Countdown to Startup Weekend Taranaki!

Guest Post by: Krissy Sadler-Bridge, MYOB Marketing Manager, New Zealand, Sponsors of Startup Weekend Taranaki

What do 8 teams, 12 mentors, 1 winner, 2 new startups and 59 litres of coffee have in common? Stumped? Well, it’s all to do with Startup Weekend Taranaki!

If you haven’t heard of Startup Weekends yet, they are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups!

It’s a fantastic global initiative that’s run nationally throughout New Zealand and the next one will be held at Manifold Coworking and Events Space in New Plymouth from 14 to 16 October 2016.

At MYOB, we’re really proud to be part of Startup Weekend Taranaki. Last year 45 eager participants took part, where they pitched their ideas for a startup product or business. 8 teams were then formed around the top ideas and they went through a rigorous 3-day frenzy of business model creation, coding, design and market validation, supported by business and startup mentors. The weekend culminated with presentations by each team in front of a judging panel of local entrepreneur leaders who provided critical feedback and picked a winning startup.

The talented team Shout Beer, won last year – think flower delivery but with beers. Owe a mate a favour, or want to thank them for a good deed? Then here’s your perfect answer – Shout Beer!

So, starting this Friday evening, approximately 50 participants get to take part in this full on 3-day experience and we’re so excited to listen, support and help the teams hone their ideas to what hopefully will become a market winning product or service!

Haven’t signed up and fancy coming along? Book your place

The Importance of Good Mentorship in Business and Where to Find it

Guest Post by: Chris Lynch, Managing Director of Staples Rodway Taranaki and Judge at Startup Weekend Taranaki

Whether you’re starting out in business or leading a company with over 100 employees, there is one thing we all have in common – we don’t know everything! Steve Jobs, Sir Richard Branson and Larry Page all admit to having had guidance from mentors throughout their career. No matter who you are or what you’ve achieved in life, a good mentor is crucial to business and personal success.

The first step to finding a great mentor is to realise you need one in the first place! We are extremely lucky in Taranaki to be surrounded by experienced leaders who are willing to dedicate time to encouraging other business professionals in the region. Our business and creative community is stronger than ever and the opportunities are endless. So once you understand the importance of a mentor, the rest is pretty straight forward – start looking!

Startup Weekend Taranaki is the latest offering in mentorship programmes, and one that Staples Rodway is very proud to invest in. The event founders believe that, “Empowering others is the best way to identify leaders, build communities, and inspire change.” This is hugely important if we are to build successful businesses in Taranaki that bring growth and wealth to the region.

Startup Weekend isn’t just about having a unique idea that sells. Yes, each team forms around an idea and spends 54 hours working on this idea but the event itself offers more than that. During the event, participants are surrounded by dozens of other like-minded individuals. Whether it’s other coders, designers or entrepreneurial spirits – being immersed in this environment can only provide inspiration to those involved. The mentors then form the next layer of substance. Having the guidance of experienced business people gives the idea legs to form into a real business that can make money.

Last year alone, 2 ideas have turned into startups as a result of the Taranaki Startup Weekend. But if this event isn’t for you, there are still other ways of reaping the benefits of mentorship. Venture Taranaki offers a Business Mentoring Programme where they match people in small businesses with experienced mentors to offer advice, knowledge and a different perspective. Because they have such a wide range of mentors, you can choose to work with people who specialise in different aspects of business – and once you are more comfortable in one area, you can work with a different mentor on another area of your business.

Mentors offer industry-specific advice based on their years of trying and failing. They can be a sounding board for ideas or a devil’s advocate and they don’t have to cost the earth either! Many start-ups work on a tight budget in the early years so utilising these easily-accessible options could be the start of a very successful partnership for you.

Below are some helpful tips for creating and maintaining successful mentoring relationships:

  1. Quality over quantity. It’s not about finding as many people to help you are possible, but finding the best. These are often the most successful people in their industry. Senior level professionals have had the most experience in their business career, good and bad, so consider this when choosing a mentor – learn from people’s successes, but more importantly their mistakes.
  2. Find a Mentor that shares the same business values. It’s the same for any business relationship, the person must believe in you to be able to help you succeed. They also must be willing to spend time with you no matter how busy their lives may be. Mutual respect goes a long way.
  3. Respect your mentor. You may not like what they tell you sometimes but they are successful for a reason. Also be respectful of their time and take notes so that you don’t forget what they say.
  4. Find a mentor now! Even if you are only just developing the business idea, find a Mentor. The sooner the better when it comes to seeking trusted advisors.
Chris Lynch, Managing Director of Staples Rodway Taranaki and Judge at Startup Weekend
Chris Lynch, Managing Director of Staples Rodway Taranaki and Judge at Startup Weekend

Starting Up – 5 Tips to Avoid Future Business Failure

Guest Post by: Rob McEwan, IT Director at Staples Rodway Taranaki and Mentor at Startup Weekend Taranaki

Staples Rodway
Get business advice early on to prevent issues!


