Startup Weekend Auckland

    Friday, June 12 - 14, 2015

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
  7. Blog
Buy Tickets

Event Alerts and Updates

Get the latest on Techstars Startup Weekend, Auckland, and other local events through Techstars Startup Digest.

Oops! Double-check that email address.

Startup Weekend Auckland

Friday, June 12 - 14, 2015

Friday, June 12 - 14, 2015
Event starts at 5:30 pm

132 Halsey Street
Auckland, New Zealand 1010

Buy Tickets

Related Events

Setup for Success Before/After Startup Weekend


Friday June 12th

5:30 pm
Doors Open & Registration
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:30 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:30 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:00 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

10:00 pm
Formalise Teams & Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow (1am wrap-up).

Saturday June 13th

8:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

8:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

10:00 pm
First Pitch Practice
Teams go in for first pitch practice and get feedback

11:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow (1am wrap-up).

Sunday June 14th

8:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Second Pitch Practice
Teams go in for second pitch practice and get feedback

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Third Pitch Practice
Teams go in for final pitch practice and get feedback

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm
Judges Arrive

4:30 pm
Guests Arrive

5:00 pm
Pitch to Judges

7:00 pm

9:00 pm
Speakers & Spot Prizes
Judges deliberate, in the meantime we have special speakers and spot prizes

9:30 pm
Winners Announced!
Judges announce winners, celebrate and wrap up

Event Judges

Rick Shera
Partner at Lowndes Jordan

Rick has a Masters degree with first class honours in internet law from Auckland University. He heads up Lowndes Jordan's ( intellectual  property/information technology team, which acts for cloud service providers, telcos, ISPs, media companies, digital publishers and authors, webdesign houses, software developers and network providers/integrators, as well as providing IP and ICT advice to general business and corporate clients. If your start-up doesn’t fall within one of those categories, you’re probably in the wrong place so make the most of finding out from Rick about gnarly issues like IP protection, online legal issues, business structuring and commercialisation! 

Rod Snodgrass
CEO - Spark Ventures

As CEO of Spark Ventures, Rod Snodgrass is responsible for leading the charge for Spark in driving digital growth and transformation. This mandate includes sniffing out new digitally centred market, business and product opportunities in an industry characterised by rapid change, constant innovation, disruption and tough competition as well as building the key digital capabilities required to support this growth and innovation.   Spark Ventures mission is to deliver connected digital experiences that consumers love and deliver growth in the digital world adopting the new ways of doing things and disruptive mindsets and business models. Since its formation in 2013, it has backed Vigil, a biometric tech company that makes medical monitoring systems, and Putti, an app development start-up. It has also created and built out Spark’s public WiFi network, accelerated Skinny Mobile to become NZ’s most preferred mobile business, built and launched the Bigpipe broadband business, built and launched the Lightbox internet TV business and also built and launched the big data business Qrious and the smart living security service Morepork. Ventures has also recently launched the Spark Plugs electric vehicle changing prototype at a number of its phones boxes and is currently working on a number of other growth initiatives in Internet of Things space as well and the mobile advertising and commerce space.   As Spark’s former Chief Product Officer, and with a background in internet, broadband and mobility Rod knows the local technology industry intimately.   He also has a global strategic view of how the industry is developing having previously been on the Boards of Mobile World Capital Advisory Board based in Barcelona, the Telco Futures Forum, Southern Cross Cables, XtraMSN and Yahoo!Xtra in NZ and AAPT and 3 Mobile in Australia.  And as the former Spark Group Strategy Director and board member of business incubator The Icehouse, he has broad experience of bringing innovative products to market.

Lillian Grace
CEO and Founder of Figure.NZ

Lillian Grace is CEO and Founder of Figure.NZ, the first organisation globally to designate everyone as a user of data and to build the systems, software, language and trust required to deliver to this standard. Lillian is also on the recently established Data Futures Partnership Working Group, as well as on the board of the NZ Innovation Partnership and of Te Pūnaha Matatini, New Zealand’s Centre of Research Excellence developing methods and approaches for transforming complex data about NZ into knowledge, tools, and insight. Previously Lillian was at Academy Award-Winning Massive Software, at think tank The New Zealand Institute.

Coaches and Mentors

Rudi Bublitz
Angel Investing, Coaching, NGO Governance, SAP Consulting

European business graduate of the mid 80ies. Set up an SAP consulting practice in the UK and sold it with 400+ consultants in under 10 years before the Y2K and climax in 2000.

Now, putting his passion and experience into a mix of start-up coaching and angel investing, NGO governance work and freelance SAP consulting.

