Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Marketing updates for Kiwi tech companies.

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019


Read Concentrate’s February newsletter for the latest on marketing bots and other cool MarTech, how Kiwi tech companies compare to US tech companies when it comes to lead generation, and more.

Event submissions are now open for Techweek19!

Monday, February 11th, 2019

Our new website is now live and event submissions are open for Techweek19!

Techweek19 will be running from 20-26 May this year, and is the world’s only nationwide festival of innovation — showcasing New Zealand as a place where leading solutions to some of the biggest global challenges are born.

Techweek events vary from major conferences to small meetups on niche topics, hackathons, workshops and networking events. Head to our event portal if you want to host an event on a topic that lights your fire, and keep an eye out for this year’s programme, coming soon!

— The Techweek Team 

Summer Sprint @Ara: Demo Evening

Monday, February 11th, 2019

Ministry of Awesome’s Summer Sprint @Ara is a week-long startup accelerator programme for Ara Institute of Canterbury’s student entrepreneurs. The programme will assist students in developing their business concept through to market readiness.

In this hands-on and interactive programme, student entrepreneurs will be surrounded by the best and brightest minds from the business world and the innovation ecosystem in Christchurch.

Join us on 19th February at the Kahukura building on Ara’s city centre campus to hear the pitches from these awesome new entrepreneurs. They will be pitching to a judging panel made up of ecosystem leaders.

Our judges for the evening are:

Kaila Colbin: Chair, Ministry of Awesome and CEO, Boma New Zealand

Richard Sandford: General Manager, Christchurch NZ

Gerald Carter: Co-Founder, XStart Accelerator

5:15: Doors open

5:30: Pitches and judging

7:30: Results and networking

Please join us after the programme for drinks and nibbles in celebration of these new entrepreneurs and in thanks to the Christchurch and Canterbury startup and innovation ecosystem for their support.

New Zealand’s tech community picks their top trends to look out for in 2019

Monday, February 11th, 2019


As part of  Idealog spotlight on the year ahead, they reached out to a few key players in the tech industry, such as Paymark, The Icehouse, Callaghan Innovation, Soul Machines, Fintech NZ and Method, to see what trends and categories they think will be dominating the tech sector in 2019 and why. Here are their responses.

The Tahi Rua Toru Tech Challenge is now open

Friday, February 1st, 2019

Sign in to see how your for school, kura and code club can get involved.

Most students participate in the 123Tech Challenge as a classroom activity, however you can also enter through your local Code Club (check out for more information).

How to get involved

Applications open now for Lightning Lab Tourism

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

This year the nationwide business accelerator will be run right here – out of Christchurch International Airport.

Up to 10 ventures will be accepted onto the programme to help build a sustainable tourism industry in New Zealand.

For more information, or to apply for Lightning Lab Tourism visit:

Lightning Lab Lightning Lab is New Zealand’s premier business acceleration programme with 11 completed accelerators under its belt. Lightning Lab gives ventures access to some of the country’s top coaches, mentors and business minds. Teams in the programme are put through a rigorous framework of highly structured venture development sprints that will provide them with the opportunity to learn, validate and scale at a rapid pace. Lightning Lab has been running since 2013 and is a programme of Creative HQ


GGJNext – The Jam – early March 2019!

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

Find out how you can become involved

Global Game Jam® – Christchurch 2019 January 25 @ 8:00 AM – January 27 @ 5:00 PM

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

The Global Game Jam® (GGJ) is the world’s largest game jam event (game creation) taking place around the world at physical locations. Think of it as a hackathon focused on game development. It is the growth of an idea that in today’s heavily connected world, we could come together, be creative, share experiences and express ourselves in a multitude of ways using video games – it is very universal. The weekend stirs a global creative buzz in games, while at the same time exploring the process of development, be it programming, iterative design, narrative exploration or artistic expression. It is all condensed into a 48 hour development cycle. The GGJ encourages people with all kinds of backgrounds to participate and contribute to this global spread of game development and creativity.

The structure of a jam is usually that everyone gathers on Friday late afternoon, watches a short video keynote with advice from leading game developers, and then a secret theme is announced. All sites worldwide are then challenged to make games based on that same theme, with games to be completed by Sunday afternoon. In January 2018, we had 803 locations in 108 countries create 8,606 games in one weekend! GGJ 2019 is January 25-27 at a location near you… if not you can make one of your own. The jam is known for helping foster new friendships, increase confidence and opportunities within the community. The jam is always an intellectual challenge. People are invited to explore new technology tools, trying on new roles in development and testing their skills to do something that requires them to design, develop create, test and make a new game in the time span of 48 hours.

The GGJ stimulates collaboration and is not a competition.

Game Dev : School of Product Design

Entrance Fee: None
Hours:  Open for entire 48 hours
Who Can Participate: Anyone
Age Restrictions:  18+

Startup Breakfast Club: Financial Health

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

Ministry of Awesome’s Startup Breakfast Club is your monthly morning caffeine hit where you’ll find valuable social networks, gain business insight, and find the critical support to power your venture forward. 

At this month’s Breakfast Club, we’re going to talk about business models, financial goals and metrics, key accounting principles, and the phases of business growth relative to financial sustainability. Strong financial foundations are critical to your success in 2019 so this is an unmissable breakfast with immediate applied benefits to your startup.

Thanks to our friends at MYOB there will be breakfast treats to keep your brain and tummy wide awake, and our friends at The Sailors Son will provide free-flowing coffee. It’s an absolutely FREE event, so claim your spot by registering now!