It’s a commonly accepted opinion that creating a business is hard work. Of course, there’s your product or service to perfect and your funding to sort out but some of the logistics are much easier than people realise. It’s often when something is overlooked that it all feels a bit too hard. Staples Rodway IT Director, Rob McEwan has been involved in helping businesses succeed for over 30 years now and if he had to narrow down some advice for areas people overlook in the early stages of business, these tips would be on there.

  1. Incorporate strategic planning sessions from the start, even better if you do this with an external advisor. Building these habits and relationships early give you a great base to develop from as your business grows.  Clear strategic direction engenders greater clarity of direction, unity of decision-making, and provides greater traction to actions taken. Vital issues are considered early, often resulting in savings of time and money.
  2. You may not have a CIO or CTO on board when you start. This is no excuse to defer all IT strategy until you have the skills in your team. It’s important to get IT advice near the beginning because it’ll be easier to set you up for growth then, compared to trying to retroactively tidy up down the track.
  3. Find a good accounting system and use it! A system won’t help you if you aren’t inputting the correct information. From day one, ensure that you know how you will track your income and expenses and make sure you keep it up to date. Most cloud accounting systems automate a lot of these tasks for you so speak with your accountant to review which would work best for your business.
  4. Consider your marketing plan early on. Knowing how you will be promoting your business lets you design systems, processes and collateral that support your intended channels. This saves wasted efforts that don’t actually fit with the marketing plan.
  5. Ensure that you are complying with any legislation and requirements that are specific to your industry. You don’t want to go too far and realise there’s quite a big regulatory hurdle standing in your way. Find out about it first so you can plan with it in mind.

And a bonus tip – learn everything that you can! Take advantage of the sessions offered by Staples Rodway (there’s even free ones!) to learn the Basics of Financial Management and the Basics of Business Planning. When you’re running the show, it doesn’t hurt to know a little bit about a lot of things – you can leave the work to the experts but understanding these aspects of your business will empower you to feel more in control.

Rob McEwan, IT Director at Staples Rodway Taranaki and Mentor at Startup Weekend Taranaki
Rob McEwan, IT Director at Staples Rodway Taranaki and Mentor at Startup Weekend


Startup Weekend Kapiti 2016

Imagine this scenario. You have nowhere to sleep tonight, you don’t know anyone who shares your interests, the people around you don’t know how to cooperate, you have no outlet for creative expression and to make matters even worse, you don’t even know where your phone is. The situation is so difficult for you that you can’t even keep track of your own emotions.

You begin to work your way up through your problems based (roughly) on the Hierarchy of Needs. Your most pressing need is to have somewhere to sleep tonight, but how can you achieve this when you don’t even know where your phone is? Fortunately, you don’t even need a phone to be able to…

Seek Shelter

Team ‘Seek Shelter’

When a shelter receives a request from a person in need of a bed, currently if all their beds are taken the only way for them to find an alternative place for the person to sleep is to ring around other known shelters and hope for the best. Seek Shelter has the solution of a central database of available beds so that when a shelter is forced to turn someone away, it will be easier for them to find them a bed at a nearby location. Crucially, good samaritans would be able to register their own sleeping locations, allowing shelters to direct people to quarters that they would not otherwise have known about.

Seek Shelter
The base of our Pyramid of Needs

Having found a place to sleep for the night, you begin to worry about the next tool in your kit of survival – the ubiquitous but powerful Mobile Phone. You turn to the person who has just helped find your shelter and you exclaim…

Dude! Where’s My Phone?

Team ‘Dude! Where’s My Phone?’

While there are a number of alternatives currently available for this problem, this one has a price advantage and is voice activated, rather than relying on another device – even if you have a spare device on hand and it happens to be charged and have good reception, it can tell you that your phone is near the couch but not that it’s under the third cushion. It works by responding to a unique password of your choosing, such as ‘blue cat’, and making a noise to alert you to its whereabouts.