Sue de Bievre
CEO - Limited

Sue de Bievre is CEO of, a company dedicated to delivering a better way for business to get their accounts and tax work done. "We pick up from the end of the Xero file and prepare business accounts for small businesses, using custom built software and a client facing attitude."  The technology developed in this company has been supported by Callaghan Innovation and has been recognised as a finalist in the Excellence in Innovation category for the Auckland Business of the Year Awards. is one of NZ's fastest growing online accountants.

Sue has been involved in numerous start ups over the past 20 years in different sectors and brings a wealth of business and technical knowledge with her. Recently featured as "The High Tech Accountant" in Acuity, the Australian/New Zealand Chartered Accountant's magazine, she continues to push the boundaries with her team at

Sue is also extensively involved in regional economic development, holding key governance roles in the Central North Island and advocating nationally for the entrepreneurial community.

Tim Dove
Design Director at Cluster Creative

Tim has 12 years of branding and design experience under his belt, along with a few business startups. Back from working on the world biggest brands in London he has now setup and runs the Auckland office of Cluster Creative – a brand transformation agency. His passion for that eureka moment of a brand’s true essence is what drives him. He loves getting in-depth to truly understand a business, the market, strategise its positioning and then bringing the brand to life through all the forms of communication, online and off. And, knows this is a key component to any startup and it’s success.
Previously Tim setup and ran New Zealand’s first taxi advertising network, Taxi Impact, which produced some world-leading campaigns for Mercury Energy, 2 Degrees and Heineken amongst others.

Alan Froggatt
Leadership & Venture Development

Alan founded Genratec, an Integral Leadership Development and Generative Coaching company. Genratec has developed its own proprietary methodology, a platform chosen by over 2600 individuals, leaders, celebrities, entrepreneurs, business owners & others in over 7 countries to develop their capacity for professional performance. He has founded/co-founded several other business, one of which generating over a $1.2M profit for investors within the first year of business.

Lenz Gschwendtner
Co-founder iwantmyname

Lenz is a Startup Punk that has his roots in the first .com bubble back in the 90s and has been active in the scene ever since. 10 years ago he changed the Bavarian Alps for New Zealand and now lives in the Southern Alps and runs global companies from there. He has been part of the New Zealand Startup community since 2007 and currently works on new ways to work with businesses to thrive in a changing world.

Sam Kidd
Co Founder at LawVu

Sam Kidd is co-founder of NZ based software company, which enables companies to improve communication and reduce costs when dealing with their lawyers. He returned to New Zealand from Ireland where his passion for start-up’s began. Self-employed since 1999, Sam has been involved in a diverse range of businesses from retail and food through to technology. He was part of the team at for seven years. Sam is also an investor director in the amazing New Zealand based online accountancy
Sam is no stranger to Startup events having mentored at over ten events throughout New Zealand. He is also an active member of the Enterprise Angels network as an early stage investor.

Jennie Leng
Digital strategist, usability expert and business mentor

Jennie Leng is the founder of Raise Usability, a digital agency specialising in strategy and UX. Jennie's focus is on understanding the customer, and using that to finding the sweet spot between customer needs and business drivers to create an effortless experience.

Jennie has a background in corporates like Telecom and Flight Centre, but these days spends her time with small and medium sized businesses, including in her role as a mentor with Business Mentors New Zealand. 

AKLSW specialties: personas, strategic frameworks, testing.

Mahsa Marks
Leadership & Human Development Coach

Mahsa is an Associate with Genratec, an Integral Leadership Development and Generative Coaching company.
Her career spans all major business functions including governance, finance, operations and international marketing. And her ability to identify the unique strengths of individuals has lead to her building high performing teams across many business functions. 
Mahsa has been part of the New Zeland Startup Weekend family since the very first event held in May 2011, participating and mentoring at Startup Weekends around the country. She was a member of Garden Genie, the winner of Auckland Startup Weekend and the Global Startup Battle (2013).
Mahsa is an advocate for transforming lives and communities through entrepreneurship and education. She is passionate about unleashing human potential through experiential learning. Startup Weekends are just the place for that! 

Heath Milligan
Entrepreneur, Commercial adviser, Seed-stage investor

Heath is on a mission to commercialise kiwi technologies internationally to create jobs and wealth in New Zealand. The impact model Heath subscribes to says that employment and increasing household incomes has the biggest effect on a range of social issues (poverty, health, educational achievement), and he believes we need to be bringing income into the 'household' of Aotearoa by delivering value abroad. 

Having done Business Development, Sales and Marketing for startups in San Francisco, Europe, Auckland & Tokyo, Heath has lived and learnt from the good and bad of tech startup-land and brought home millions in bacon (gross margin $) for the teams he has worked with.

Heath is a strategic operator that brings clarity to value propositions, and bizdev drive to teams so that we can create the future -- translating ideas and strategies into reality quickly. 