You won’t want to miss this great opportunity to network with like-minded entrepreneurs and to learn from industry veterans who have been through the start-up and can help you along your journey.

Startup Breakfast Club is ALWAYS sold out in advance so register early to make sure you don’t miss out. Register by Monday 28 January.

What lies inside Rocket Lab’s secret US military contracts?

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Author  | Guest writer- The Spinoff

Rocket Lab is a celebrated New Zealand success story, with a stated mission to open access to space and improve life on Earth. Yet many of its key contracts are with the US military and their suppliers. Ollie Neas reports on the dark side of a local business hero.

Last Friday Rocket Lab announced that it had secured US$140m (NZ$206m) in new funding from a range of investors, including the publicly-owned ACC.

After a launch the Sunday before, this announcement marked the second time in a week that hundreds of international media outlets took notice of Rocket Lab and, by extension, New Zealand.

At home, though, the issue has been whether New Zealand deserves more of the credit for the billion-dollar company’s success, with Chris Keall in the New Zealand Herald querying descriptions of Rocket Lab as an “American start-up”.

However, there is another side to Rocket Lab, one that raises questions about New Zealand’s – and ACC’s – support for the company.

Rocket Lab’s stated mission is to open access to space to improve life on earth. But it’s not just a launcher of commercial satellites. It is also a defence contractor that has worked on contracts with military applications for US defence agencies.

One of its investors is Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons manufacturer. It would also appear the company has links to In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm.

Rocket Lab says that it is committed to using space for peaceful purposes, and that consumers rely on space-based applications funded and operated by the defence sector – like GPS, for example. Peace Advocacy Auckland, the anti-war advocacy group, says that Rocket Lab’s involvement with Lockheed Martin and the US Department of Defense makes it complicit in the arms trade.

Meanwhile ACC’s own investment guidelines prohibit it from investing in Lockheed Martin or its subsidiaries directly due to Lockheed’s involvement in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

Rocket Lab’s link with the CIA’s venture capital firm was revealed in 2016 by US investigative journalism site The Intercept, but has not been reported by the New Zealand media.

Although it operates independently, In-Q-Tel invests on behalf of the CIA and the broader US intelligence community in companies whose products may have national security applications.

document obtained by The Intercept shows that Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck spoke at a summit of In-Q-Tel portfolio companies in February 2016. Other speakers included then-FBI director James Comey. Beck earlier wrote about Rocket Lab for In-Q-Tel’s quarterly publication in 2015.

In contrast, Lockheed Martin’s investment in Rocket Lab is mentioned routinely in press coverage and was the subject of a jibe by departing Vector chairman Michael Stiassny to the Vector AGM last week.

However, the extent of Rocket Lab’s defence industry work has gone essentially unremarked. Details of this work had been removed from Rocket Lab’s website by the time the regulatory regime enabling the company’s activities in New Zealand came into law last year.

Many of the details are confidential, but documents available online, including archived pages from Rocket Lab’s website, give some insight into the defence work of a company that has marketed itself as a designer and manufacturer of “defence systems”.

Rocket Lab’s life as a defence contractor began in the two years after the launch of the Aotea 1 rocket from Great Mercury Island, near the Coromandel peninsula, in November 2009, when it won contracts from at least three US defence agencies.

One contract was for the Operationally Responsive Space Office – a joint initiative of several space agencies within the US Department of Defense – for Rocket Lab to study a booster, a small electronics system and a launch vehicle to place small-satellites into orbit.

Another contract required Rocket Lab to research high density rocket propellants for the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). ONR is the main research agency for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, while DARPA is the Pentagon agency tasked with developing technologies that “maintain and advance the capabilities and technical superiority of the United States military.

Annual DARPA expenditure documents show contracts for Rocket Lab valued at US$102,299 in 2010and US$400,000 in 2011. The documents state that the funding was administered by the “TTO”, DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, whose website describes its mission as “to provide or prevent strategic and tactical surprise with very high-payoff, high-risk development and demonstration of revolutionary new platforms”.

The outcome of the DARPA research was a Viscous Liquid Monopropellant (or VLM) – a rocket fuel with characteristics of both solid and liquid fuels. A US patent for the VLM, filed in March 2012 but not approved until May this year, sets out various potential uses, including as a propellant for sub-orbital airborne missiles.

Rocket Lab demonstrated the VLM in November 2012 to international representatives of “government military agencies”.

In response to questions from The Spinoff last week, Rocket Lab says that the VLM “has not been deployed for use”.

It was around this time that Rocket Lab’s involvement with Lockheed Martin began. In November 2010, Rocket Lab stated that it had supplied Lockheed Martin, along with the Australian Defence Force, with some thermal ablative material – a plastic product that protects metal in high temperatures.

A Rocket Lab press release from June 2012 states that this material had been “selected as an alternative material for thermal protection on Patriot missiles”.

The Patriot Missile is a surface-to-air missile system that has been used by the US, Israeli and Saudi militaries, including in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Lockheed Martin is a major producer of Patriot missiles.

Rocket Lab confirmed to The Spinoff that its ablative material has been “evaluated and qualified for use in high-temperature aerospace applications, including on ground infrastructure for anti-missile systems. Less than 20kg of the ablative material was produced for this.”

One of Rocket Lab’s military projects at this time did receive a degree of media attention.

“Instant Eyes”, the product of a partnership with US defence contractor L2 Aerospace, was an unmanned aerial vehicle launched from a hand-held rocket that provided high-resolution imagery to its users on the ground.