Having located your phone and thus resolved your most pressing of needs, you don’t feel entirely secure yet the family you have formed around you so far have learned through their experiences with gaming to use strategy and communication as competitive rather than cooperative tools, and have trouble working together to ascend beyond this level of the pyramid. Using your recently found mobile phone, you place an order for…

Nobody Left Behind

Team ‘Nobody Left Behind’

Board games are great for bringing families together, but with only a few exceptions, they focus on competing against each other to win the game individually rather than cooperating with each other to win the game collectively. Nobody Left Behind is a game set on an island where the players must escape from an erupting volcano, working together to solve problems and overcome obstacles. The concept of a family friendly cooperative game has shown to be in demand with parents who want to lure children away from their consoles and teach them cooperative social skills, and can be expanded into digital games and other scenarios such as a Space Adventure.


You’re beginning to feel more secure about your continued survival. It’s about now that you begin to be yearn for the company of people who share similar interests to you. You take out your mobile phone again and begin to search for people…

A Bit Like Me

Team ‘A Bit Like Me’

Have you ever been to a large meetup and left without speaking to a single person? Events such as meetups can be useful for bringing people together over a common interest, but it’s possible to feel even more alone when you’re surrounded by people and don’t know how to connect to any of them. A Bit Like Me solves this problem by connecting you to specific people in your location who have specific interests that can be tailored and filtered to your liking. Wouldn’t it be a great ice breaker to know that the person sitting next to you is also a big fan of Magnum P.I.?


Now that you have Friends, your life is beginning to look a bit more like a sitcom ideal. But are you able to see how improved your mental status is now compared with how you were feeling earlier in the day? You may not even be aware that you have…


Team ‘Resilience’

One quarter of people suffer from some form of depression, and a useful tool for combating it is through self-awareness and being able to reflect on your emotional status. Not everyone keeps a diary or remembers to fill them in every day, so Resilience is there to remind you to pay attention to yourself every day and take some time to attend to your emotional health. By comparing your current frame of mind with how you were on previous days, you can see trends in your personal wellbeing and get a holistic view of yourself – and if needs be, the service might be able to provide additional support.


Looking at your life from the outside, you seem to have your life pretty sorted at this point in terms of physical and emotional balance. But you want to take the next step from having a merely comfortable life to having a fully satisfying life. So to achieve your creative goals you could always…


Team ‘CollabaMate’

Producers and hip-hop vocalists have a hard time matching together – either the producer will be put out by flaky vocalists, or the vocalist has difficulty getting noticed. This app matches the two together by having vocalists perform to tracks they choose from producers, then uploading and sharing them for the producers to listen to. A system of ratings and feedback lets the producers know which vocalists are reliable and if they truly are a crowd-pleaser. If they don’t want to pay for the full service, vocalists can save their performances for their own reference.


By the end of Startup Weekend Kapiti 2016, our six teams had managed to build up an entire pyramid covering all of the requirements of humanity from basic human needs to self-fulfilment. Here is that pyramid in all its glory:


If you’re interested in learning more about these ideas or want to get in touch with one of the teams, feel free to contact Or if you’re inspired and want to participate in the event next year, make a note in your calendar for July next year!

What’s In A Weekend?

Guest post by José Mathias

Blog 1

Last week, I tried to explain Startup Weekend to my grandmother. She’s nearing her 80th birthday and still thinks of business as “that company with 950 employees that your grandfather was a manager at, oh José, why can’t you get a real job like him?!”

When I told her that on one Friday afternoon, 100 strangers had walked into a room in downtown Wellington, and on the following Sunday night, 15 businesses had walked out, she thought I was talking about a game. A simulation. Not real life.

“Startup Weekend is no game,” I said.

At the last Weekend I was at, one of those 15 teams walked out carrying $29,000 worth of annual recurring revenue (ARR) in their pockets. In just 54 hours, they had met each other, formed a team around an idea, validated it in the marketplace, built a product, and begun taking sales from customers. They had cried. Laughed. Worked. Tried to sleep. It was all very real.

I told her how some teams almost broke apart, how it’s so interesting to see that different people have different ideas for the direction of the startup, and the result is usually an amalgamation of everyone’s input. The tension is palpable and mentor feedback is brutally honest. If you’re attending, take out an insurance policy on your ego now because it’s probably going to be injured. It’s a very intense experience, mitigated only by freshly roasted coffee and a common purpose.

“Why do people pay to go to this then?” she retorted.

I had to pause.

Blog 2

“In some ways, Startup Weekend is a game,” I admitted.