Richard Scott-Will-Harknett
Agile Coach

With over 15 years' experience in IT, project and programme management and 10 in other sectors, Richard assists individuals, teams and organisations that are trying to make the transition to adopt agile either as a first step or who need some help in an existing implementation. In addition he is an experienced facilitator, presenter and trainer.

Richard brings a pragmatic ‘let’s get on with it’ approach built through 9 years service as a British Army officer. This pragmatism is coupled with a grasp of commercial realities developed as Richard served on the management and leadership teams of several organisations.

In recent years Richard has become one of a very few people worldwide to be both qualified and experienced in Holacracy (a form of enterprise wide agility and dynamic governance) combined with traditional agile methods/frameworks.

Mike Zeff
Startup Consultant & Mentor

Mike is passionate about working with people and technology to create and sustain cities as great places to live and work. Mike loves working with motivated individuals and teams as they bring innovative ideas to life and discover talents they never realised they had. Mike is a believer in creating high skilled, technology focused, jobs to grow both local and national economies.

Mike has more than 25 years in technology related roles, including 10 years with Microsoft working with enterprises, Independent Software Vendors and technology startups. He still spends time mentoring startups through Incubators and Startup Weekend events.

Kenina Court
Principal at Crowe Horwath

Kenina Court joined Crowe Horwath (NZ) Limited as a Principal in the Business Advisory division in 2011 following the sale of her own accounting firm (to Crowe Horwath) which she founded back in 2000.  Kenina has worked in both commercial and public practice at senior levels and has experience in a number of industries and areas including property, wholesale / retail, import / export, franchising, start-ups and professional services. She loves helping people to achieve their dreams and goals and particularly enjoys the areas of strategy, business modelling and entity structuring.

One of Kenina’s mantras is ‘There must be another way to do it, I just haven’t found it yet’ which is an excellent example of her inexhaustible curiosity and inability to unthinkingly accept the status quo. Kenina also sits on the board of two charitable trusts which help meet her desire to contribute positively to her greater community. Outside of work, Kenina is very happily married with three boys (two of whom are teenagers!) who most certainly keep her on her toes!

Bhavesh Bhuthadia
Director of Creativity at The Open Fort, Head Honcho at scribbleAKL

With equal barrels of imagination and determination Bhavesh keeps himself occupied with multiple ventures that involve what he's most passionate about - creativity, possibilities and people: From designing products to put on to market; heading-up a think-tank community group and hosting 100+ events in NZ and Australia; facilitating innovation within companies and organisations; to being an all-round happy guy who likes to explore.

At a young age Bhavesh's curiosity and imagination led him to see what a blue crayon masterpiece (potato like figure with legs, eyes and a smile) would look like on a white fence; more recently these same traits were in action to figure out how a cluster of old storage silos can become a mini-golf course.
Yes, there are many things he gets up to.

Fortunately, Bhavesh collaborates with many talented people in all his ventures. His holistic approach developed from applying his product design and design thinking knowledge across various projects allows him to bring vision and value to all endeavours and resourcefulness; whether it be through ideation, processes, materials, knowledge or networks. Bhavesh doesn't always have the answers – sometimes they don’t exist yet – but he does know how to go about achieving them alongside others.

Connor Archbold
Programme Manager at Lightning Lab

Connor is passionate about innovation and the start-up space. He comes from a legal background at Bell Gully, specialising in mergers & acquisitions, corporate restructures and securities offerings. He left that behind him to spend the last year running Lightning Lab Auckland as Programme Manager. 

His experience makes for a well rounded skill-set with three years of analytical legal thinking and the learnings from running the accelerator programme, taking nine startups from ideation to seed funding.

Connor brings clear thinking, strong execution and good energy to a team. If he is not helping startups, you can find Connor outdoors, fishing and/or backpacking. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Auckland team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.


Diamond Sponsorship


Event Support

Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Auckland is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Rowan
  • Alan
  • Mike
  • Line
  • Richard
  • Mahsa
  • Rachael
  • Jenny
  • Cher
  • Lang
  • Monica
  • Laura
  • Colart
  • Pauli


Rowan Yeoman
SWNZ National Director

Rowan is an entrepreneur, startup adviser, investor and Startup Weekend global facilitator. He is passionate about the potential that entrepreneurship has to create transformation in people's lives and in the world. Having facilitated Startup Weekends both in New Zealand and internationally, he has seen firsthand the inspiration and capability that Startup Weekend can release in people. Inspiration and capability that these entrepreneurs can bend towards doing great things in the world.

Rowan works to help develop both entrepreneurs and the startup ecosystem as a whole.

Event Blog

See Full Blog