Rocket Lab told The Spinoff that Instant Eyes was intended for use by “first responders requiring real-time situational awareness in scenarios such as forest fires and search and rescue operations”.

However, marketing materials from the time refer to its applications for “tactical missions” and “covert use”, and include images of US soldiers. The Rocket Lab website compared it to other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tools for the battlefield, such as the Pointer, Raven or Predator – all drones used by the US military.

“It’s meant for instant intelligence, so you can get a picture of what’s on the other side of the building or what’s on the other side of the hill,” Lance Lord, the founder of L2 Aerospace and a retired four-star general and former head of Air Force Space Command, told Florida Today at the time.

In March and April 2012  Instant Eyes was tested in preparation for demonstrations to “NATO and US Military users”.

However, Rocket Lab told The Spinoff that it was never deployed to market or used in the field.

Since Lockheed Martin’s investment, Rocket Lab’s work for US military agencies has continued. According to the Federal Procurement Data System, the database that lists significant contracting from the US federal government, Rocket Lab signed deals with agencies of the Department of Defense in September 2015, October 2017 and May 2018.

The 2015 contract, worth US$99,964 for DARPA, required Rocket Lab to demonstrate how a small launch vehicle could use Automated Flight Termination technology, a system to automatically terminate rocket launches, including to protect public safety.

The abstract for the funding indicated the technology might be used in support of the “XS-1 program”, DARPA’s experimental spaceplane that will allow the US military to put satellites into orbit at short notice.

The 2017 contract, worth US$5.7 million for the Air Force Research Laboratory, was for “a prototype project in the area of interest small responsive launch”. No other information is available.

The 2018 contract is the most significant. Worth US$6.5 million, it appears to require Rocket Lab to launch a classified secret DARPA satellite into orbit.

The statement of work for the contract does not detail what the satellite will do, describing it only as a “RF Risk Reduction Deployment (R3D2) spacecraft”. But it does state that the contract performer “will require access and safeguarding for the classified SECRET R3D2 satellite” and that “as a result, the selected performer must have, or otherwise be able to obtain a SECRET Facility Clearance”.

An unclassified DARPA budget justification document explains the agency’s interest in responsive space launches of the kind Rocket Lab might provide.

“A space force structure that is robust against attack represents a stabilizing deterrent against adversary attacks on space assets. The keys to a secure space environment are situational awareness to detect and characterize potential threats, a proliferation of assets to provide robustness against attack, ready access to space, and a flexible infrastructure for maintaining the capabilities of on-orbit assets.”

The document explains that DARPA intends to leverage commercial industry plans to launch small satellites in support of its objectives. Transcripts of the US Congressional Committee on Armed Services outline that Rocket Lab is one of several companies to have met with defence and intelligence agencies to discuss “small Launch-on-Demand missions”.

Speaking to the Committee in May 2017, General John Raymond, the Commander of Air Force Space Command, described one workshop attended by Rocket Lab as being “to gain awareness of industry capabilities and timelines required to execute small Launch-on-Demand missions”, and that it was to be followed by separate meetings with each company to “discuss costs and planning required to meet DOD responsive/rapid launch concepts and desired capabilities”.

Lockheed Martin’s investment in Rocket Lab also appears to be connected to demand from the US government.

In February this year, the general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures, Chris Moran, told Space News: “We need low-cost access to space and high potential frequency of access, which would open different mission types.

“The US government was pushing us to have that kind of access, so we made that investment in Rocket Lab in their Series B.”

In 2015 Peter Beck told Stuff that Lockheed Martin’s investment would go toward both the Electron rocket programme and other “strategic joint programmes”, but said the details of this were commercially sensitive.

In a statement to The Spinoff, Rocket Lab said that it has no joint strategic projects with Lockheed Martin. It says that Lockheed Martin Space Systems made a minority investment in the company in 2015.

The size of Lockheed Martin’s stake in the company is not public, in part because Rocket Lab USA is incorporated in Delaware, which requires minimal disclosure by companies.

Lockheed Martin was this year awarded a contract by the UK Space Agency to launch rockets from a proposed launch site in Sutherland, Scotland, and has said that it is considering using Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket for launches from the site. Rocket Lab says that it is evaluating the Sutherland site as an additional launch site, among others.

Responding to questions from The Spinoff, Rocket Lab said that its mission is to open access to space to improve life on Earth.

“This means enabling more small satellites to reach orbit and provide crucial data and services that improve the way we understand our planet, how we connect with each other, how we protect people and resources, and how we innovate and explore.

“Many of the space-based applications relied on by consumers today are funded and operated by the defence sector, including systems like GPS (Global Positioning System), which is operated by the US Air Force.

“Rocket Lab is committed to the safe, peaceful and responsible use of space. The company will not launch weapons, nor will it launch payloads that are contrary to national security interests.”

However, peace advocates say that Rocket Lab’s involvement with the defence sector is inconsistent with pursuing peace on Earth.

“For Rocket Lab to contribute to the advancement of humanity they need to get out of the military industrial complex,” said Valerie Morse, a spokesperson for Peace Action Auckland.

“The US Department of Defense is a military agency. As far as the peace movement is concerned the provision of goods and services to the military is an instance of participation in the arms trade.

“I think that most people in New Zealand do not actually support the development of weaponry and particularly do not support the use of public money for the development of US military weapons. That’s really the connection that needs to be made. If Lockheed is involved we are talking about weapons.”

Rocket Lab is not alone among space companies in working for the defence sector. Both Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are undertaking significant contracts for US defence agencies.