If it’s a game, you’re surrounded by the best players. They’re talented and driven individuals who want to solve the problems you see and want to create sustainable sources of income while doing so. They’re usually developers, designers, marketers, lawyers and people of many other professional backgrounds who are there because they’re not satisfied with the 9 to 5. You have continuous access to coaches (mentors) who are well-versed in the lean startup methodology, have built successful businesses themselves, and can offer you advice that people usually pay five figures for in an MBA. You have three delicious meals a day, a constant flow of coffee, and WiFi that can handle 300 devices simultaneously downloading Game of Thrones Seasons 1-6. It’s an ideal environment designed to be a petri dish for profitable business.

The result is beautiful. At the last Weekend, one team had spoken to Rod Drury and lined up a meeting to pitch their product to Xero that week. Another had found a way to integrate refugees into our communities using meals as common ground. Another ended their pitch on Sunday night by announcing that they were fielding acquisition offers. This is all in a Weekend’s work.

Blog 3

There’s a Startup Weekend coming up in Kapiti in late July, and if you’re interested in attending, I need you to do two things. Firstly, start seeing the world differently. In your life there will be problems that businesses can solve. WRITE THESE DOWN! Bring your problems with you to Startup Weekend – it’s what the event is for. Secondly, please buy a ticket as soon as you can. This tells us how many of you are interested in the event and allows us to plan as best as possible for accommodating you! If you can’t attend but know someone who might be able to, let them know about it. You could change their life.

You don’t need experience or skills. You just need to want to make a difference.

As for my grandmother, she still doesn’t quite get it. Unbeknownst to her, startups much like the ones that come out of Startup Weekend have remarkably changed the world for the better during the course of her lifetime. She only sees the result, not the process. Maybe I should have explained it to her like that.

Startup Weekend Kapiti is coming to the Coast!

Startup Weekend is a global movement, and for the first time, a keen bunch of local volunteers are bringing the event to Kapiti, hosting the first Startup Weekend on the Coast in Paraparaumu in July 2016.

To the uninitiated, Startup Weekend is hard to describe. Well, it’s easy to describe what happens in terms of the mechanics: you turn up Friday night with ideas (or not) and sort yourselves into teams – then spend the weekend working your idea up into a business. On Sunday night, you pitch what you’ve been working on, and the lucky winning team wins a bunch of useful prizes to help their startup dream go further.

But, it’s not just about that. You see…Startup Weekend is for everyone. And I’m not just saying that. Whether your “day job” is in retail, restaurants or rocket-ship building, you will learn something at a Startup Weekend.

If you are really experienced in business, or haven’t even started out, then you have something you can bring to your team. It might be that you are the connector, the cheerleader or the confidence builder. Every team needs one of those. Teams that thrive at Startup Weekend are ones that have a lot of people in them who aren’t sure why they are there (or what they can bring), but are keen to give it a go anyway.

If your day job is as a developer, you might be looking to meet people who have the same skills as you, or for people who bring something different. We’ve already met a good bunch of developers through our meetup group, so we know we’ve got a great base to grow from.

We also have a fantastic arts and crafts community on the Coast. That means there are plenty of artists and crafters who fit the bill of “designers”. It is people who can turn words into images and think creatively and expressively through pictures and design.

If you have had a random idea perculating away in your brain, maybe for an app, a web service, or for something that you want to buy but have never been able to find, then Startup Weekend is a great place to bring it, test it, build it and launch it.

No previous experience necessary – come and learn, laugh and be part of the “magic” that happens at Startup Weekend.

To be eligible to come to Startup Weekend you only need two things. 1. Enthusiasm 2. A ticket!

Grab your ticket today at



Startup Weekend Wellington: The Teams

Startup Weekend Wellington is an event like no other. I talk to numerous people about the weekend and the conversation usually goes something like this:

“What is a Startup Weekend?”

“Well, its a weekend for people with burning ideas. It’s an event where people challenge themselves to create a business over a weekend.”

[…Confused and puzzling stare…]

“Let me explain a little more. People buy tickets to the weekend event. Participants pitch an idea on a Friday evening. Teams then form around the most popular ideas. The newly formed teams spend the rest of the weekend exploring the idea in more detail with the aim of pitching a validated and functional business idea to a Panel of expert judges on the Sunday evening.”

“Oh! That is actually pretty cool.” 

[…Head spinning thoughts; perhaps I’ll head along to a weekend, I have ideas, I have skills…]

So who was involved in the May SWWLG and which team won?

Yes you can contact a team if you like their business idea!



