Vodafone is hoping to help usher in the next leap forward in AI (artificial intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things), with applications open for its xone accelerator until April 15.
Vodafone xone is a start-up accelerator and innovation lab through which Vodafone partners with early and late stage start-ups, who have ground-breaking technology ideas. Eight start-ups will receive a total package valued at more than $150,000, including seed-funding, and access to world class technology and mentoring as part of a six-month programme.
Head of Xone and innovation manager Lauren Merritt says this year the emphasis is on working with New Zealand start-ups with clever ideas in the AI, IoT and data analytics sectors. “We are keen to see applications from across the country, and eager to also see ideas that can be harnessed to drive social change, as Vodafone is all about connecting for good. We will be getting hands-on with the companies selected, ensuring their business mentors help take their ideas to the next level.
“We want ideas that will make a massive impact on New Zealand, and we will help those start-ups go global, by leveraging our international networks.”
But the proof of whether entering an accelerator programme (or doing a lot of things that require a significant time investment) is usually in the pudding, yes? There’s certainly a fair bit of that when it comes to the xone.
Check out this podcast with Adriana Christie of The Pallet Kingdom on waste as revenue, businesses baking in social good and missing digits, part of our Vodafone xone Innovators Series:
Vodafone consumer director Matt Williams says last year’s xone participants have set the bar pretty high. “We launched Vodafone xone with an ambition to find the best mobile and digital technologies in New Zealand, and take them to the world through Vodafone’s international network,” he says. “Since xone’s inception the start-ups have generated more than $11.5 million in new revenue, attracted more than $9.6 million in capital funding, and created 46 new jobs, all while beginning operations in countries around the world. Individually they’ve created some amazing new technologies.”
One of those companies is Parkable, an app that aims to change the way people park, through a system of shareable parking utilising unused space from driveways to company carparks. Parkable CEO Toby Littin says being part of Vodafone xone was invaluable. “Even the application process helped us get our pitch right, and then once we were in the programme it was absolute gold. We learnt new skills, got new contacts, development partnerships from an R and D perspective, it was all incredible in enabling a huge amount of commercial opportunity to develop.
“One of the more intangible things is the peer to peer counselling sessions, being able to rub shoulders with other great businesses sharing the same pains and opportunities that we do. We said when we launched Parkable we wanted to operate in 35 countries, and during our time at Vodafone we have had significant opportunities open up.”
Check out this podcast with Banqer's Kendall Flutey on disruption, diversity and cash money, part of our Vodafone xone Innovators Series:
Xone partners include Callaghan Innovation, Smudge, Ciena, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, Juniper Networks, and Nokia.
Vodafone xone applications are open until April 15. More info is available at https://vodafonexone.nz.
Listen to this podcast with Lewis Road Creamery's Peter Cullinane on the pursuit of premium, unintended consequences and using powerful partners, part of our Vodafone xone Innovators Series:
Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription, an Idealog t-shirt and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).