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The problem around, and more importantly some answers to, cranking up our startup ecosystem


Let’s hope for our sake that ‘Five ways New Zealand can accelerate a sustainable high-tech ecosystem’ doesn’t receive a “not invented here” rebuff from government and others.

(You can get an executive summary at the above link, or, by sharing it through social media, receive the full document).

Because Linc Gasking, the co-founder of Free Range Ltd, has put a powerful dollop of his own and others’ thinking into a 64 page document that seeks to short-circuit startup success in New Zealand.

It reads like a (much better written than usual) management/technical document. It also comes complete with footnotes, attributed quotes and insights that support the five key learnings and recommendations.

Gasking’s looked at other countries’ models, interviewed dozens of successful (and sometimes not so successful) entrepreneurs and venture capital firms, and got a real feel for what works; and conversely what doesn’t.

Given that globally startups and innovative high-growth companies create a disproportionate percentage of net new jobs, Gasking wants New Zealand to up its game.

A colleague made the observation that it would’ve also been interesting to carry out a longitudinal study of the startups that have come out of the likes of PeaceSwitchtec,Deltec and Azimuth (among others) over the past 10-15 years, though this would have required a much more in-depth study than Gaskin had time for.

By the same instance, the quantity and quality of government institutional memory which would know about the follow-on contribution that startups from these original companies made to the economy would probably be pretty limited.

The same colleague also felt that an examination of a similar sized country such as Denmark and Finland could have been informative. But we’re all wise after the event.

Gasking’s own words describe why cranking up the startup scene is so important for New Zealand.

Ecosystem 1

The five recommendations are:

Five ways

The best thing about this document is it isn’t only describing the problem.

Most of what he suggests as a remedy would cost diddly-squat – and could arguably be one way to profitably employ some of the money with no home that seems to be hanging around the MBIE/Callaghan Innovation nexus.

What it will take in the first instance though is for government, and the minister of everything Steven Joyce to give this document’s recommendations serious consideration.

This is a proposed solution to a problem, as opposed to being a solution in search of a problem.

It deserves much more than a perfunctory glance.



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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