Startup Weekend Taranaki

    Friday, November 17 - 19, 2017

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

Friday, November 17 - 19, 2017

Friday, November 17 - 19, 2017
Event starts at 6:00 pm

Manifold Coworking & Event Space
21 Devon Street West
New Plymouth, Taranaki

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Startup Weekend Taranaki

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event that brings together Taranaki designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and experts from all fields to share ideas & skills, form teams, build products and launch startup businesses.

Startup Weekend events follow the same format: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea for a product or business. Feedback is received from fellow attendees and the top ideas are determined by popular vote. Teams form around the ideas attendees want to develop. Each team embarks on a three-day frenzy of business model creation, coding, design and market validation, supported by business and startup mentors. The weekend culminates with presentations by each team in front of a judging panel of local entrepreneur leaders who provide critical feedback and pick a winning startup.

By joining a Startup Weekend, you'll grow your ideas, skills and knowledge, gaining invaluable experience!

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Friday November 17th

6:00 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 November 18th

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 November 19th

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

David MacLeod
Chairman of the Taranaki Regional Council

David MacLeod has a range of international and national experience in governance and business in Taranaki. Born and bred in South Taranaki, David’s current governance roles include Taranaki Regional Council Chairman, director of Port Taranaki, director of Parininihi Ki Waitotara Incorporation (PKW), which owns 20,000 hectares of farmland, and Managing Director of Greaves Electrical, Taranaki's largest electrical contracting business, which he established after initially training as an electrician. He was Fonterra's first Maori director, a position which he stepped down from in November 2017 after being elected in 2011. David has a large network of contacts both regionally and nationally including many business leaders and Central Government MP’s and executives. A Justice of the Peace also, David has been described as one of Taranaki's busiest people, but says he only commits to work he is passionate about.

Marie Collins
GM Technology & Support at TSB

Marie has 20 years of leadership across the banking, technology and energy sectors. As GM Technolgy & Support at TSB, Marie is responsible for strategic leadership of the Bank’s information and technology division and banking operations centre.

Philip Macey
Director at Staples Rodway Taranaki

Philip's background was originally based strongly around farming, and being from the Waikato there was a focus towards Bloodstock and Dairy farming. Prior to joining the firm and whilst completing his education in 1995 he previously trained racehorses and managed a restaurant. Philip has managed our business services division for many years but of recent years has headed our human resource department as well as managing a large accounting client base. Philip also established our accounting software team and has strong interest in business development and strategic planning. His numerous outside of work interests, such as classic car racing, farming and horse racing provide him with work life balance and pragmatic approach to business.

John Haylock
Tapuae Roa Coordinator at Venture Taranaki

John’s role is focused on supporting the development of the innovation eco-system in Taranaki. He has been involved in Startup Weekend since the first event in 2015. John also helped establish local angel investment group Launch Taranaki in 2016. Before joining Venture Taranaki in 2013 John founded a startup software company providing a workflow management system for accountancy practices. He has hands-on experience of taking a business from an idea to an international customer base and ultimately to acquisition. John has a deep interest in business model development and in 2010 authored a business novel “Absolute Certainty – how to give your clients exactly what they want”.

Coaches and Mentors

Daimon Stewart
Director at Staples Rodway Taranaki

Daimon is a born and bred New Plymouth local. After graduating with a BBS, Daimon headed to London for the great OE and found a position handling accounts for Michael Flatley of Lord of the Dance fame. Upon his return to New Zealand he worked as a Management Accountant for Hooker Pacific before joining Staples Rodway in 2002. He quickly progressed from Senior Accountant to Associate, and was appointed a Director in January 2013. Having experience as a company accountant as well as public practice, and previously owning a side-line in an importing/distribution business, Daimon has a great deal of commercial experience and an understanding of business processes from both sides of the fence.
Daimon has a passion for working alongside small business owners to create effective business strategies and maximise returns. "Being at the forefront of customer relationships is what I enjoy the most" he explains, "I love helping businesses grow, whether that's by giving tax advice, or being a sounding board for business decisions." Daimon is also an accredited Business Mentor with Business Mentors NZ which has been a great avenue for serving his passion.

Sam Parkin
Software Developer, Social Entrepreneur

Born in New Plymouth, raised in Raglan and currently living in Wellington, Sam is an experienced analyst developer and founder of multiple startups. Specialising in early stage tech solutions and lean methodologies he has over 30 years programming experience, and is passionate about community empowerment provided through platforms such as Wellington’s PHP programming language and Linux user groups.
Sam is a Foundation member of Enspiral - a bold experiment to create a collaborative network that helps people do meaningful work. This decentralised network of social entrepreneurs is finding the balance of autonomy and collaboration, and innovating new processes and tools in business, technology, and social change.
A self selected geek his outside interests usually revolve around technology: hardware hacking with his 3D printer and the Arduino and Raspberry Pi platforms although he also claims to own more guitars than the number of songs he knows how to play on them.

