Over the first weekend of May, Startup Weekend went remote. For the first time ever, New Zealand experienced a nation-wide Startup Weekend event. Laura Kerrison explains.

Startup Weekend Aotearoa COVID-19’, with 18 startup ideas worked on for the good of our whānau, our wellbeing and Aotearoa as our country… all in the span of 54 hours.

Startup Weekend is about much more than the businesses that get pitched on Sunday night. It is about collaboration, connection, and community for all those involved. Startup Weekend is about people, who they are, where they are from, and the journey they take following their Startup Weekend experience.

Unlike the Startup Weekend we know and love, this event was run completely online. Teams embraced the digital tools of Slack, Zoom and Jitsi to communicate, collaborate, iterate, and ultimately pitch what they had accomplished to a panel of judges on Sunday night for a chance at an impressive prize package to help them springboard their idea even further.

Final pitches took place over a Zoom call lasting just over two hours. Teams had three minutes to pitch their business idea, show what had been executed and validated, and answer questions fired at them from the judges at rapid speed – all in all, it was incredible.

Participants came from not knowing one another to forming a team and working closely together to support Aotearoa in this time of need.

The progress and fine-tuning that each team had made from their final pitch practice at 1 pm Sunday, left the judges with an incredibly difficult decision to make.

Of 18 incredible teams, the placings were:

Tech DisOut | First Place

A digital innovation that employs and re-skills people due to job loss caused by COVID-19.

Tōku Hoa | Second Place Equal

During COVID-19 rest homes have lost access to many of their usual avenues to provide activities for their residents, our solution is a tech platform which allows them to connect virtually with real-life, real-time users (through TV, Tablet or Phone) to access a variety of activities.

Good Bugger | Second Place Equal

New Zealand’s struggling tourism industry needs to reduce cost and encourage domestic travel. We have a no commission web platform that allows users to accept or forgo a discount.

Q-Up | Honourable Mention

A Smart Queue and Capacity Management App, for large congregations of people outside popular bars.

If you would like to watch all 18 live pitches, and hear more about our top contenders, watch this live stream video here: https://www.facebook.com/StartupWeekendWellington/videos/883112022164740/

For those that may have missed it, are curious about it, or purely would like to reminisce over the event that little bit more, have a read of the full weekend recap here: Startup Weekend Aotearoa Covid-19 Online Edition

A huge thank you goes out to all of those involved in Startup Weekend Aotearoa COVID-19.

Startup Weekend Aotearoa COVID-19 Organising Crew:
Pauli Sosa, Laura Kerrison, MJ Brodie, Georgia McConnon, Casey Davis-Bell, Travis Cornwall, Ryan Walker, Brandon Kwong, and Angus Pauley, Geoff Brash.

MJ Brodie and Travis Cornwall.

Rebecca Twemlow, Katherine Blaney, Nigel Bamford, Sacha MacDonald, Terence Hikawai, Colart Miles, Mahesh Muralidhar, Marissa Brindley, Pascale Hyboud-Peron, Purnesh Tripathi, Angus Pauley, Paul Spence, Vanesha Din, Dan Khan, Geoff Brash, Heidi Renata, George Phillips, Louise Holloway, Farah Fauzi, and Troy May.

Dr Siouxsie Wiles, Dave Moskovitz, and Marian Johnson.

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