Startup Weekend Dunedin

    Friday, March 31 - April 2, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Dunedin

Friday, March 31 - April 2, 2017

Friday, March 31 - April 2, 2017
Event starts at 5:00 pm

Otago Polytechnic
Block H, 85 Forth Street
Dunedin, Otago 9016

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Dream, Build, Launch a Business in 55 hours!

What is Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekends are 55-hour long events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, build products and launch startups! Teams go from an idea scrawled on a napkin to a working prototype and maybe even paying customers, all within a single weekend. Startup Weekends are a global phenomenon with events being held in 700+ cities across the world; in New Zealand alone, events have been held in Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga, Christchurch, Queenstown, Invercargill, and of course DUNEDIN!

Why attend a Startup Weekend

Many people want to be entrepreneurs, but find it hard to commit on top of study/work/family commitments. Startup Weekends are the ideal high-impact/low-commitment vehicle for you to test both your ideas and yourself to see if entrepreneurship really is your cup of tea. Not everyone can spare 3 months, but everyone has a weekend to spare. 

(For more reasons, see  What do I get out of it  below)

How does it work?

We begin on Friday night with open-mic pitches, where participants get 60 seconds to pitch their ideas to the crowd and try to recruit the best talent in the room! Teams form around the most exciting/viable ideas, and spend the rest of the night planning for the battle ahead. The whole of Saturday and much of Sunday) is a mad dash to build, validate, pivot, polish and test your Minimal Viable Product (MVP). The weekend culminates with a pitch-night where teams present their MVP to a panel of judges, guests and fellow participants. At the end of it all, a winner is crowned and everyone celebrates over a few casual drinks and gets a chance to network before saying goodbye!

What do I get out of it?

- You will get a taste of what it's like in the startup world, and learn a ton first hand about every step of building a startup (at the very least, it'll be a memorable weekend away from your usual daily routine). 

- You might find your perfect co-founder soulmate with whom you'll go on to launch a multi-million dollar startup, be it on this weekend or down the road.

- You will get a chance to network and mingle with some of the top brass in the New Zealand entrepreneurship/investing communities - individuals that would otherwise be very hard to reach - and ask them questions to your hearts content.

- You will greatly expand your network and build lasting relationships with the most innovative, creative and motivated people in Dunedin. This could mean a new client, employer, business partner, or even a friend!

- Plus, if your team wins, you will get heaps of additional resources and mentorship to help you get your startup off the ground. There are also plenty of investors in the crowd, so if your pitches were something special, you might even get funding (it happens!).

Why do I have to pay?

The price of your ticket just about covers the cost of your food and drinks; if you work out how much six meals + free beer + unlimited coffee will cost, you could break even just by showing up and eating! On top of all the grub, all participants get heaps of exclusive goodies including free domain names, web services and more. Not to mention free coaching and guidance from some of the best mentors around. All in all, its probably the best $99 you'll ever spend.

But I'm not an entrepreneur...

You don't have to be! (and if you want to be, this is a great place to start) 
At every Startup Weekend, participants come from all walks of life ranging from students to educators, bankers to doctors, even retirees! Worried you don't have the skills? Thats why we have experienced mentors here to guide you (and Startup Weekends are about learning anyway). Too young/old? We have had participants as young as 12 and as old as 70 (not kidding!), so if you fall within that range, your'e sweet! 

So get off that fence, join us, and get ready for the ride of your life. #SWDUD

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday March 31st

5:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

7:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:20 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

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

10:00 pm
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

Saturday April 1st

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 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

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday April 2nd

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

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

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Ken Aitcheson

- Export Development; providing advice to NZ companies on building capability to export.

- Sales and Marketing Management; including B2B sales, relationship selling and solution development and negotiation.

- Operational Management; including production planning, distribution and logistics management, production management.

- I have worked in a number of industries including whiteware, food, apparel, printing and packaging and also in transportation and logistics.

Kate Boreham

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do"​ 

I'm lucky enough to love what I do and the people I do it with. As a Sales Manager at NZME I'm privileged to work with a talented team who specialise in creating and executing integrated campaigns that meet and often exceed their objectives. 

Nigel Bamford
CEO, Escea

My favorite thing is business, done well. Unfortunately in a lot of companies, business is not done well. At Escea we have spent a decade making constant (and never ending) improvements to this business and our resultant success is hugely satisfying to be part of. We are well on the way to our goal of being the largest fireplace company that is based in NZ or AUS and each year we have built further on our foundation of great technology, great design, disciplined process and smart marketing.

Carolyn Managh

Carolyn’s career spans over 25 years of brand marketing. Working in NZ, UK, Europe and Australia with brands including eBay (UK), Unilever, Kraft, MSN and Hotmail (when it was cool), and

Carolyn’s key roles have included being Managing Director of a creative agency and senior strategic consultant for two others (Ogilvy & M&C Saatchi), as well as Brand Director at Carolyn has extensive experience building strategies that strengthen brands locally or take them global, particularly in consumer, technology and online brands. This is underpinned by further experience leading digital designers, developer and creative teams. Of particular note is Carolyn’s eBay communications strategy that resulted in eBay UK achieving an unprecedented 200% ROI in advertising and the ‘British Media Innovation Award’ for real-time auctions on ITV. 