But what sets Rocket Lab apart is the support it has received from the New Zealand government both through research and development funding from Callaghan Innovation – of up to $10 million, according to Peter Beck – and now investment from ACC.

ACC’s investment guidelines prohibit it from investing directly in companies involved in nuclear explosive devices, anti-personnel mines, and cluster munitions. Its Direct Investment Exclusions Listexplicitly prohibits investment in Lockheed Martin or its subsidiaries due to its involvement in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

As international media outlets continue to point out, Rocket Lab is no longer New Zealand’s responsibility alone. Rocket Lab is a chiefly US-owned company. Last month it announced its second launch site would be in the state of Virginia, and that it is eyeing up others in Europe and Asia. Yet while its connections to the US and the defence industry continue to grow, New Zealand remains critical to its operations, as ACC’s investment shows.


Winners of Future City Activators Hackathon Secure Funding from Christchurch City Council

Monday, November 26th, 2018


Wai Watch were the winners of our recent Future City Activator hackathon with their solution to curb Christchurch’s extraordinarily high residential water usage.  After many months of working closely with Christchurch City Council’s Innovation and Sustainability Committee, we are so pleased to be able to congratulate the Wai Watch team for securing funding for their first pilot programme!  Congratulations Wai Watch!

AWS Startup Day coming soon!

Monday, November 26th, 2018


Wed 12 December 2018

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM


Ministry of Awesome, Kahukura Building, Ara Institute Campus, Madras Street, Christchurch 8011

View Map

Come and learn from the Amazon Web Services NZ team about how Startups thrive and grow on AWS.  They’ll be in town on Wednesday, 12 December and hosted by Canterbury Tech and Ministry of Awesome at MoA’s new HQ in central Christchurch.

AWS will talk about how to get going fast, experiment often, and scale your startup with AWS.   They’ll also update you on feature and service announcements fresh from their huge North American AWS Re:Invent customer conference happening this week in the US.  The session is completely free but places are limited so please ensure you register your interest early.

Register Here 


Astrolab launches $20million runway for tech startups

Monday, November 26th, 2018

Astrolab is making a special appearance at  Coffee and Jam on Tuesday, 4 December to announce their new startup high-tech fund to Christchurch and Canterbury innovators.  If this sounds like you and your team and you believe in your tech, get down to Coffee and Jam at 1230 on Tuesday, 4 December to hear from the Astrolab team.   Spread the word!

The new Christchurch style: Old boys out, entrepreneurs in

Monday, November 19th, 2018

The earthquakes have changed the culture in genteel Christchurch.

Now it’s more about how you can contribute than who you went to school with, writes Steven Moe.

I grew up in Christchurch, but not the one that exists today. I lived in the non-Ōtautahi version – the pre-earthquakes mini-England you wouldn’t recognise if you came to visit now. Today it is proudly Ōtautahi Christchurch, and the vibe has shifted. That’s a good thing and is one of several reasons I moved back to Canterbury at the start of 2016 after 14 years away.

Something deeper happened when the earth moved and tossed buildings to the ground. The way of thinking itself was shaken up and impacted as well. We need to move beyond the image of construction and recovery or the initial impressions of ruin you might still see if you only go on a short drive through or just listen to others who visited. What is it that has changed?

Firstly, you cannot go through an experience where human life has been lost and remain unaffected. Just about everyone in Christchurch knows someone who had a family member or friend who was injured or killed. While the collective impact of this will fade, the experience caused many to reprioritise what they value in life. That has led to an attitude of being willing to try new things and less fear of failure: Life is short.

Christchurch now has a thriving startup ecosystem. Co-working spaces are packed with entrepreneurs, as is the weekly “Coffee & Jam” session run each Tuesday by Ministry of Awesome where two people (often entrepreneurs) present what they are doing. Canterbury has the second largest tech sector in New Zealand with 15,000 employed. The annual Canterbury Tech summitattracts a crowd of 700 and is regularly oversubscribed.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that people from outside Christchurch refer to “the earthquake” whereas people from Christchurch refer to the plural “earthquakes”. That use of language is significant because it underscores the length of the experience people have endured. This was not a one-off event, it went on for months and years, and those who were not here at the time struggle to understand this. I am one of those people who slips sometimes and says “earthquake” because I was living in Japan (experiencing another big earthquake there) back in 2010/2011. The hardship goes on for those who have outstanding EQC claims, and we see constant reminders as new buildings spring up on cleared lots.

People are also very accessible and willing to help others in Christchurch, and this is boosted by the networks being in closer proximity than in a larger city such as Auckland. Provided you look to add value to conversations and are willing to give to others you are welcomed in. This is in contrast to Sydney, Tokyo and London where I have also lived, and is counter to the outdated perception that Christchurch relies on ‘old boys networks’. Yes, they exist, but they are less important than before.

Another change is that there are now whole new communities rising up around Christchurch that didn’t exist in that way prior to the earthquakes. Many people choose to live just outside of the city in growing satellite communities, often commuting in. I live in Rolleston to the south and it is a good case study. Pre-earthquakes it was a sleepy settlement of around 1000 people; now the population is almost 18,000. It feels as if the pace of growth is ramping up even further, with a motorway opening to cut commuting time and new subdivisions announced constantly. When pretty much everyone has moved into a community like this there is a more open culture and willingness to engage with others.

Christchurch has a host of advantages over other cities and it makes me wonder when people in Auckland and Wellington are going to realise. It is uniquely positioned for those who love the outdoors, with skiing at Mt Hutt an hour away, beaches on the outskirts and great trails and mountain bike riding in the Port Hills. House prices are literally half that of Auckland. Throw in world-class facilities such as the new library Tūranga, and there are compelling reasons to look twice.