Rocko's Dog Food (1)

Rocko’s Dog Food  

Nutritious dog food delivered weekly, whilst also helping dogs in need. 

The problem: The majority of people have no idea how much they’re spending a week on dog food and they are uncertain about how much to feed their dog.
The solution: We have developed a subscription dog food service, direct to your door, fresh and healthy. Every subscription supports dogs in need.
The pitch: It was all Rocko’s idea.
Our team looks like: Business Analysts, Hustler, Strategist, Growth Hacker, Designers and Developers.

80% of the people we talked to over this weekend would pay a premium to help less fortunate dogs. Rocko 

Like this idea? You can contact Jordan: 

THE TEAMS (in random order)


Local Dish

local plate (formerly local dish) 

Get local. Get fresh. Try new recipes.  

The problem: There are a lot of people that go to the produce market and are overwhelmed by the amount of options and produce they’re not familiar with. 50% of consumers come to the market with no recipe in mind and because of this people usually stick to what they know.  
The solution: The Farmers Bag. This is a produce bag that provides consumers with fresh, seasonal produce and a recipe to create a meal. We have built a mobile website prototype where users can browse our seasonal recipes, select their seasonal Farm Bag and pick up directly from their produce from their favourite weekend produce market.
From the pitch: Why this is different? We have a direct relationship with the vendor, you don’t lose that great weekend market atmosphere.
Our team looks like: Designers, Developers, Business Analysts and Marketers. 

We were surprised and excited by the passion that Wellingtons had for local produce and fresh options.” Farmer Brown 

Like this idea? You can contact – Mary: 


Wafflr (formerly Waffl)

We are helping people write better emails – Write less, say more.

The problem: There is something lacking in the current communication between employees and employers. Emails are not getting read and are not getting actioned.
The solution: We are improving written communication through gamification. We want people to constantly improve the way they communicate. With a scoring system, people can see how well their email is written. The better the content, the higher the score.
The pitch: Today’s email got 100 points. Tomorrows 110. Can you beat Jen in accounting? We think so.
Our team looks like: Developers, Designers, Business Analysts and Marketers.

“Personal messaging is now incredibly short and to the point. Email hasn’t quite kept up with that and we are bringing it into the 24th century.” Chief Wafflr

Like this idea? You can contact Aaron:

International Curiosity

stepping stones(formerly Intentional Curiosity)

A social platform for setting intentional goals in a supportive community.

The problem: Taking a holistic view of your life is tricky and tools to help align your short term actions with long term vision are difficult to access and be held accountable on.
The solution: The goal is to get people living their life with more intent.  We have created a holistic platform to keep track of your intentional goals. You are accountable to a supportive community, with recognition for achieving your goals.
The pitch: We want to improve peer support during those key transitional moments in life and we have taken a holistic view of a person’s life goals: finances, career, romance, spiritual, health, self-development, recreation, social, family.
Our team looks like: Developer, designer and Subject Expert.

“It’s hard to be holistic, especially when you have an MVP to produce.” Chief Stepper

Like this idea? You can contact Natalia:


Meowlist(formerly Meow)

We are Pinterest for purchasing.

The problem: People browse the internet and create wish-lists. However, all these wish-lists are hosted on different sites and people don’t necessarily remember the item that they want to buy.
The solution: Meow helps users remember the item that they want to buy via a collective wish-list with pricing information. At the same time, Meow, gives online vendors the access, through the app, to the customers who don’t buy at first sight.
Pitch: We want to help you have a collaborative purchasing ‘wish-list’ online, right meow.
Our team looks like: Marketer, Software tester, Project Manager and Developer.

“Keep on meowing until you get what you want.” Chairman Meow

Like this idea? You can contact – Kali:

Rookie (1)


rookie takes the risk out of hiring

The problem: The impact on a business from hiring the wrong graduate can be the difference between success and failure. Why? It’s risky, expensive, complex and time consuming.
The solution: We minimize the risk of a bad hire. We do this by matching the employer and the graduate. We verify the graduate’s skills. You do the employing.
The pitch: The value actually lies with proving that grads have the skills they say they do. It’s about creating a more valuable recruitment experience, that gets the right person at the end of the day.
Our team looks like: Developer, Designers, HR and Business Analysts.

“Stuff the CV.” The Boss

Like this idea? You can contact Lucas:

Kiwi Blume

Blume(formerly Pennies)

We make investing simple and accessible for everyday kiwis.