Craig Hattle
Board Chair at Advantage Business

Craig is currently the Board Chair at Advantage Business Ltd, one of the largest, non-franchised, business advisory groups in New Zealand established in 1998. He is usually hired by ambitious leaders taking their companies to the next level, and has the ability to work in complex environments with a special desire to work with people at all levels to make things happen.  As a Chartered Director, he has held positions on a variety of different Boards and Advisory Boards, with companies in Engineering, Seafood Processing, Airfreight and Logistics, Heavy Vehicle Parts and Services and in Horticulture. After leading a governance review at Advantage Business Ltd, he undertook the development of the firm’s Applied Governance Programme, which is now helping improve governance in smaller to mid-sized businesses throughout New Zealand. Before all this, Craig spent many years growing literally millions of cut roses for the European and US markets, working in the UK, Kenya and Zimbabwe. He joined his family living in Taranaki in 2011, and settled in Oakura together with his wife and three teen-age kids.

Adnan Belushi
Research & Futures | Technology Services at TSB

Adnan is a researcher, entrepreneur, speaker and a humanist. He is socially progressive and is particularly interested in how emerging technologies influence human life. He works at TSB Technology Services as a researcher supporting technology, data and bank strategies, educating on technology trends and keeping an eye at emerging futures and the FinTech landscape. Adnan is also the founder of Future Humans Lab, a collective of researchers studying subjects related to future humans and Qlab, an EdTech startup, a learner platform focusing on creating the future divergent thinkers, tweakers and entrepreneurs. 

Nick Gain
Start-up Coordinator at BCC

Nick is the start-up coordinator at BCC, a business growth organisation in Palmerston North, that educates entrepreneurs, supports start-ups to scale and raise investment.  In his role he enables entrepreneurs and business owners to identify their key priorities, operations, and getting start-ups to narrow in on their market, customer and their customers experience.  Ask Nick for help if you have a problem with understanding - who is my customer? Where and what is our market? What revenue model we could use? Wanting a connection into the agritech and food industry, or finding everything a little too stressful – he just finished a meditation course. 

Sophie Braggins
Head of Innovation and Opportunities at Govett Quilliam

Sophie comes from a strategic business and people background, with experience in human resource management and psychometrics in the United Arab Emirates, people and marketing at TVNZ, and as Managing Director of local Taranaki Accounting firm Strategy Collective. She holds senior governance roles as Chair of the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the CEO Forum, and participation on the Committee for the Regional Economic Development Strategy. Sophie is responsible for managing Govett Quilliam's capability to innovate and make the most of opportunities, from a technology, functionality, skills and cultural perspective. She is a strong advocate for engaging with the team to ensure innovation becomes a cultural mind-set.
Outside of work, Sophie has two children, Isabella and Theo, and leads a busy and active lifestyle with a keen interest in ocean swimming, boxing and running. She also has a strong community spirit with involvement in youth programmes such as Accelerator, Big Brothers Big Sisters and student exchanges.

Loren Anderson
Business Strategy Mentor

Loren was born and raised in Taranaki and currently works at PwC, providing business strategy advice to clients. Loren is part of the Executive Leadership Team of PwC’s Taranaki Office and is passionate about helping businesses develop strategies to achieve their business growth goals. Outside of her role at PwC Loren actively contributes to the local community and has held various volunteer positions which include sitting as an executive committee member of the Taranaki Young Professionals. Loren is also involved at a governance level in her family’s dairy farming business. Loren has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from Victoria University and an Executive MBA from Massey University.

Aaron Taylor
Lead Developer at Efinity Digital

Aaron has 10 years of experience developing large software applications across a range of industries. He is a keen problem solver and is adept at seamlessly integrating solutions with external software and services. Currently, Aaron is the lead developer at Efinity Digital, a New Plymouth based software company, working predominantly on a suite of products that are being used in the oil and gas industry both locally and internationally. In his spare time, Aaron likes to stay active and keep up to date with the latest technological trends. 

John Evans
Group Manager – Banking Systems at TSB

John has worked in a technology environment for three decades across many roles from software developer, sales management to project and technology management positions.  He has worked alongside organisations of many sizes from large multi-national companies through to small New Zealand businesses, some publically owned and some not for profit.Over time these roles have gravitated more towards banking and payments and included several national projects across New Zealand.  This year they gravitated to Taranaki and TSB.Outside of work John has a 9yo son and two grown up daughters.  He is a member of both Land Search & Rescue and Fire Service teams - giving a different perspective on teamwork in challenging environments.  John has a Bachelor of Science (in Computer Science) and Master of Business Studies (in Finance) both from Massey University (as well as a number of emergency service qualifications). 

