Last night (Sunday 30th April) marked the 6th Innes48 Business Startup Competition. The largest of its kind in New Zealand, Innes48 saw 15 teams compete for the chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of high profile judges.

The stellar line up of judges included Linda Jenkinson, Chip Dawson, Melissa Clark-Reynolds, Neville Gibson and Russell Alexander.

These judges chose the the top six teams to pitch their newly formed ventures at the Closing Ceremony, attended by a packed room of VIP’s

Most Viable Business winning team, The Abnormals, devised the “AccuPoint” software for use in Acupuncture clinics. Using a high resolution camera and image object recognition, the AccuPoint software accurately determines the points where the accupuncturist inserts the needle. The software can also quickly review previous treatments when the patient returns. This data can be used from year three to provide treatment autosuggestions. The team consisted of trio Emma Liu, Rob Scovell and 14 year old Hillcrest High student Rowan Scovell-Lightfoot.

Most Viable Business winning team The Abnormals with AccuPoint

Emma Liu, Rob Scovell, Rowan Scovell-Lightfoot & Wintec CFO Paul Holloway

Best Pitch winning team Apex, pitched a concept for an online retail store. Their team captain explained “We are not inventing a new technology, we are simply applying an existing technology in a new and inventive way.”

Team Apex with MC Robett Hollis

Dynamic trio ‘Progressa’ showcased their idea ‘Inner Circle’,  a personal relationship management platform that harnesses BOT technology to prompt tailored, “active” conversation starters with your pre-selected significant others that allows for on going engagement and relationship nurturing.

Team Buzzword pitched their AI system ‘Eddy’. Eddy is an in-vehicle monitoring device that monitors driver behavior. Poor driving is a costly problem for fleet and trucking companies. Existing vehicle monitoring systems are unable to comprehensively track driver behavior. Eddy leverages advanced AI algorithms and imaging sensors to provide real-time analysis of driver behavior in ways that current systems cannot. Accurately tracking driver behavior protects vehicles, lowers insurance premiums and ensures company reputation.

Team Misfits tackled the problem we are facing globally in which people’s jobs are being replaced by robots. They pitched a service called ReInventMe, a solution that would enable clients to transition from redundant jobs to jobs that will become more and more necessary.

The Famous Five proposed ‘Limb’, an accessory designed to protect women walking alone. The accessory would feature several applications to ensure the wearers safety. Women’s safety is a concern almost anywhere in the world, and the Famous Five capitalized on this need.

After the judges deliberated, Linda took to the stage to give all the teams some crucial feedback. Linda, a New Zealand expat who has spent more than 20 years in America, gave some interesting insights on financing startups.

“The amount of money needed to develop a business is always drastically underestimated. Typically in Silicon Valley, we say you need to times your budget by 2. Here in New Zealand, I’d say times it by 10.”

She then spoke about what is needed for a successful business, saying, “I see a lot of people spending too much time thinking about the product and not about the business”.

She followed on from this point with the crowd favourite quote “There’s three things that make a good business: a good team, a good team, and a good team.”

The teams enjoyed a weekend full of highs and lows, high quality mentors and short sharp thirty minute workshops covering the topics of ideation, market validation, business models, finance and pitching.

Another major thread during the weekend was MC and weekend hype facilitator Robett Hollis, New Zealand’s third most influential LinkedIn user and self-made lifestyle entrepreneur.  Robett has previously attended as a speaker and then head judge in 2016. Robett brought a fiery enthusiasm and dedication that was invaluable to everyone involved.

On the drive home to Auckland in the early hours of Monday morning, Robett summarised Innes48 as a great way to try things out, and see if startups is something you really want to do.

“There are a huge variety of things to do, but the reality is, you either have entrepreneurial tendencies, or you have entrepreneurial tendons, where it’s just literally a part of you.”

Teams were competing to prepare interesting business models adhering to the following theme:

Future Trends

  1. Artificial Intelligence  
  2. Voice Recognition  
  3. Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality  
  4. Machine Vision  
  5. Machine Learning  
  6. Messaging & Communications  
  7. Robots  
  8. Personalised Healthcare  
  9. Autonomous Vehicles / Self Drive  
  10. Synthetic Food  
  11. Cross Border Startups  
  12. Travel Tech  
  13. Internet of Things (IoT)  
  14. Millennials  
  15. Future of Learning (Delivery of Education)

You can find a link to the following activities over the three day competition: