This week we were off to a roaring start at New Zealand’s first Fintech accelerator as our 9 teams were given a solid foundation for building a top business.
The teams all got an awesome welcome kit (with many thanks to Mastercard, EY, Xero, and Kiwibank) and the programme started out with a bit on the history of accelerators - so the teams knew what they were in for.
Along with that, the teams got to learn about Lightning Lab and the incredible impact they’ve had helping businesses accelerate their growth. This included some pretty impressive stats like them having “over 64 businesses graduate from the accelerators (they’ve) run” and that they have raised approximately “$15M since 2013”.
Participants were encouraged to recognise that they, along with our partners, mentors, and investors, are the future of Fintech and that as their businesses become established so too will Wellington as a Fintech hub on the global stage.
Next up the participants were treated to a talk from Pallas Hupé Cotter (owner of POP). The business world is no small task to successfully enter but she helped the participants to build their confidence and define how they could make their brand “Pop” with personality. Kristen Lunman, programme director, described her as an “inspiration and an exciting way to start the programme”. Her advice was grounded with wisdom and practicality, giving participants a great boost for the accelerator ahead.
Working on their pitches was next on the agenda - and a vital part of the journey. To start off with the participants created pitches that were 60 seconds long. They’ll be using these a lot during their time in the accelerator and beyond so it was pretty key to get them going. Over the next few weeks these pitches will be expanded to 6 minutes so that on Demo Day in a few months time they’ll be pitch perfect!
A couple of other foundational talks took place, including getting their lean startup methodology down pat thanks to Dave Moskovitz, startup methodology and business foundation work thanks to Anthony Boobier, leadership skills and coaching thanks to Julie Treanor, making sure they look after themselves well thanks to Ben Cole, putting the empathy into sales thanks to Roisin King, and creating a minimum viable product thanks to Glenn Andert.
Mentor in residence, Rick Brown, also gave the participants a look at the major Fintech trends that are happening. This will be valuable information as the teams look into their business strategy and direction.
And with that, and a little more work on their pitches, bootcamp drew to a close, and the teams went home to recuperate for the accelerator ahead.