As part of the recent Geeks on a Plane (GOAP) tour of New Zealand, some of our best and brightest startups pitched in rapid succession to the Geeks and the local community in Icehouse’s “Rocket Pitch” event.
Kiwi Landing Pad was pleased to sponsor the event with three prizes of complimentary time at Kiwi Landing Pad in San Francisco. The winners;
• Outpost Central: Real-time water monitoring system.
• EcoFibre: Carbon fibre alternative manufactured from flax.
• Klickex: Low-cost foreign exchange service.
Congratulations to the winners and we look forward to seeing you in San Francisco some time in 2013 !
GOAP, lead by 500 startups brings together investors and industry commentators from Silicon Valley to travel to countries around the world, meeting with entrepreneurs and trying to better understand the challenges and opportunities that exist.
The event was a fantastic opportunity for Kiwi startups to test their business ideas with people who spend their time evaluating hundred’s of pitches and business plans in the heart of entrepreneurialism – San Francisco Bay Area.
To watch video of the pitches plus interviews with the Geeks, head to Icehouse’s You Tube channel here.
Press round- up of the Geeks trip;
New Zealand Herald – Geeks on a Plane find vibrant entrepreneur environment here
Techcunch interview with Sir Ray Avery – You’ve got 30,000 days to live.. Reverse engineer your life to make them count
Pop17 - New Zealand the new source of technology and innovation
Techcrunch – Punching above their weight: opportunity and challenges for kiwi start ups
Idealog – Geeks on a Plane help kiwis take off to San Francisco
Radio NZ – Geeks on a Plane
Guest Post by Ryan Johnson.
Just last week I went to the SoMa district of San Francisco to check out Kiwi Landing Pad (KLP), which is situated between startup giants Twitter and Square. As I was talking with Catherine Robinson, director of KLP, I reflected on how much my wife Vicki and I have accomplished in our first month in San Francisco. We moved to San Francisco from Wellington in November to advance our startup, ProFellow.com. It’s incredible how far we’ve come – figuratively and literally!
ProFellow is dedicated to helping people find and win professional and academic fellowships. Since stepping off the plane, we’ve had a stacked calendar of meetings, events and conversations with new and established industry partners as well as advisors with expertise in our industry. For example, we’ve met with 10 fellowship organizations and held a networking dinner in SoMa for alumni of prestigious fellowships. We’ve also participated in several startup events, such as the SFBay Startup Weekend, and even met the founder of the international Hackers and Founders Meetup, who was thrilled to learn more about the Wellington chapter that I help co-manage. Vicki even spoke to a large captive audience about fellowships at the American Geophysical Union conference that just took place at the Moscone Center downtown. We can see the direct impact to our new sign-ups, which have nearly doubled since moving to the U.S.
For an entrepreneur living and working in San Francisco is extraordinary because the city is teeming with founders. You meet new people every day who will both celebrate and commiserate with you on the ups and down of startup life. It’s something every entrepreneur should experience. For early stage startups, I recommend checking out KLP’s program, which helps get you to San Francisco and arms you with a plan so you can make the most out of your time here.
Also, through Geekplane, an early stage startup focused on travel exchanges for technical help, Vicki and I are offering a free two-week stay at a private room in our flat in central San Francisco in exchange for some added features to our website. Email me (ryan[at]profellow.com) to learn more!
Ryan Johnson, Cofounder of ProFellow.com
When you mention the name Silicon Valley, for a lot of people it conjures up images of tech wizardry, flashy multi story high rises – some sort of hi tech utopia. And it is a tech utopia, well sorta. For a lot of New Zealanders, landing at SFO, jumping on Highway 101 and heading south to Silicon Valley, can feel like a bit of a disappointment. There is no “Welcome to Silicon Valley” road sign or the ubiquitous visitors centre full of t-shirts and coasters. Silicon Valley is home to some of the worlds largest and most influential tech companies and it is enormous – 1500 square miles of companies, housing, test facilities, venture capitalists, accelerators and strip malls.
Leaving San Francisco we jumped on the 101 and headed south to Facebook. We parked up at the new Menlo Park mega-campus to say hi to Wellingtonian Andrew Pope, one of the talented engineers based there. Andrew works on ensuring that Facebook’s 1billion+ user base has complete and timely access to their FB page updates. The campus culture reflects its unique Hacker Way approach, and the buildings and outdoor spaces reference the creative and open environment they have embraced. It was no surprise that we saw Mark Zuckerberg on campus. What better way to launch our KLP Facebook pagethan to grab a bite of lunch with Andrew and to write on Facebook’s own real-life wall. And lunch? Mmm delicious Portuguese food cooked in one of Facebook’s staff cafeterias. We can confirm that they do look after their employees’ stomachs rather well.
Driving past more manicured driveways to the next city, Mountain View. Famously home to another of the tech world’s giants, Google. Its headquarters are set out in a huge sprawling campus where modus potare are a fleet of very colorful Google bikes. Don’t try to trespass, they know where you live, what your house looks like, and which brand of kitchen blender you’re contemplating purchasing. Best to move on.
Some more miles on the freeway brings us to our last stop, One Infinite Loop, Cupertino (tech people are crazy about infinite loops…). Here we are taking a look at the design forward powerhouse, Apple. Their headquarters look, well, much the same as the other sprawling campuses we’d seen all over the valley. Of course, you can’t judge a Macbook by the cover, and we all know the inside is where the magic happens. There is a gift shop where you can hand over some dollars in exchange for novelty t-shirts and pens made by the Apple gods.
Well,120 miles and we are heading back to San Francisco. If you are thinking of checking out Silicon Valley or you are making appointments to visit companies in Silicon Valley, make sure you allow plenty of time between meetings and seriously consider driving. The Cal-Train from San Francisco is good, but you will still need to criss cross the valley to head to your destinations. There are few places that are walking distance to anything.
There’s no denying that the sun drenched peninsula has fostered a tech industry now unrivaled anywhere else in the world. The big guys are all here, just don’t expect them to invite you in for a cup of tea. Unless of course you know a Kiwi that works at one of them, then you could be in luck. Thanks Andrew!
KLP’s Facebook page is now up and running. Like Us on Facebook to keep tabs with all the latest community happenings.
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