The problem: At the moment the stock market is this giant scary thing for everyday people and it’s discouraging them from investing in their future.
The solution: This platform is allowing people to make basic decisions with more purchasing power. Other companies require you to have $500 to invest, we require $5.
The pitch: Investment made easy!
Our team looks like: Designers, Legal Advisor, Developer, Financial Advisor, Entrepreneur and Business Analyst.

“Knowledge is power. Power to the people.” The People

Like this idea? You can contact Cameron:

Justice Fund

Justice Fund

Crowd funding for justice.

The problem: The problem is simple; people have an issue accessing justice. If someone feels really strongly about a legal case, all they can do at the moment (if they don’t have enough money!) is voice their opinion online, with peers or in protest.
The solution: We have created a crowd sourced platform for worthy legal causes. We want to put money to the people’s voice by making sure the public can contribute financially to a cause that they believe in. With our platform they have the assurance that the financial support is directly contributing to the legal battle.
The pitch: Our validation has confirmed; people have a problem accessing justice.
Our team looks like: Lawyers, Developers and Marketers.

“It’s amazing that people can feel so passionate about justice, but at the moment there is no collective and safe way they can act on it.” Justice League Organiser

Like this idea? You can contact Sam:

Take Me Out!

Open Circle(formerly Take Me Out)

Expanding your social circles.

The problem: You have a day off, you want to hang out with someone, but everyone is busy.
The solution: A hassle free place to find like-minded people. Our app intuitively connects you with people with shared interests. You can post something you want to do and create your own circle (you know, like getting a group together for a round of golf).
The pitch: 66% of our respondents said they would feel comfortable meeting someone new if they had shared interests. The focus is on friendships.
Our team looks like: Designers, Developers and Entrepreneurs.

“Most people think with all the apps out there that the space is covered, but you realise that there are opportunities and it hasn’t all been done before.” Head of the Round Table.

Like this idea? You can contact Naoya:

Histo Trax


Tracking your bits

The problem: Samples aren’t getting tracked when they are processed in laboratories. The current software and hardware tracking solutions in histology labs are vendor locked, complicated and they are expensive.
The solution: Software tracking systems that records every step the specimen goes through. The tracking system logs all steps in a central system. Advantage is that Histotrack is not vendor locked and is compatible with all hardware.
The pitch: What if we could apply this solution to third world histology labs where often there is no tracking system at all?
Our team looks like: Developers and a Scientist.

“Making sure that your liver is in the right place.” Chief Organ Tracker

Like this idea? You can contact Yuriy:

Customer Spot

SaleTrail (formerly GeoLead)

We use today’s data to find tomorrow’s customers.

The problem: It is currently expensive to indiscriminately advertise offline to your target audience.
The solution: A prediction tool that enables marketers and SMEs to find their next customer using existing customer data. Our solution will help to bring offline marketing techniques into the 21st century.
The pitch: If you have the addresses for all your customers, we can help you identify new addresses at which you’re most likely to find your next customers.
Our team looks like: Developers, Entrepreneurs and a Communications Expert.

“If you have a smart bunch of people, and you do a bit of research on a promising nugget, there is always an angle you can take. There is always an opportunity to add value.” Trail Runner

Like this idea? You can contact Kieran:

Go Grab (1)


Freezer ready meals to eat at your convenience.

The problem: People struggle with the time it takes to prepare food and the effort in creating something healthy and nutritious.
The solution: A weekly meal plan, plus fresh ingredients to your door. You only need to cook twice per week to create all your meals, which you can then freeze and eat at your convenience.
The pitch: We have found that people don’t necessarily want to eat the same meal over and over, our focus is about providing variety whilst doing the main cooking only twice per week.
Our team looks like: Legal Advisor, Financial Advisor and Business Analyst.

“Despite the huge presence of the food delivery services, people still aren’t satisfied with current solutions.” Head of Product Testing

Like this idea? You can contact Tom:


uPlanit (formerly PlanetTravel)

Crowd sourcing travel plans.

The problem: Organising and visualising travel plans is hard, it’s stressful and it’s time consuming. Often you have never seen a place before you visit and people struggle to trust the current planning and booking sites.
The solution: We have identified that the thing people found most exciting about their travel planning process was being able to see where they are going.  We enable your friends to share tips about your holiday destinations and help add to your itinerary. People also love giving travel advice. Value from both perspectives.
The pitch: uPlanit helps you create a stress free itinerary from the people you know the best. So go on… uPlanit.
Our team looks like: Developers, Entrepreneurs, Business Analysts, Marketers, Project Manager and Designers.

