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Business startup competition finds ‘Black Gold'

Media release
06 May 2014

New Zealand’s largest business startup competition finds ‘Black Gold’

Winners struck ‘Black Gold’ at the finale of New Zealand’s largest business startup competition over the weekend, Innes48.

The stakes were high over the weekend as fourteen teams battled it out to come up with business ideas to disrupt the status quo and incorporate the competition’s secret theme of ‘stepchange’.

Te Ranga Ngaku took out the prize for the Most Viable Business with their innovative business model ‘Black Gold’ which aims to revolutionise international rugby recruitment through connecting rugby players with international second-tier rugby clubs.

“The mentors were worth the experience in itself - access to those people and their knowledge raised the event to a world class event in my mind and I was both humbled and grateful that they took the time to come along to help us,” says Te Ranga Ngamku Team Captain Dara Dimitrov.

Te Ranga Ngaku received $5,000 cash and over $10,000 of prizes from Kapja, Joe’s Garage, NetValue, HMC Communication, Waikato Chamber of Commerce, Idealog, Institute of Directors and iHeart Radio.

Their pitch concluded with the line “one day you’ll see Black Gold, it would be good to get some of your gold in the meantime” – grabbing the attention of the 20+ investors in the room.

This year, at the judges’ discretion, the Best Use of Technology was not awarded. Instead, the business idea with the lowest level of technology was selected to win.

This prize was awarded to Next Level for their Vodka and Aloe Water blend product, Ease, that appeals to an increasingly wellbeing and brand-focussed consumer, in a sugar-rich and carbonated market.

The award for Best Team, recommended to judges by the 35 mentors, went to Invigorate for their coachability and on boarding of mentor advice throughout the competition. Their product was customisable kit-set gardens, ready-made and delivered to the doorstep of consumers.

Other notable business models created over the weekend included oneBill – a free online dashboard that collates all your personal bills into one simple location; Manfood, a ‘Jenny Craig-type’ solution for men with pre-packaged, hearty meals designed to make it easy for men to lose and then manage weight; and Transporters, an online platform where customers can find the most ideal company/person to deliver their goods without wasting time.

Teams worked around the clock, taking breaks only for food, a spot of sleep and, in some cases, a quick round of duck shooting.

At the conclusion of the 48 hours, the high calibre Judges had three hours to read through 14 business models and to make a call as to which teams would pitch that night. The action-packed weekend, held at the fantastic Atrium, Wintec, culminated in a dramatic finale where only seven teams were chosen to pitch in front of an audience of over 250 people for the record prize pool and investment.

Judges looked not only at the viability of the businesses and business models, but the coachability of the teams, the ability of each team to launch their business, the incorporation of the secret theme and the strength of their pitch to investors at the conclusion of the weekend.

Lead judge, Graham Gaylard, said that this was the best Innes48 yet and “the calibre of ideas were much higher this year and we’re already looking forward to 2015 where we have big ideas for growth. It’s great to have this event to facilitate the growth of the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Waikato.”

The judging panel this year was comprised of Graham Gaylard, CEO of NetValue; Bill Murphy, Executive Director of Enterprise Angels; Marcel Van Den Assum, Angel investor, and Chair of Angel Association New Zealand; and Gabriel Engel, Director of MEA Mobile.

Sponsors of the event also recognised the importance of Innes48 in developing the local and national entrepreneurial economy, with Richard Odgers of ASB suggesting that ASB’s acronym should be changed to ‘Accelerating Startup Businesses’ for the night.

The weekend couldn’t have taken place without the support and assistance of 35 mentors with a collective of 700 years of business experience between them.

Participants also had the insight and advice of inspirational speakers, Dion Nash (of cricketing fame and men’s skincare label Triumph & Disaster); Laura Maxwell-Hansen (Commercial Director of the Radio Network); Dave Meaney (Founder of 3.Zero Finance); and Steve Jurkovich (Executive General Manager of Corporate Commercial and Rural at ASB) that kicked off the weekend at the official opening ceremony. The clock then began for the official 48 hours and with the help of a workshop from Divergent, teams scrambled for the next life-changing business idea.

Organisers raised $50,000 cash and over $40,000 worth of prizes making this the biggest year yet.

Even though the 48 hours are over, Innes48 continues, with all of the participants eligible to enter to pitch for a post-competition accelerator programme with access to over $15,000 in a SEED Fund to support the post competition journey of the teams. Investors are also already knocking on the door to back development of some ideas.

Organisers are planning for an even bigger and better event next year!


© Scoop Media

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