Starting up new ideas in Kapiti

Startup Weekend is back for a second year in Kapiti. Ready to help guide new startup ideas to success is MJ Brodie, who led the winning team last year. When asked to describe her experience in three words, she quickly replies “nervous, excited, awesome”. MJ is a local from Paraparaumu, who had never participated in anything startup-related before. “I was so nervous, I almost didn’t go along. Several times I was so close to pulling out, but I am so glad I went”.

MJ pitched her idea to help homeless people, and her newly formed team called SeekShelter went on to win Kapiti’s first Startup Weekend on 2016. The idea attracted interest and support from Wellington City Council, and the team have been working with homeless shelters over the last year as they work on their startup. “It has been amazing, to think what has happened, just through taking a chance to share an idea with other people”.

This year, MJ is back helping with Startup Weekend, taking part in the organising crew, and will be mentoring teams over the weekend. “Startup Weekend is such a great experience – you learn a lot about what it takes to run a startup, but a lot more about yourself”. She credits Startup Weekend with giving her more confidence to try new things. Asked what she’d say to others about Startup Weekend, she says “It’s hard to know what to expect going in, but just try it. You will surprise yourself, and have an amazing time”.

The next Kapiti Startup Weekend is on 28-30 July 2017. Anyone is welcome to attend, and more information and tickets are available from

Start(up) with the why

We’ve been working really hard this year to get Kapiti Startup Weekend organised, and putting together all the ingredients to make it a fantastic weekend.

Kapiti is a fantastic place to live – the beaches, weather and the people…and a great new expressway – but it is also (unkindly) referred to as “God’s waiting room“. If you are in the 15-39 age group, you are a rarity. When we ask why, it seems to be because we don’t have enough of the range of businesses based here that mean that we can work here too. A lot of us who live in Kapiti commute to Wellington, Levin or Palmerston North to work.

In order to really thrive, we need a wide range of jobs that keep talented (15-39 year old) people here, as well as Kapiti being a great place to live for retirees. And a great place to start making this change, is by encouraging startups – right here in Kapiti. So that is our why.

But just being passionate about this hasn’t got us where we need to be…yet. We need YOU to throw us a lifeline, and support us by coming along to Kapiti Startup Weekend.

It’s hard to describe the atmosphere of a startup weekend. Even if you have been to a startup weekend, you can’t really describe it – because it is a different experience for everyone. Sure, you can describe the mechanics…

registration, dinner, mingling, ideas pitch, team forming, sleep! breakfast, getting out of the building and surveying people with a whole lot of questions, lunch, making stuff, figuring out costs and revenue, dinner, more hard work, less sleep! breakfast, figuring out your business model, market size, lunch, putting a slide deck together, final pitches, dinner and winners…

but that doesn’t describe the emotional rollercoaster you experience as you work through the weekend, nor the stretch outside your comfort zone, or the sheer excitement in making stuff happen, and really come to life.

Why you should attend is probably best captured in this infographic:

As for us, we are a keen bunch of locals, who are trying to build more than just startups. We want to support building a community of people who are interested in startups, and who accept that startups are an important part of our local ecosystem in Kapiti. We’ve already got some enthusiastic people having a go at incubating startup ideas through the Kapiti Digital Challenge (for under 24’s). And we are trying to get accelerator activity started here too. If we can succeed, then we can fundamentally change Kapiti from a playground economy, to an entrepreneurial economy.

So the question is – will you join us?

Kapiti Startup Weekend goes international!

What do Kapiti and Arizona have in common? On first glance, not much, but at the end of July, both would have held events facilitated by Global Startup Weekend Coach Shane Reiser. In what is a bit of a coup for Kapiti, the local group of organisers have managed to convince him to jump on a plane and head to New Zealand for Kapiti Startup Weekend.

Shane Reiser is the author of Startup Genome, was the former Chief Operating Officer of Startup Weekend (International) and runs a boutique consultancy Your Ideas are Terrible – specialising in encouraging more corporate innovation.

“This has been over a year in planning” said Rebecca Tayler, head of the Kapiti Startup and Innovate Network. “Shane has this awesome reputation, and lots of experience in the startup scene, and he’s bringing that to Kapiti”. She is excited by the potential for startup ideas in Kapiti, and what this can do to boost economic development in the region.

“We have some amazing talent here, and Kapiti has already achieved notable success in the technology field – with people like Andy and Diane Prow and Scott Houston in our community”, she says “but we need more startups trying new things, and giving it a go”.

Startup Weekend is an easy way to do just that, as it gives people a chance to road test their ideas over the course of a single weekend. “It’s hands-on learning” says Rebecca “and it is intense, but a lot of fun too”.  Rebecca is a veteran of several Startup Weekends, and has recently been chosen to represent New Zealand at the Asia-Pacific Startup Weekend Conference.

“We know that Kapiti is an amazing place to live and play – and we want to do our bit to make sure it is an amazing place to work too”, says Rebecca. “And bringing talent like Shane to town, shows that we can put Kapiti on the startup map“.

Grab your ticket to Kapiti Startup Weekend today!

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