Large global technology companies seem to have caught on, with some having bought ventures here but not relocated them offshore, such as Verizon, which bought fleet tracking software firm Telogis, and Insight Venture Partners which purchased software-as-a-service company Diligent.

If you haven’t been to Ōtautahi Christchurch in a while you may not be aware of the new undercurrent. When visiting other parts of New Zealand and overseas people often ask me, ‘how are things going?’, with the slight head tilt and tone of voice they might use if asking about a sick relative. I usually nod and smile then give some of the examples in this article of what I’m seeing on the ground.

There is a chance now to proactively build up a new culture alongside the many new buildings opening across the city. If that continues we’ll see transformation at a level deeper than just infrastructure, and Ōtautahi Christchurch will rise to become even better than it was in the past.

Steven Moe is a Christchurch lawyer and hosts the weekly podcast seeds.

Working together to apply AI for social good

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018 is issuing an open call to organizations around the world to submit their ideas for how they could use AI to help address societal challenges. Selected organizations will receive support from Google’s AI experts, grant funding from a $25M pool, credit and consulting from Google Cloud, and more.

At Google, we believe that artificial intelligence can provide new ways of approaching problems and meaningfully improve people’s lives. That’s why we’re excited to support organizations that are using the power of AI to address social and environmental challenges. Selected applicants will receive coaching from Google’s AI experts, grant funding from a $25 million pool, and credits and consulting from Google Cloud. Grantees will also join a specialized Launchpad Accelerator program, and we’ll tailor additional support to each project’s needs in collaboration with data science nonprofit DataKind.

We’re looking for projects across a range of social impact domains and levels of technical expertise, from organizations that are experienced in AI to those with an idea for how they could be putting their data to better use. Since 2005, has invested in innovative organizations that are using technology to build a better world. For more information on what we’re looking for in this Challenge and what we mean when we say AI, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.

To help you understand how AI may be able to help your organization have greater impact, we’ve put together a set of educational resources. If you are new to AI, we recommend starting with the self-study Introduction to Machine Learning Problem Framing course.

We look forward to reviewing your ideas.

Application criteria

Impact. How will the proposed project address a societal challenge, and to what extent? Is the application grounded in research and data about the problem and the solution? Is there a clear plan to deploy the AI model for real-world impact, and what are the expected outcomes?

Feasibility. Does the team have a well-­developed, realistic plan to execute on the proposal? Does the team have a plan to access a meaningful dataset and technical expertise to apply AI to the problem? Have they identified the right partners and domain experts needed for implementation?

Use of AI. Does the proposal apply AI technology to tackle the issue it seeks to address?

Scalability. If successful, how can this project scale beyond the initial proposal? Can it scale directly, serve as a model for other efforts, or advance the field?

Responsibility. Does the proposed use of artificial intelligence align with Google’s AI Principles? See Google’s Responsible AI Practices for practical guidance.


How to apply

If you have an idea and your organization is eligible (see FAQs), you’re ready to apply. Download our application and apply through the link below.

Organizations will have until 11:59:59pm PST January 22, 2019 to submit their applications. After the deadline, Google and our panel of experts will review proposals and announce grant recipients in spring 2019.!/page/1


Practical Tools for Active Startups – Intensive Online Marketing Workshop

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018


Fri 23 November 2018, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM


GreenHouse, 146a Lichfield Street, Christchurch, Canterbury 8011

As a follow-up to our recent Practical Tools for Active Startups – Online Marketing session with Sam Frost, we are pleased to present this strictly limited hands-on workshop with Sam. This session is suitable as a follow-up for those who attended the previous session and for any startups which require more intensive digital marketing support.

In this practical workshop, participants will be guided through the process of implementing an effective online marketing campaign and can expect to conclude the session with one or more new campaigns which they can then track against their historical efforts.

Participants must have at least one active/recent online marketing campaign on Google Ads or Facebook Ads, and must have access to a minimum of 2 weeks of performance data which can be used to analyse how their current efforts are tracking. This event is targeted at active startups with $1,000/mo to $100,000/mo+ in revenue.

This session will be held from 9am to 1pm on Friday the 23rd November at Greenhouse and includes morning tea. We look forward to seeing you there!

Tickets are available for Members and Non-Members of Startup Christchurch. If you are not yet a Member of Startup Christchurch and would like access to a Member ticket, please sign up HERE.

Launch Club: Success metrics, legal foundations and next steps Workshop

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018


Launch Club is Ministry of Awesome‘s Startup Activation programme tailored for early-stage entrepreneurs who want to spend focused time developing their venture and defining their pathway to success.

The programme is heavily interactive with each workshop led by sector experts on key business topics.

Having a grip on your success metrics is key to running a successful business operation.

Our experienced accountant will show you which metrics to track to understand a company’s performance in real time. Then we will look at the legal set up of your young business reviewing issues such as intellectual property, company ownership, licensing, and customer agreements.

In the second half of this session, we will concentrate on your very next steps and how to build accountability into your growth process. We will also look at developing strategic partnerships and how to effectively communicate your elevator pitch and build powerful networks.


Kris Morrison: Kris is a Partner at Parry Field Lawyers and leads corporate, technology, and startup advisory team at Parry Field Lawyers. He is an expert in business structuring and IP law.Kris acts for a number of not for profits, charities and social enterprises. assisting with a range of issues including drafting of constitutions, trust deeds and operational rules, incorporation, charitable registration and schedule 32 applications.