Belinda Pool
Head of Brand and Communications at TSB

Belinda has ten years of Marketing and Sales experience across a range of Financial Services and Retail roles. In her current role heading up Brand and Communications at TSB, she’s responsible for developing brand, retail & touchpoint communication strategies aligned to business goals, with a focus on understanding and putting the customer first. Having been thrown in the deep end a few times over the past ten years, Belinda is driven by a challenge and believes growth comes from being regularly pushed outside of your comfort zone. Her coaching style focuses on building an effective and enthusiastic team dynamic; supporting personal development, encouraging ownership of work and asking questions, as well as challenging the status quo. Outside of work, Belinda has a passion for snowboarding, teaching her dog ‘Blue’ new tricks, and is a bit of a foodie.

Jordan Hartley-Smith
Manager at Staples Rodway Taranaki

Jordan grew up dairy farming around the mountain in Taranaki which has given him a strong background in the dairy and beef industries. Jordan Hartley-Smith is a Manager at Staples Rodway Taranaki, starting in in March 2007 and also runs his own small business, giving him great insight into how Staples Rodway’s clients work and what their requirements are. He is known to go above and beyond for clients, offering his knowledge on start ups, marketing and information systems. Jordan sits across the Agri and Business Advisory Services team and Business Information Systems team, helping clients over a wide range of industries gain efficiencies in their business and providing needs analysis’ to discover what systems and processes are best suited to their situation. Jordan has a natural interest in current and emerging technology and leads the cloud accounting initiative with Staples Rodway Taranaki.

Simeon Theobald
CEO at Shout.Beer

Simeon is the Chief Bottle Opener at Shout.Beer, and one of the winners of the inaugural 'Startup Weekend Taranaki' in 2015.
With a degree in Information Systems, and  background in corporate IT he's worked in many sectors, and contended with a range of organisation sizes. As a veteran of the sysadmin and database world Simeon is able to move freely between technical and high level detail and currently spends a lot of his time developing for the modern web.
He is interested in putting sustainability before profit, social & environmental responsibility, and being aware of both the up, and downstream impacts of business decisions. Simeon loves an opportunity to help out the "little guy", and trades freely in social capital. Practical is a word often used to describe him, and his broad range of interests fuels a talent for cross-pollinating solutions with ideas from often unexpected places.
Outside of Simeon's entreprenurial enterprises he's the primary caregiver for two daughters, four chickens and two rats. He's also at the beginning of a journey to better understand organic permaculture and the interactions between our food and health.
Simeon brings first hand knowledge and experience of the startup weekend event, and of life with a startup after the weekend has finished. Ask him about anything except finance.

Paul Anderson
Partner at Govett Quilliam

Paul began legal practice in New Plymouth in 1991 and is a partner in the firm Govett Quilliam. He has an extensive history in corporate , commercial and property related legal matters acting for a wide range of businesses ( as well as private individuals and community organisations). Paul values his trusted relationships with leading businesses across many different business sectors and has long been an enthusiastic supporter of their growth and development.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Taranaki 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.

Signature Sponsors




Organizing Team

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

  • Frank
  • Graham
  • John
  • Michelle
  • Nick
  • Eli
  • Adarsh


Lenz Gschwendtner
geek, mentor, punk

Lenz is founder of Springtimesoft Consulting, a Wellington New Zealand based consulting agency and co-founder of iwantmyname, a global player in the domain name industry. Prior to moving to New Zealand Lenz was part of fast growing startups in Germany and did his fair share in corporate IT management.Lenz has been managing teams for most of his adult life and is known to run highly effective and motivated teams that deliver exceptional results without compromises in happiness. Lenz is a mentor for startups at any stage of development and helps drive many industry activities that help grow a better startup community in New Zealand and world wide. Pay him coffee/beer and he will happily give you feedback on your current project or open up his network to find the person you need.

Pascale Hyboud Peron
Co-founder & Director | Venture Centre | Tauranga NZ

Hi I am Pascale Hyboud-Peron, I am a learning facilitator, using tech to take learning where it has not been before.  My experience is with the provision of technologies and frameworks to enable open knowledge sharing and community building. I have re-booted my teaching skills to walk the learn-by-doing talk and fell in a magic potion: entrepreneurship.  I have been involved with Startup Weekend as a participant, an organiser and a facilitator since 2014. I live the ‘SW vibe” daily as a co-founder of Venture Centre, a social enterprise focused on building the capability of the entrepreneurial community from the ground up.  I get to combine my passion for methodologies and tech and apply them to the real world, in real time. I work with grassroot teams, lighting the path from idea to scale, introducing new skills and connections through workshops and events. My kick? Witnessing the mindset shift and working with people where the learning is mutual.

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