Frequently Asked Questions

Application Tips

  • Selection Criteria

    Team – composition, attitude, motivation, experience, cohesiveness

    Idea – market size and opportunity, disruptiveness of product

    Investment potential – investability and clear pathway for follow on rounds

    Programme fit – fit with the programme themes and cultural fit for programme

  • Mandatory Criteria

    No lone wolves; must be two or more (but no more than 5 either – the sweet spot is 3 to 4 members)

    Must be willing and able to be based on site for the duration of the programme (although we may reserve a few spots for remote teams in special circumstances)

    Must be willing and able to work full time on the opportunity (that’s what the seed funding is for, so you can dedicate your time to your startup)

  • Ideal Team Characteristics

    Have all the roles covered - visionary, hacker, hustler and hipster

    At a life stage where acceleration is appropriate and can have an impact

    The opportunity has prospects in larger markets

    Willing to take on investment for growth and first external funding (Angel/Seed Plus) is foreseeable

    Open and receptive to advice/feedback, good to work with

    You excite us and we want to work with you

  • In Particular we are keen to see how you are ...

    Building your team (getting the business, technical, marketing and other talent you need to be successful)

    Far along you are with your prototype or product

    Achieving key milestones (sign-ups, page views, sales, TechNZ grants and so on)


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do I need to move to Wellington for the programme?

    We put together a programme that brings all of the resources you need to you. This includes mentors, experts, partners, regulators and coaches. We can effectively do this if you are working in our space for the duration of the programme, and everyone knows that they come into our space to work with you. Plus, we work hard on making the culture very conducive to accomplishing a lot in a short time frame. We can best do that if you are working in the same place with us and the other teams. We are open to making exceptions to the in-residence rule for special circumstances.

  • Can I apply if our founders are not from New Zealand?

    Yes, we welcome applications from anywhere. We can provide further information on the likely immigration issues and living and working in New Zealand.

  • Can I apply on my own?

    The short answer is – no. But contact us to discuss your idea as we don’t want to miss out on great opportunities. We may be able to give you some pointers or contacts for getting co-founders on board.

  • Do I need to submit a business plan?

    No, complete the application form and send us regular updates.

  • When is the deadline to apply to the programme and what's the overall timeline?

    Each programme has fixed dates during which we accept applications, with typically a 2-month window between applications closing and the programme start date. After applications, we will decide who to invite to our selection panel interviews, which will take place approximately 2 weeks after the application closing date. Within a week after the selection panel interviews, we will inform teams of an offer to be in the programme. Teams will have up to three weeks to decide on being in the programme and will then need to start preparing for the programme start date.

  • Will you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement? How will I protect my idea?

    Your application is confidential to the Lightning Lab founding investors and management team and will not be shown to anyone else.  As we see lots of ideas in similar spaces we won’t sign an NDA.