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Non-success gets a deserved recognition


A thumbs up to Lightning Lab and Wellington’s Creative HQ for celebrating non-success.

That, quite deliberately, is different from describing the five of the nine companies which went through LL’s 12 week accelerator programme as failures.

Earlier in the year, the Lightning Lab encouraged, cajoled, questioned and prodded nine good ideas into creating a distinct entity and business plan that may be attractive to potential investors.

(I commented in an earlier blog of my envy of those doing the LL – they learned so much, so quickly).

At a Demo Day in May, these nine pitched their products, and four achieved investment – LearnKo (oversubscribed with $700k), Wipster ($600k), Expander ($500k) and Publons ($350k).

That’s great, and these businesses are busy ramping up and gaining customers as quickly as they can.

Equally as good though is:
1. Lightning Lab is back again in March 2014 for a second run
2. Many people involved in the so-called non-successes will be back

But such non-success also needs a bit of explanation. For example, KidsGoMobile’s team are still all onboard, developing their product, hope to secure investment by the end of the year and will look to launch a Kickstarter campaign.

Teamisto opted not to take up New Zealand-offered investment, but have decamped to Chile, and see South America as being a more scaleable market for their product to help amateur sports teams obtain business funding/sponsorship.

Adeez, Promoki and Questo teams have moved to other ventures, though their founders rate the whole LL experience very highly.

Which is all good stuff. They’re learned, they’ll have other good ideas, they’ll have the nuclei of team members should they have another go at LL, they’ll know most of the hoops that need to be jumped through launching any type of new business.

Lightning Lab 2014 will begin accepting applications from November from around New Zealand for the $18,000 of seed investment for each startup team.

And, in a further feather in LL’s cap, it is the exclusive New Zealand member of the Global Accelerator Network (GAN), which comprises 51 of the world’s top accelerators.

So…fantastic. Celebrating success and celebrating non-success – a sign of a maturing Kiwi attitude to things not necessarily working out the way you’d expected.



sticK is run by Peter Kerr. As a writer for hire, especially in the science and tech area, and in making the complicated more simple, I’m happy to yarn – if you’ve got a challenge you’d like a conversation about, it costs nothing.


You can contact him at:

Bat phone: +64 21 0696 040

Landline: +64 4 473 0960

Twitter: @sticknz

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