NZ tech startup Makelight Interactive signs with UK accelerator

Makelight Interactive - Joanna Alpe and Nick RedwoodAuckland startup Makelight Interactive is the only project from outside Europe to make the Wayra UK accelerator programme, scoring a €50,000 cash injection and six months use of the Wayra Academy in London's tech district, including office space, technology and mentors.

In return, Telefónica (Wayra is part of the company's digital unit) has received a 10 percent stake in Makelight and first right of refusal on the product in December.

Makelight Interactive was one of 16 projects selected for Wayra from 1031 applications. While they aren't saying much about the technology just yet for commercial reasons, this is what the pitch to Wayra said:

"Turn people, via their mobile phones, into pixels creating a giant screen at a live event. Makelight is an interactive mobile engagement platform for use at large scale live events consisting of a mobile app and a custom wifi router kit to facilitate the engagement."

Makelight Interactive's Joanna Alpe (see previous Idealog feature on Alpe and We Love Inc) says: "We seek to revolutionise the way live events involve and connect to the audience, all over the world."

And being involved with Wayra is a huge boost.

"We see Wayra as a bootcamp for great ideas. An introduction to global clients. A way to be challenged and nurtured, making us commercially robust and market ready," she said.

"While we're doing work in London to develop the project, New Zealand is home and we're keen to show that Kiwi creative technology is more than just the films we're so famous for."

Alpe is head of creative and business development, Nick Redwood is the technical brains and Sarah Van'T Hof handles events and operations and Paul Van'T Hof takes care of events and business development.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson launched the Wayra Academy, but closer to home Auckland mayor Len Brown praised the innovation and hard work of the four Aucklanders who make up Makelight Interactive.

“Being selected for the Wayra Academy is a big step for the development of the Makelight App.  The new Auckland is all about innovation and it’s great to see New Zealand creativity being recognised as up there with the best in the world.”

Simon Devonshire, director of Wayra in Europe, said Wayra hopes to find the Facebooks and Zyngas of the future.

"We are thrilled to have the Kiwis join the London Wayra Academy. They are one of only sixteen teams selected from over 1,000 applications. We can't wait to see Makelight come to life, and hope to be the first to test it light-up audiences in O2's famous concert arenas across Europe."

Wayra UK launched in March this year, and in Spain and Latin America in 2011.

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