Anthony Rohan: Anthony is a Chartered Accountant and has worked in CA firms since 2000 and now is the Director of Fairground Accounting. He has been involved with a wide range of community-led initiatives including co-founding a youth charity in Christchurch and sitting as a Trustee on various NFP boards.

Marian Johnson: Marian is Ministry of Awesome’s Chief Awesome Officer. She is an experienced business strategy and growth leader having bootstrapped at local tech startups as well as exercised the executional power and resource of multinationals like Universal Entertainment and Discovery Networks. She has a passion for creativity and the beautiful optimism of this innovative 21st Century.


Thu 29 November 2018, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM


Startup Breakfast Club: Jumpstart Your Startup in 2019

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018


The Breakfast Club is your monthly morning caffeine hit where you’ll find valuable social networks, gain business insight, and find the critical support to power your venture forward.
As 2018 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the hard-work, successes (and perhaps failures) that saw you through the last 12 months, and set new goals for the future.
That’s why we’re going to help you jumpstart your startup at our next Breakfast Club this December. We’ll be sharing our tips, tricks and resources to help you grow your business, venture, or idea over January, and will take a look at how setting goals can help you achieve your objectives in less time, and with less stress, than usual.
As the last Startup Breakfast Club for the year, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to network, meet likeminded people and set your goals for 2019. See you there!
There’ll be free flowing coffee and breakfast as usual, so secure your spot by registering for this FREE event today!
The Start-up Breakfast Club is ALWAYS sold out in advance, so register early to make sure you don’t miss out. Register by Tuesday 4th of December.


Thu 6 December 2018, 7:00 AM – 8:45 AM


Kahukura Building

Ara Institute of Canterbury, Corner of Moorhouse Ave and  St

Christchurch, Canterbury 8011

Register online for this free event

Tech Activator Sessions #37

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Ministry of Awesome’s Tech Activator Sessions are made up of 20-minute mentoring sessions where tech entrepreneurs of all sizes and stages talk through their tech startup, venture or idea and get focused feedback from our Startup Activation Coordinator and a veteran panel of tech experts. This is your opportunity to use their expertise and networks to ensure your best possible chance of success.

Spaces are limited, and the programme is almost always sold out so make sure you get in quick.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Select a 20-minute appointment that works for you and tell us about your idea or your business.
  2. Feel free to bring along any materials that will assist you (notes, drawings, websites, photos, presentations, etc.) or just bring you.
  3. These sessions are always sold out so please show up on time, get ready to focus, and gear up for a great session.

We can’t wait to help you make your dream a reality or help you get on that road to successful entrepreneurship whatever that looks like for you.

All sessions take place at Ministry of Awesome, Ground Floor, Kahukura Building, Corner of Moorhouse Ave and Madras St, Christchurch.


Wed 28 November 2018

2:00 PM – 6:00 PM


Kahukura Building

Corner of Moorhouse Avenue and Madras Street

Ara Institute of Canterbury

Christchurch, Canterbury 8011

Brother-sister duo build crypto investment platform

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

Source bizEDGE Sara Barker

A brother and sister team is behind one of New Zealand’s newest cryptocurrency exchange platforms designed for everyday investors. Alan and Janine Grainger, who are seasoned cryptocurrency investors, came up with the concept after discovering that friends and family were also interested but they simply didn’t know where to begin.

“We have both been investing in cryptocurrency for a number of years, and have a strong belief in the potential of cryptocurrency and blockchain to improve the world and change how society and our economies work,” says Janine Grainger.

“However, we had lots of friends and family wanting to get into it who found it very daunting and didn’t know where to start. There were plenty of barriers to entry, and they didn’t know what to do.”

The Graingers then developed Easy Crypto, a platform that they say is the only end-to-end service in New Zealand. The platform launched in early 2018.

It helps users buy cryptocurrency and set up an online wallet they can use to store investments. So far New Zealanders are investing an average of $844, although investment options range from $100 up to $10,000.

You may think that a family business like this could lead to some tricky situations, but they say that it has worked well so far.

“Alan and I have really complementary skill sets, which is perfect for this kind of project,” says Janine Grainger.

“Alan does all the tech – he built our MVP in a week – and I bring the financial services and compliance expertise. Those complementary skill sets weren’t something we were consciously aware of before, but now we’re very aware that neither of us could have gotten it off the ground or could continue to run it without the other.”

Alan Grainger adds that the platform basically exists who want to try out cryptocurrency investment, not so much for those who want to invest huge amounts or their life savings into crypto.

While some cryptocurrency platforms are plagued by scams, the Graingers were careful to establish Easy Crypto as a legitimate and trusted business in New Zealand.

“Most cryptocurrency businesses get a bank account and when it gets shut down they just move to the next bank,” explains Janine Grainger.

“We wanted to do it right – working with the banks rather than working around them – so that the banks have trust in what we’re doing and our customers have confidence that we’ll do right by them. While it may take time it means we do it the right way – and it gives us a good chance of still being here in ten years.”

Get ready for the biggest tax changes in a generation

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

Source bizEDGE Sara Barker

The biggest tax changes in a generation are coming, and they will affect almost every business household and business across the country.

Inland Revenue is about to ramp up a major public information and awareness and campaign to explain the changes, ahead of the April 2019 tax year.

“For the first time, automated tax assessments will see around 1.67 million New Zealanders get a tax refund paid straight into their bank account,” says Inland Revenue Commissioner Naomi Ferguson.

