Tauranga's inaugural StartUp Weekend launches seven new businesses

Tauranga's inaugural StartUp Weekend launches seven new businesses
And it's hardly surprising that the seven finalists all had a tech focus

Tauranga StartUp Weekend gave birth to seven new businesses out of 22 ideas pitched on the opening night in an environment chief organiser Sheldon Nesdale described as "like a high-tech space station".

The new businesses include an iPhone app that helps you find people similar to you in your location, a service for architects that creates real-life 3D scale models using 3D printing technology, and a service connecting financial managers with Gen Y.

The StartUp Weekend concept is now seen in more than 90 countries and has been held more than 600 times around the world. This was the eight weekend in New Zealand and a first for Tauranga.

The idea is that the entrepreneurs have 60 seconds to get their ideas across to a panel of judges, which included Idealog contributor and agony aunt Lance Wiggs and Soda Inc chief executive Candace Kinser.

The seven resulting teams had five minutes for their presentations and another five minutes for the judges' questions. During the weekend they had input from 10 experienced business mentors on their ideas.

The successful seven businesses are:

What Shall I Do Now, a mobile app that lets you choose how much time you have to spare, who you are with, and what you are prepared to pay. Push the magic button and you are told what to do now. Eg “Do 5 star jumps” or “Fly a kite” or “Take your dog surfing”,

Model It, a service for architects that creates real life 3D scale models using 3D printing technology from their CAD files

Message Tap, an iphone App that helps you find people similar to you in your location,

So Money, a service that connects financial managers with Generation Y who are normally intimidated by the financial profession. Individual financial managers grow their reputation on the So Money platform as their Gen Y clients rate their service and recommend them to others,

Just Down The Road, a website/app that pinpoints local fruit and vege growers in your area,

OpSwap, a website/app that enables you to swap your clothes with others,

StandBy, a mobile app that enables those who are heading out to sea an easy-to-use method of checking in as they depart with the coast guard and with loved ones, and informs them of their safe return,

StandBy7 won first prize. 

Nesdale said it was an amazing result.

"These seven businesses, these seven teams, none of this existed last week! This is exactly why I brought the StartUp Weekend concept to Tauranga after seeing it in Auckland last year. To change peoples lives. To leave Tauranga's dependence on fruit and logs behind, and to set Tauranga up as the next Silicon Valley.

"Tauranga StartUp Weekend has drawn out people with special skills and talents and ambition from the community, it has brought them together for a weekend and forced them to grow and learn and argue and compromise and look what they have created: New friendships, new skills, new companies.

"The feedback has been overwhelmingly encouraging and positive. Let's do it again in nine months!"

See all the photos from the weekend on Facebook.

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