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Vodafone xone unveils its chosen crop of entrepreneurs for 2018

The range of start-ups are technology-based businesses which are cited as being companies which will disrupt our daily lives, and our future industries.

Head of xone and innovation, Lauren Merritt, says, “We are thrilled to work with these nine founders, some of whom have built and sold successful companies, while others are first- time founders. They are working in a diverse range of industries with products spanning wearable health tech and AI-powered chatbots to beer and music.”

Companies selected are Urigo, an early stage wearable health technology that tracks bladder flow, Ambit, an enterprise grade chatbot creation platform and Melodics, software that makes practicing music fun, alongside other fledgling technology based businesses.

Merritt says, “Melodics is a product that we know people will love. Turns out, 90 percent of people who try to learn an instrument fail and Melodics want to decrease that percentage by putting a music master on your desktop and keep you engaged through gamification.

“We are excited to help these companies get their products to market through funding, hands-on expert support and technology development through our labs and networks. Ultimately, the aim is to enable their visions to solve the real problems New Zealand Enterprises, small businesses and individuals face.”

Among the winners is founder of Trickle, Adrian Wills, who graciously got in an elevator and spoke about his tap management and pour tracking software that analyses beer flow and helps bar management in Idealog and Flick Electric’s Elevator Pitch series last month.

The software reduces common bar blunders by managing every aspect of on-tap beer’s lifecycles from the moment it arrives in a keg, to the moment when it’s placed in front of a patron and slurped down.

“I’m really stoked to be one of the nine selected. It’s the first of this type of programme I’ve applied for, so it was awesome just to be chosen to pitch, let alone make it in,” Wills says. 

 “The cash funding will obviously be useful in helping me grow the business, but the resources that Vodafone are making available to us will be a huge help to take Trickle to where I’m aiming for. There’s a really interesting cross-section of teams that have been chosen too, so there’s already plenty of discussion about who might be able to work together and help each other out.”

The  Vodafone xone programme runs from the Christchurch Innovation lab and the companies will travel from all around New Zealand, including Wanaka, Christchurch, Hamilton and Auckland to participate.

Consumer director Matt Williams claims Vodafone xone is now one of the most successful start-up accelerator programmes in the country.

“For us, this is all about empowering the next generation of technology businesses in New Zealand, and the numbers show we’re achieving that. Our 2016 and 2017 start-up companies have achieved amazing things, including roughly $17 million in new investment, over 70 FTE jobs created, around $13 million in revenue and six partnerships and trials with Vodafone.”

“There are some fantastic stories of individual success for our xone companies, including IoTStream, who entered xone in 2016 pre-revenue and now have a pipeline of 10’s of millions. Vodafone works closely with IoTStream as we deliver IoT solutions for our Customers.”

Companies who win a place in xone 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.

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