“About 720,000 of those people will not have had any recent contact with IR, some not for 20-years or more, so it may come as a surprise. That’s why we’re running this campaign – to make sure as many people as possible understand what’s happening.”

She says that of those 720,000 people, about 530,000 will be people who earn less than the minimum wage or beneficiaries, which means they’ve never applied for a tax refund before.

The changes come hand-in-hand with the new payday filing process.

More than 330,000 Working for Families customers will also benefit from the new process with IR getting their wage and salary information immediately, allowing IR to adjust payments so customers are always getting the right amount.

“IR will get your payroll information on your paydays instead of employers having to do a separate report to us once a month. Payday filing is mandatory from 1 April and many have started already, says Ferguson.

“And for investments, the new system will see dividend and interest payments reported to IR more frequently by the banks and others who make the payments, so that taxpayers receiving them don’t have to.”

Inland Revenue customer segment lead Richard Owen adds that payday filing will make things easier for employers to submit pay information.

“Businesses will be able to integrate their tax obligations into their regular payroll cycles, while the more timely information will allow Inland Revenue to provide certainty around an employee’s social entitlements such as Working for Families Tax Credits,” he explains.

Ferguson adds that despite the changes, most people will be able to pay and receive the right amounts across the course of the year without having to do anything.

“That’s the point of all these changes – to make tax easier and more accurate for New Zealanders.”

“Come the April 2019 tax year our transformation process will see the ‘big ticket’ items –  GST, provisional tax, income tax, Working for Families and investment, all on the new system.

“The next steps, in the coming two to three, years will see child support, student loans and KiwiSaver bought in as well. We’ve made a lot of progress and will continue to do so.”

Inland Revenue will support its education campaign with print, radio and online advertising, a website, and direct communications to wage and salary earners.

The social enterprise sector comes of age

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018


From businesses doing good to charities running businesses and everything in between, social enterprise as an industry is growing up and holding its first national conference.

In 1942 the New Zealand poet Allen Curnow wrote: “Simply by sailing in a new direction, you could enlarge the world.” He was talking about the first European explorers arriving in New Zealand on their wooden ships but his statement could also apply to the expanding social enterprise movement in New Zealand.

The movement is actively pushing boundaries in the pursuit of a combination of both profit and purpose. It involves re-imagining the future of business as a means to provide incomes for employees and generate profit for owners, while also addressing social or environmental needs. In short, the organisation acts ‘for purpose’.

So where are we on the social enterprise journey in New Zealand? Is it even right to start describing this as a sector, and where does social enterprise fit in the spectrum between charity on the one side and entrepreneurial upstarts on the other? My view is that social enterprise is now charting into new territory and enlarging our understanding of the world, and that is shown by a few indicators on our map.

First, the sure sign of legitimacy for a group is a national conference devoted to gathering like-minded people together. A year ago in Christchurch the Social Enterprise World Forum was held with more than 1,600 attending. A global event held in this country was perhaps an unusual mountaintop, but it certainly kick-started a lot of discussions and planted many seeds for those who attended.

But the truest signal that social enterprise as a sector has really landed here is happening this Friday, when Wellington Zoo plays host to the Ākina-organised Aotearoa Social Enterprise Forum. The day-long event will feature an overview of the scene in New Zealand as well as 14 sessions on topics such as

  •       measuring impact
  •       Māori and indigenous enterprise
  •       social procurement
  •       youth and social enterprise
  •       legal structures for social enterprises
  •       activating impact investment
  •       environmental accountability

These topics show that those involved are thinking more deeply about the real impact and implications of starting a social enterprise. They are important issues for those involved in starting or running social enterprises, although some cautions and questions I wrote about here almost a year ago still apply. The credibility of the sector will depend on social entrepreneurs having some good answers.

I’ve certainly noticed an elevation in the thinking among the 65 guests interviewed for my podcast, seeds, which focuses on social entrepreneurs. The depth of understanding about the basics of social enterprise we are seeing now has been revealing. It’s like we really are sailing in the new direction that Allen Curnow talked about, which is opening up new horizons for the possibilities of social enterprise.

Additional evidence of this local growth in social enterprise is the fact that the term itself is becoming more widely known, discussed and – most importantly – understood. That wasn’t the case even a year ago. You can also see changes in how each end of the charity/business axis is approaching social enterprise principles. For example, an increasing number of entrepreneurs are incorporating social enterprise into their standard business models. It’s clear that younger generations do this more naturally than previous ones, who were more likely infected by the “greed is good” mantra of movies like Wall Street.

A diverse range of start-ups are demonstrating this. Check out the stories of 27 Seconds, a social enterprise winery where profits go towards reducing modern day slavery (more on Alanna Chapman and their journey here),  Crave Café in Morningside (Nigel Cottle’s story is here and earlier in Spinoff here), or Digital Journey which provides free resources for companies to check their internet presence and promotes better use of technology (hear Stuart Dillon-Roberts’ story here).

But what about corporates? They’re getting in on the act too. NZ Post recently introduced a new “Social Procurement” strategy as a way for it to interact and engage meaningfully with social enterprises. Earlier this year it won the Sustainability Project of the Year award at the New Zealand Procurement Excellence Awards for its efforts in this area. There are many other private, public and not-for-profit entities also interested in pursuing a social procurement approach in New Zealand. It’s an encouraging trend: a large customer base that social enterprises can sell their goods and services to will be vital for their long term success.

