ZeroPoint Ventures has officially wrapped up its 0.Sprint mini-accelerator programme, which is designed to boost business progress in a single week.
Ten ventures at different business stages participated in the event last week, in which they were immersed in the right startup environments, people, and networks, to help them push through challenges.
ZeroPoint Ventures co-founder Dan Khan says when the company designed the programme, nobody was sure if a short-term sprint programme rather than a longer-term programme would pan out, but they're pleased with the results.
Startups included ExtraTerrestrial Power, a startup that converts lunar soil to collar cells on the moon, and Curate – a curated eCommerce marketplace with 130 merchants.
“We saw some really interesting businesses, both startups, and traditional organisations in our first 0.Sprint. The challenges they were looking to solve were really diverse from offsetting carbon and building corporate environmental sustainability using new technologies like Blockchain; another looking to demystify the investment raising process; and one looking to figure out how to build solar networks on the moon,” Khan comments.
The first 0.Sprint programme was held in Auckland and attracted teams from across the country, but Khan acknowledges that it's important to support budding entrepreneurs outside the main centres.
Lea-Ann de Maxton runs a venture called 5 Million Flying Kiwis, which aims to create ‘impact hubs' across the country.
During the end of week reflection session Lea-Ann's biggest takeaways were just how much she was shook outside of her comfort zone - seeing how others think was a big ‘aha' moment that she doesn't often get back home,” Khan says.
The 0.Sprint programme is an adaptation of a ‘battle-tested' processes used by Google Ventures, but this one was still an experiment.
We built a new model combining accelerator-like intensity with the fun of a hackathon, but also added a little bit of 'Kiwi-ness' to it in terms of the community support, give back from mentors, and a push to present your journey and learnings in a pitch format to scale the support teams can achieve at the end of the sprint,” Khan says.
Whilst the 0.Sprint programme wasn't about winning and losing, it did culminate in a judging panel where startup veterans Rudi Bublitz, Glen Harris, and Misti Landtroop crowned carbon-offsetting platform, Blocktree Solutions.
The panel awarded a first prize of over $10,000 of support in education, mentoring, and office space thanks to Debra Chantry at The Common, and Massey University.
Starship Foundation placed second which was a great result given their non-startup roots, and Night District, a new live music venture founded by Tia Aoake from event partner PixelFusion's own team, came in third.
“We've been so amazed to see such a variety of ventures coming out of the first 0.Sprint programme and the quality of their progress and learning, that we'll definitely run the programme again,” Khan says.
“With so much demand for venture support that doesn't require a huge commitment or cost, we want to get as many more moonshot ventures through a 0.Sprint as possible!