“People can now humbly brag about their travel experiences, which in turn will help their mates with their future travel bragging.” Bragging Lead

Like this idea? You can contact Wai:



A social change movement that helps local kiwis host shared meals with newcomers to New Zealand

The problem: Refugees coming to NZ find it hard to connect with the local kiwi community.
The solution: Hosting shared meals in homes.
The pitch: We can’t solve geopolitical problems overnight, but we can lay a table.
Our team looks like: Designers, Developers, Business Analysts, Narrative Designer and Entrepreneur.

“This is a simple and easy idea, that I’m surprised hasn’t happened yet.” Local Host

Like this idea? You can contact Amelia:

Mo'Stash (1)


An app for organising your sewing pattern stash

The problem: Have you ever been in a fabric store and you don’t know what and how much fabric to buy?
The solution: We have created a database of sewing patterns, where users can set up their own profile to get a personalised shopping list for making garments. The app prompts you, if you need additional items (for example, zips). It is also a great way to discover cool new sewing patterns.
The pitch: We have found that whilst our target audience is currently beginners, there is also room for providing a service for more experienced garment makers.
Our team looks like: Designer, Communications, Developer, Business Analyst and Branding.

“This process has emphasised the strength of the online sewing community.” Sewing Master

Like this idea? You can contact Rosie:


SWAKL Warmup Recap: Questions

Following our Lean Canvas conversation at the SWAKL Warm up, we turned to Q&R*s from some SW organisers.

*Q&Rs are Questions and Responses – we don’t always have an answer but we always respond. 

Here’s a recap of the questions and responses from tonight:

What resources can I bring?
You can’t bring other humans – however you can outsource within your community

Bring whatever you need to do your work, but keep in mind possible power and bandwidth limitations if you are bringing multiple devices

Can I use resources for my pitch?
You can but you only have 60 seconds so don’t use slides or resources that slow it down

You can bring an idea you’ve been thinking about, but not one that you’ve worked on before e.g. if you have incorporated the company, created a brand, written code etc it is too late stage for startup weekend 

What is the judging criteria?
You are judged in three parts: business model, validation and execution – design and build

Is the idea protected?
Working with startups people are often scared to share their idea in case it’s stolen. It’s probably not worth stealing on Friday night – your idea becomes good by engaging customers and working on it. However if you do really feel you want to protect the IP bring something similar or work on a different idea.

Execution is what we’re looking for. “You don’t have to pay rent on the castle in your head. But when you start building things you have to figure a lot out”

Venue security, times and equipment
Venue closes at 1am and opens at 8am. You don’t have to stop working then but you have to be out (and we do recommend sleeping!)

You are responsible for your own valuables.

You will be provided a laminate lean canvas, post its, kan ban  boards. Bring along your own devices, whiteboards, pens and water bottles.

What sort of help do the mentors give?
Mentors have a range of backgrounds including lawyers and accountants for specific advice. All mentors have been through a startup, lean canvas or startup weekend so know what questions to ask you to challenge your ideas and guide you. Mentors have different points of view based on their experience.

Remember – Mentors aren’t advisors. It’s not about getting your questions answered and you may get conflicting ideas – it is up to you to pick through all of that to make decisions

How do teams form?
Organically. It is up to you to hustle and find/build a team – sell your idea, sell your skills, find the right talent.

 Team size 4 – 8

If you have any questions or comments about the event please let us know! Email or tweet @AKLSW

SWAKL Warmup Recap: The Lean Canvas

We had a wonderful turnout to the #SWAKL warm up tonight – approximately 70 people showed up to meet their fellow participants, get to know mentors and the facilitator and find out what to expect from Startup Weekend.

One of the key topics covered was the Lean Canvas – the business model tool used in Startup Weekend. The following is a quick snippet of the Lean canvas and how to use it…

There are three steps to creating the business model:
1. Document your business idea – quick brain dump into all 9 boxes
2. Identify the riskiest parts of your model
3. Systematically test your model

The Lean Canvas is just step one – it allows you to rapidly move on to steps two and three.


How to fill out?
The lean canvas is numbered to give you an insight into the logical method of filling it out. But this is just a suggestion. Why not try doing things in groups such as 1 (Problem) and 2 (Customer segments) – i.e “This is the problem which affects these people“.

Step 2 – Identify the riskiest parts

Don’t mix uncertainty and risk:
Uncertainty: that more than one possibility exists
Risk: A state of uncertainty where some of the possibilities involve a loss, catastrophe, or other undesirable outcome
– Douglas Hubbard

There are three risk areas:
• Product risk – are we building the right thing?
• Customer risk – how accessible is our path to customers?
• Market risk – are we building a viable business?

