Startup Weekend Science & Research

    Friday, July 3 - 5, 2015

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

Friday, July 3 - 5, 2015

Friday, July 3 - 5, 2015
Event starts at 3:00 pm

Creative HQ
Level 1
7 Dixon St
Wellington, New Zealand 6011

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NZ's first Science and Research Startup Weekend

Bringing together the power of Startup Weekend and the insights of the research community in a 54-hour marathon of energy, collaboration, perspiration and fun. 

Join an intense sprint to take the best ideas from researchers and the best teams from the business, design and engineering communities and combine inspiration and innovation. 

Startup Weekend is the environment to run faster, think harder and bake more into your idea with the support of experienced mentors and a tried and true format built to create results. No talk, all action. 

Startup Weekend Science and Research is open to all research-based ideas. (What's that? See FAQ below for more detail)

What happens at Startup Weekend?

The event starts on Friday evening, with an icebreaker game and dinner, and then people pitch their research concepts to the crowd. 10-15 concepts will attract viable teams around them. By late Friday night, you will have sketched out your concept in some detail and everyone will have roles assigned and an inkling of how they’re going to achieve their goals over the weekend.

Saturday morning is all about validation – you’ll be contacting potential customers and finding out if there’s really a market need for what you’re building. If not, you’ll need to pivot based on the information you’ve picked up by “getting out of the building” and talking to people. Meanwhile, your developers and designers will be furiously building your products (or mock-ups), and your team will be attracting partners, advisers, and customers.

You’ll need to start preparing your final 5-minute presentation on Sunday morning, because your team will need to pitch it by dinner time. After that, prizes will be awarded to the best teams.Where you go from there is up to you.

Exciting projects and businesses have come out of Startup Weekends, but the real value is in the skills, new friends, and access to resources you require. Whether you’re a researcher looking for inspiration on how to take your project to market, an engineer or designer looking for the next big thing, or an entrepreneur looking for a team to turn your idea into reality, Startup Weekend is a fantastic way to test your own abilities and meet great people along the way.

Get in quick.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What's different about this Startup Weekend? 
This event is focused on research-based ideas, and forming teams around these to build potential ventures around research. Everything else is the same fast-paced, awesome and intense experience hundreds of motivated entrepreneurs, designers and engineers get involved in every year.   

What is a research-based idea?   
To be a good fit for #SWRsch your idea should meet (or come close to) the following criteria:
  • It will be based on a defined body of research e.g. a masters/doctorate project, market research, socio-economic research, data project, etc 
  • It will require a degree of research and development to be a marketable product i.e. it is not already at the product stage (you may or may not have done a portion of this R&D already)
  • It will not have been widely commercialised yet i.e. you may have explored one market but think there is more potential to be realised yet  

Do I have to have an idea to pitch to join Startup Weekend Science and Research?    No you don't. You can come along and just join a team. Please do!  

If you do want to pitch your research or an idea based on your research, we will help you frame your pitch with a dedicated session on June 24 about how to communicate your idea/research to the Startup Weekend crowd.    

What about intellectual property - how is this protected? 
We will be giving specific instruction on handling intellectual property at the pitch preparation session on June 24 for people pitching their research to Startup Weekend Science & Research. Please contact us  for more information.   

What happens after Startup Weekend?
There are so many possibilities! Firstly you should memorise the names of your new best friends, and then look at what you have created. Startup Weekend has seen companies form, new teams get together, and inspirations realised. Most of all you'll feel richer, smarter and certainly exhausted. 

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday July 3rd

3:00 pm
Pitch Sessions
Learn the tricks of pitching your idea with Peter Griffin, experienced science commentator, and get some invaluable advice from our resident IP experts on how to handle that side of the weekend.

5:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:20 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

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

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

8:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

8:20 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

8:45 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

11:55 pm
Pack up, set your patch up for Saturday morning. Lights out at midnight.

Saturday July 4th

8:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

12:00 pm
Check-In & Lunch
Pre-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help, then refuel

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

6:00 pm
Check in and Dinner
Pre-dinner updates, list your blocks and seek help - then enjoy dinner and take a breather. Long night ahead.

11:55 pm
Finished for the day. Lights off at midnight.

Sunday July 5th

8:00 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

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

6:30 pm
Judging, Dinner & Awards

8:00 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Helen Kamal
Team Lead - Ilm Ideas 2

Helen Kamal has 20 years of experience in education principally in South and West Asia, with recent work as a Senior Technical Director in a complex, nation-wide programme in Pakistan to reform pre-service teacher education and teacher recruitment policies. She strengths primarily in teacher education systems, policy and practice (continuing professional development and initial teacher education) and in community participation in education and school improvement, girls’ education and early years education. She has ability to establish and maintain constructive relationships with a range of government and non-government partners at district, provincial and national levels. She has excellent understanding of evidence, ideas and issues related to improving educational outcomes in low resource settings and conflict affected and fragile states.

Tracy Thompson

Stefan Korn

Coaches and Mentors

David Clearwater
Regional Director at the Ākina Foundation

David has been participating, running and facilitating Startup Weekends since 2011.

His day job is growing social enterprise at Ākina Foundation, and his passion is where business meets technology meets social impact.

David is a commercial guy who loves building businesses, teams, products and people.

Emily Sutton

Emily works as Operations Manager at iPredict and is an experienced science entrepreneur

Amanda Wiggins

Amanda is Regulatory and Innovation Manager at Supreme Biotechnologies Ltd in Nelson and has spent many years in science commercialisation.  

Elf Eldridge

Elf is a senior researcher and has been deep in the bio-nanotechnology arena during his PhD. He now works in the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Victoria university.  

Peter Griffin

Peter is the co-founder of Sciblogs and runs the Science Media Centre. He is one of New Zealand's leading science communicators. 

Michael Elwood-Smith

Michael is a startup strategist and an engineer by trade. He is part of the executive leadership at Loomio and works closely with growth businesses in Wellington. 

Kah Chan

Kah is a senior designer, lectrurer and PhD with Victoria University's School of Design. He is an experienced business mentor who has driven Viclink's Entrepreneur Bootcamp for four years.   

Jenny Douche

Jenny is an author, speaker and expert practitioner in market validation and is an experienced entrepreneur. 

Matthew Betts

Matthew is the senior developer at academic peer review platform Publons. 

Jennifer Anderson

Jennifer is an active investor and consultant in the early-stage biotechnology, human nutrition and medical devices sectors. 

Melissa Yiannoutsos

Melissa has spent nearly 15 years commercialising science for industrial, medical and biotechnology applications. She works at Powerhouse Ventures.

Suse Reynolds

Suse is an active angel investor and has a keen interest in science and technology commercialisation. She is the executive director of the Angel Association of NZ. 

Barnaby May

Dr Barnaby May is the Vice President of Technology at Aroa Bio, where he where he leads research and product development. 

Margaret Doucas

A principal at Henry Hughes, Margaret has a background in Science and Law, and more than 25 years experience providing strategic Intellectual Property protection and enforcement advice to global clients. Margaret’s Patent Law practice focuses on Life Sciences (Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology).

Adrian Evans

Adrian holds degrees in law and science from Victoria University of Wellington, majoring in genetics, molecular biology and physiology. Prior to joining Henry Hughes in 2006, Adrian worked at the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Science & Research 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.


Organizing Team

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

  • Nick
  • Jeremy
  • Sam
  • Olly
  • Paul
  • Emily
  • Sarah

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