Alumni Spotlight: SuchCrowd is turning event planning on its head.

For the first alumni spotlight, we sit down and chat with Abbe Hyde and Jacob Manning. Abbe and Jake have gone from participating to being part of the organising team, and their startup SuchCrowd is powering our ticket pre-sales for 2016!


How did you first hear about Startup Weekend?

I had attended the first startup weekend in Dunedin back in 2013 … so I guess I was on the mailing list. I love startup weekends and was super keen to go again,

What were you expecting when you stepped into the event on Friday?

I actually wasn’t sure if I was going to participate until I decided about half an hour before. At the time I was desperately trying to finish my Masters and really wanted to use the weekend to make some progress … but the fun of startup weekend drew me in once again,

Did you end up pitching?

I did, I thought of a problem I wanted to solve on the way to the weekend. It was a prominent problem that I had found from years of marking assignments.

What idea did you work on over the weekend?

The idea I pitched was one that I managed to form a team around so I got to work on that. It was marking software to make paperfree marking much faster, easier and more attractive to tutors.

What was the highlight of the weekend?

I snagged 3 developers for my team! I didn’t know we had so many in Dunedin 😉

And what was the hardest point?

The hardest, yet most rewarding part, was learning how to communicate with the 3 devs I had luckily scored. I learned so much but I was probably the worst ever project manager for them to try and build something … languages, frameworks, features … my head was spinning.

So what are you working on now 1 year on?

One of the developers that was in my team, Tin Htoo Aung, was willing to give me a second chance and after the startup weekend 3 of us (including Jacob Manning who was also on my startup weekend team) began working on a different project. Tin Htoo Aung was developing a ticketing system and we wanted to find a novel use for it,

With myself leading validation (talking to customers and learning about the market)  and Jacob organising the business model (how do we make money) we hit upon a problem we thought we could solve in the event planning industry.

So now we are co-founders of SuchCrowd which is a novel crowd engagement tool that allows people organising events, shows, gigs and workshops to test their ideas with the crowd and see if they can sell enough tickets to go ahead and do it.

How has the business progressed since starting?

We applied for Lightning Lab, a business accelerator in Christchurch and were one of the ten teams accepted. This gave us funding and intense mentorship for 3 months. We launched our online platform ( in September and have run over 25 events through it now, including one in the USA. We’ve learnt a lot from our early customers which are enabling us to improve our offering and onboard more customers.

What’s next for SuchCrowd?

We’ve expanded to a team of 5 and are currently closing a round of funding. We are super excited to enter high growth mode and focus on expansion to new regions and countries.

Any words for people still on the fence about Startup Weekend?

Do it.

And any advice for first time participants?

Use it as a networking opportunity, find out as much as possible about everyone in the room, that way even if your startup weekend idea doesn’t fly long term you may have met your ideal co-founders for the next venture.

Team elevator pitches at #swdud

The teams have been hard at work this weekend! In just a few hours they’ve come up with their ideas, validated them against the market, designed and executed them, and created business models.

From 5PM – 7PM on Sunday the teams will present their ideas to a panel of judges on the second floor of the University of Otago Commerce Building.

We’d like to invite anyone from the public to join us for the pitches in room 203 from 5PM – 7PM, and share a beer (or three) with us after the event until 9PM. Here are the 7 startups and what their ideas are.


VOR using data captured from optical and GPS technology to prevent crashes on New Zealand and international roads. They are initially targeting the rental car market.”


Tracks is like Trip Advisor for walking tracks. It’s a mobile app that solves the problem of lack of access to quality digital maps and resources around local walking tracks.


Treeage is a company that makes easy, fast, paper-free document grading software. What makes it special is the way it handles mass documents.

This team have found a way of revolutionising bulk document sorting on one hand and computer marking on the other.


“We creating a community space that’s non-alcohol focussed where people can have fun and socialise.”

Night Space created and trialled the first event last night. Between 1AM -9AM, about 75 people passed through the venue.


Property Match is turning the property market on its head. They’ve got a web based platform that’s going to more efficiently connect prospective tenants with property owners by profile matching. Both parties make a profile and seek each other out.


Mechanic in a box. It’s an early diagnostic system for vehicles providing peace of mind and reducing damage to a valuable asset. The tools provides the mechanic access to diagnostic information in real time. The device sends that information from each vehicle to a cloud platform which is interfaced by each dealer network.


Planit Green is an environmental rating agency for any company wanting to know more about going green. They offer a simple, affordable online tool for the business owner to assess how green their business is and where to improve.

Merry Christmas Dunedin

xmas banner 1The #SWDUD team wishes all members of the Dunedin business/tech/startup communities a Merry Christmas and a fantastic start to 2015! The team will be working hard over the break to make sure we hit the ground running when everyones back in the new year.

In the meantime, here are a couple of reads to get you through the holidays.

10 Startups to watch in 2015:

5 Tech Startups to Watch:

Gigatown Dunedin Plan (if your haven’t already, you should)