Coaches and Mentors

Nathan Martin

I am a Creative Director, a practitioner of design thinking and a serial entrepreneur who works in the digital creative space. Central to all these attributes is understanding the problem and empathising with the user to produce compelling solutions that align to the needs of the organisation. The intent is to create solutions that evolve the digital realm towards a place where technology becomes more human.

This approach resonates throughout my portfolio which spans across a multitude of digital experiences including: Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, App Development, Concept Design, Animation/Post Production.

Heidi Renata
Founder/MD/CEO (Chief Energy Officer) - Innov8HQ

Officially recognised as one of Vodafone NZ's Top Leaders, with over 15 years Telecommunications experience & working across various industry sectors over the last 20 years, Heidi Renata is an ambitious Business Woman & Community Leader. 

Since her departure from Vodafone in August 2015, she has since established Dunedin's new Smart Business Hub & Co-working Space "Innov8HQ", providing a Supermarket of Resources - to House, Connect and Support Businesses through Start up, Growth and Sustainability in the Digital Age. One of the key differentiators for the space is that Innov8HQ provides Business Mentoring as a value add to co-working spaces in addition to access to premium office facilities in the city.

Scott Gillett

Focused on Enterprise accounts and their needs, I have achieved demonstrable sales success with transformational technology solutions across diverse sectors including Investment Banking, Finance, Telecommunications, Construction and major Asset Infrastructure owners. 

A challenger of the status quo, I enjoy working with disruptive technologies and propositions. As a result sales cycles have emphasised the ability to seek out change agents, articulate the business case for strategy change and influence a wide range of stakeholders with diverse needs. 

Sarah Ramsey

Strategy is my game. I love getting to the bottom of a business and figuring out what makes it tick, and most importantly what makes their customers tick - so that we can help optimise their marketing strategy and ultimately the customer's experience so they keep coming back for more and telling everyone about it. 

Crystallising a company's market position through identifying their value proposition is a challenge I relish and I'm very privileged to have helped many New Zealand companies achieve this. There's nothing better than taking a strategy document and bringing it to life through a fresh new brand identity, and there's something so exciting about seeing an advert in market for the first time that will never wear thin.

Jason Beck

As the previous community manager for Startup Dunedin, Jason is heavily involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and has made many contributions. With a passion for event management, Jason has successfully run Startup Weekend Dunedin, TEDx Dunedin, and is now running his own event management company in Auckland.

Daniel Larkin

An intellectual and innovative young investor and entrepreneur looking for opportunities to punch a whole in the fabric of society. 

Experienced in entrepreneurship, leadership and technology - I am perpetually accruing additional skills which pave my way to obliterating any emerging obstacles in this game we call life.

Alan Bauchop
Creative Director, Timely

You want something designed? Interactive? Brand? Ocean or river-going yachts? 

Currently I work as a full-stack designer/developer/marketer. This means I lead the design of the Timely brand and am responsible for the design, build and optimisation of the Timely marketing website and blog in Wordpress, with a custom theme and custom content types. Also in this role I use Hubspot, Google Analytics / Search Console and Moz. 

Anna Guenther
Chief Bubble Blower, PledgeMe

A super supporter of Startup Weekend, generous with her time and energy, Anna is a crowdfunding marvel and has developed her own successful startup into a successful crowdfunding platform, with close to $9 million being raised. And if you aren't following her on twitter, you are missing out!

Adon Moskal

Adon a lecturer in Information Technology at Otago Polytechnic and is heavily involved in helping young minds grow and succeed

Kylie Robinson
Managing Director, Igtimi

Managing Director for a Igtimi Ltd who are dedicated to creating bespoke electronic hardware specializing in tracking and communications equipment.

Jesse Meek

I am the CEO and Founder of CodeLingo:

CodeLingo is tackling technical debt, a one trillion dollar problem*, at it's source: managing code quality at scale. Existing software quality solutions target the symptoms: monitoring system performance, bugs etc. CodeLingo is going for the cause, it safeguards the quality of source code and guides a developer's contributions to ensure they conform to best practice.

George Phillips

George is the CTO at Cloud Cannon, which offers a CMS designed specifically for designers who know how to work with HTML, JavaScript, CSS and any static content. Instead of having to turn your beautiful designs into a dynamic CMS, you just have to put your files into a Dropbox folder

John Enlow
CTO, ADInstruments

I love working with great people to achieve amazing things.

Organizing Team

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

  • Casey
  • Alax
  • Jack
  • Peter
  • Donna
  • Kirsty
  • Varsha


Geoff Brash
CEO GBJ Innovation

Advisor, investor and director for high-growth startups.

Event Staff

Hena Malhotra
Tech Management

Jacob Sidford
Music Man

Event Blog

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