Remember Step 3 – this isn’t an exercise you do once and set aside – you should be systematically testing your model and iterating on it throughout the weekend.

For more information on the Lean Canvas from Ash Maurya, creator of the Lean Canvas and author of Running Lean, check out this post: Why Lean Canvas vs Business Model Canvas?

CPP’s Top Tips for Developers at Startup Weekend

CPP’s Top Tips for Developers at Startup Weekend

Developers and programmers are always in high demand at Startup Weekend. Varying backgrounds and skill levels come together to contribute. Whether you’re a front-end or backend developer, or a software programmer, you’ll find teams and ideas that need your skills and knowledge.

Here are eight top tips from Computer Power Plus for making the most out of the weekend:

1. Get it done.
To build a business in a weekend you need to move fast. Rapid prototyping is key to efficient product development. Keep your code clean and follow good processes. But remember the product for what it is, a prototype at this stage, and code accordingly.

You may not leave Startup Weekend having written the most beautifully crafted piece of code this world has ever seen. But (all going to plan) you will have built something that works, in just 54 hours.

2. Try out something new
Have you always wanted to have a go at Node.js? Canvas? Ruby? All bets are off at Startup Weekend. As the developer in the team this is your opportunity to have a play and find a new (hopefully fun) way of doing things that you might not get to do from Monday to Friday. 

3. Whatever you need to do your job – bring it and do it.
If you prefer to work on two screens – take in two screens. If you have a particular attachment to your mouse – bring it in. If Red Bull fuels your development, or you have a favourite playlist, make sure you have everything you need to work productively.

4. Talk to your teammates.
Just as you are there to learn, the people in your team are too. Share your practices and keep your teammates in the loop. Communication is the golden rule for any success. That doesn’t mean you should run a lesson on JavaScript in the middle of Saturday evening pitch practice, but show the team what you’re building and why. Get your designer to sit with you and run through the implementation of their design. There are no silos in a Startup Weekend team. 

5. Back your idea.
You have a deep understanding of technology and what is required to build something, therefore you can approach an idea with a clear vision and understanding.

Don’t hesitate to pitch your idea because you might not know how to validate it, or finance it. You know how to build it and what is achievable over the weekend and that is extremely valuable.

6. Leverage the people around you.
Chances are there may be more than one developer on your team and there will definitely be some amazing programmers in the room. Although Startup Weekend is a competition – competition isn’t the spirit of Startup Weekend. It’s about learning and transforming and creating. If you’re stuck on something go ask for help. Talk to other techies at lunch time, find a mentor, phone a friend – the ability to ask for help is a huge skill. And with all of the talent in the room for one weekend – it would be a shame not to absorb and soak some of it up.

7. Give it all you’ve got.
You only have 54 hours at this event with this team. When the weekend is over it is entirely your choice whether you keep working on the project. And it is perfectly ok to say ‘cool, thanks for the experience guys’ and leave it at Sunday night. This means that you have one weekend to pour your heart into an idea and to achieve something you’ve never done before with no pressure as to what happens on Monday. This is an awesome and unique opportunity because you can work incredibly hard, finish exhausted, and wake up on Monday back in your day-to-day life – leaving as little or as much of the weekend behind you as you want.

8. Break out of the mould
Just because your name tag says developer doesn’t mean you have to be developing 24/7 for 54 hours. If you want to have a go at market validation, do it. Contribute to all team discussions and have a say. For many devs in the workforce, the process is something like:

The business, finance and marketing teams work out what is needed; they brief the design team who create a fully fledged design and spec it out; THEN and only then does the developer get his/her first glimpse of the project.

At Startup Weekend you are in it from the start. You get to have a say on everything – from who your customer is, to what the unique value proposition is, to the UI design. Make the most of this experience. In doing this you will get a more holistic understanding of business and the different people and components that make it up.

Solving a problem in limited time is the most fun and terrifying way to learn and grow. Aim to take at least one thing from your experience over the weekend back into your daily work and life and you will inevitably find the weekend transformative. 

CPP_Logo2014_CMYKComputer Power Plus is a specialist IT training institute with campuses in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. 

We provide a range of popular IT courses, from Certificate to Advanced Diploma level covering IT Support, Software Development, Systems Technology and Network Engineering. Students study at their own pace in our unique self-directed learning environment and are provided with dedicated job placement assistance upon graduation.

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