health is creating a task/notes app for the medical profession to enable doctors to take notes and replace the pen and paper.

The other Startup Weekend Dunedin ventures are;

  1. Blank Book - A fun game to play with your mates
  2. The Golf Club Card - Play golf wherever and whenever you want
  3. Cup n Go - Order coffee from your mobile
  4. Freely - Coordinating volunteers for non-profits
  5. Rent2Buy - Helping first home buyers into homes
  6. MyNosh - Providing healthy food that fits your dietary needs
  7. SafeTiwi - Health and Safety app for tradies
  8. Share the Wisdom - Helping connect the generations to pass on wisdom to the young.

Startup Weekends are held all around the world and New Zealand holds more per-capita than any other country.  The Startup Weekend NZ site has a list of all planned events around the country.

The next event is Startup Weekend Christchurch (29 April - 1 May 2016) where I'll be facilitating again with the help of an amazing team of organisers, mentors, and helpers.  At time of writing this blog post there were still some tickets left but we have sold out the past 2 years so get in quick.


#swdud #swchch

Sky TV (NZ) vs Netflix (NZ)

I've been a Sky TV subscriber for a number of years.  Like many Sky subscribers I joined Sky for live sports coverage, in my case this was the Formula 1.


I've had a MySky box since they were available and the ability to record content using a programme guide is truly magical when you are used to the old fashion start and end times of a VCR.  Watching content when you want to (time shifting) rather than when it is broadcasted radically improves what you watch.  You can watch what you want, when you want to.

Sky Update

I was excited to hear recently that Sky NZ were embarking on a large update to their set top boxes (including the MySky) as a response to the many new services (e.g. Lightbox, Neon, Netflix etc).  I ordered a MySky wifi adapter from Sky to enable the new on-demand features.   The adapter arrived and I eagerly opened and connected the device only to be disappointed that nothing changed.  I called up Sky and they mentioned that I hadn't yet been upgraded.  They needed to do a software update to my MySky box to enable the new features.  As a software guy this seemed reasonable and so asked when my box would be updated.  The staff member wasn't able to give a date, not even a month, or year!  Really poor. A few weeks later my box was updated.  Why were they not able to provide an estimate on when the update was going to happen?

Once I had the new software update I noticed a few issues.  The software was very slow, selecting between screens/programmes etc was noticeably slower.  So slow you sometimes press the button twice causing unforeseen issues, like deleting my daughters programme unintentionally. :(  It was also generally the same as before.  Where it was different it was generally worse, like the speed issue, and the inability to turn off the sound when you are in the program guide.

Looking around the net you can find many people complaining about this software update.  The company has made some responses, see this NZHerald.co.nz article from January, It’s true that people will “get used-to” a disappointing service if they have no choice but is that what you really want to provide?  The company has also indicated that they are making changes/improvements to the software to respond to some of the complaints.

Sky On-demand

I found the content on the on-demand service very limiting.  Many of the programs require you to already subscribe to the Sky channel (e.g. Soho). I know this is a licensing issue but you need good content on a service and clearly Netflix has been able to resolve this problem (see below).


After hearing a lot of positive comments about Netflix I decided to try a free trial of the service in early March.  From the very start the service was a delight, a word I never used with Sky.  It is intuitive, fast, expansive, and interestingly innovative in some areas.  It is what I want from a service. The only thing missing is Sport coverage and some TV shows which i suspect are licensed to other service or free to air channels. But the range is vast and the price is very good.


Netflix is available on a wide range of devices including laptops, phones, game consoles, and even smart TVs.

Sony Smart TV

I purchased a Sony “Smart TV" two years ago when my old TV stopped working.  The “Smart” features were terrible, I tried a few options on several occasions only to be disappointed time and time again.  It seemed yet again that a non software company couldn't delivery good software :(

With my new Netflix trial setup with profiles for each of the family (a feature not available on Sky) I decided to see if the Netflix application on the Sony TV was any good.  I was pleasantly amazed, it was fantastic.  It was fast, it had all our profiles from our Netflix account, it simply worked perfectly.

Companies embracing technology

I could talk more about our Sky and Netflix experience but there is a larger observation I'd like to make; how do some companies embrace technology and others don’t.  Some of you may say that it is unfair to compare a software company like Netflix with a broadcast company like Sky but I don’t agree.  Sky’s recent upgrade was in direct response to companies like Netflix.  It’s great they have responded but its just not going to be enough.  There are also other companies that don’t have software at the core that have embraced technology, one of my favourites is Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand

At the core Air New Zealand is a transportation company, having to deal with complex issues relating to purchasing aircraft, flight economics and international sharing agreements etc.  Airlines are notoriously hard to make consistently profitable over the long term.  Air New Zealand has looked to technology to not only address direct issues (costs, competition) but as a way to improve customer service.  From check-in kiosks, to website improvements, to mobile app enhancements they are constantly improving how they enhance all aspects of their business.

The Future

I want local companies like Sky TV to succeed, to drive competition.  This is how we will continue to see advancements in the services we receive.  It is also how we can develop world leading businesses and products that we can export.  The challenge I have for Sky is to listen to their customers, see what competitors are offering and delivery a service that is simply BETTER.  Not because they need to today but because this is how they will continue to be relevant in the years to come. 

Note: I haven't yet tried out Lightbox or Neon and I don't work for Sky, Air New Zealand, or Netflix.