Over in the ‘traditional’ not-for-profit world, many charities are realising that grant funding can only go so far, and they are exploring other ways (including setting up businesses) to achieve their charitable purposes. An example is Pathway, a charitable trust that helps prisoners reintegrate into society. Pathway has two companies which operate for profit while also providing employment for the very group the trust is focused on. Other examples of larger charities operating businesses areTrade Aid and Kilmarnock , both of which provide employment opportunities for those with disabilities (hear an interview with Kilmarnock CEO Michelle Sharp here and read more here).

It would be remiss not to mention the other big growth area, impact investing. Social enterprises need funding to start and grow. New Zealand now boasts its own impact investing network and earlier this month it was announced that the Impact Investing National Advisory Board of Aotearoa New Zealand has become a member of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investing. A real-life example of this trend here is the Impact Enterprise Fund that had a first close of an impressive NZ$8 million. Impact Ventures’ Chris Simcock is currently working on finding investment opportunities for that fund and he explained how this whole area is evolving in New Zealand when I spoke to himrecently. Another local example is the work of Soul Capital which invests in social enterprises.

Lastly, it is heartening to see that business in general is becoming more aware of social enterprise concepts; it may be that more organisations will self-identify as social enterprises in the near future. Research is currently being undertaken on whether options including new legal structures to empower social entrepreneurs would help the sector grow. Enabling organisations (whatever their legal form) to act with purpose and helping them articulate, clearly communicate and report on their purpose will become increasingly vital. There is also a growing realisation of how important it is that the work of social enterprises not become isolated as something “they do”. Instead the ethos behind the movement must be encouraged to permeate the mainstream business world as well.

It really is an exciting time to be involved with social enterprises as we further expand the boundaries and explore what it means in the New Zealand context – for example, what businessescan learn from Māoritanga that is unique and distinctive.

It will be fascinating to watch what emerges from the hui this week in Wellington as more connections are made among those who attend. The social enterprise sector is here to stay. I hope those on the journey will continue to sail in new directions and in doing so the world will keep enlarging as we push out further and discover more about the power of doing business that also does good.

Steven Moe is a lawyer and the host of the seeds podcast, which features interviews with social entrepreneurs. He is the author of Social Enterprises in NZ: a legal handbook, available for free by email:

The Spinoff’s business section is enabled by our friends at Kiwibank. Kiwibank backs small 

Innovation Ecosystem Breakfast – 2 November 7-9 am

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018
The 2nd annual Christchurch and Canterbury Innovation Ecosystem Breakfast  is now scheduled for 2 November, 7-9AM, at MoA’s new location in the Kahukura Building off Moorhouse Ave.  Please make sure you grab yourself a registration now via the Eventbrite page which is located here.

What’s the secret to high-growth startup success?

If you’re deep in the startup grind or mid-growth slump, you’ll find the inspiration, the network, and the support you need right here at this FREE breakfast event.

From rocking the global aerospace industry to helping Facebook run better ad platforms, we’ve collected some truly inspirational Cantabrian entrepreneurs together to tell their Christchurch startup story and share their recipes for success. Then – it’s over to you with the opportunity to actively engage and network with our truly awesome innovation ecosystem who are all there to help you.

Whether you’re looking for investment options or business support, our support teams are here to help you succeed. If you’re not already engaged with this network and you are an innovator, entrepreneur, or startup with high growth potential, this event is absolutely for you.

Don’t let your entrepreneurial journey be a lonely one – get in quick and grab a ticket before they’re sold out!

Here’s how the morning will run:

7.00am – Registration opens for a 7.10am start.

7.10am- Welcome address from Joanna Norris, CEO, ChristchurchNZ

7.20am- Intro to panelists and ecosystem, Q&A begins

7.50am- Break out for networking with service providers and support teams

9.00am- Finish

About our speakers & panelists.

Joanna Norris – CEO – ChristchurchNZ

Glenn Bull, CEO, Skilitics 

Paul Bingham, co-Founder, Shuttlerock

Mark Rocket, Founder, Kea Aerospace

Emily Heazlewood – Romer

Kaila Colbin – co-Founder – Boma

Krissy Sadler-Bridge, NZ Marketing Manager – MYOB

Connect with Unreal Engine on Sunday 21st October in New Zealand

Thursday, October 18th, 2018


Following up on recent stops in Melbourne and Adelaide, Epic Games is excited to announce that developers in both New Zealand and Australia can connect with us next week during special events designed to equip devs with tools to get started and grow in UE4: David Stelzer, Epic’s US-based Unreal Engine licensing manager; Chris Murphy, our evangelist for Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia; and Jack Porter, Unreal Engine mobile team lead based out of Epic Games Korea.

Epic Games Presents: An Introduction to Unreal Engine
Where: EPIC Innovation Center | 78-100 Manchester St · Christchurch, New Zealand
When: Sunday, October 21 | 2pm – 5pm

Hosted by the Christchurch Game Development Meetup group, you’re invited to join us for Introduction to Unreal Engine, a live training workshop where participants will learn the basics of creating their first project in UE4.

This introductory tutorial assumes participants have basic 3D game development understanding, but no prior experience with UE4. You will learn the basics of creating a game from starter content using the UE4 Blueprint visual scripting system. Blueprints are easily leveraged by all game development disciplines, so artists, designers and programmers are all welcome.

Topics we’ll cover include: project setup, controller setup, importing assets, building materials, creating character classes, creating AI, navigation, blending animation, spawning enemies, maintaining game state, and configuring in-game UI. We will also cover design principles, Blueprint debugging and performance optimization techniques.

SLI-Systems celebrates with a “carnival”

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Yesterday the staff held a carnival. A gazebo was erected and festooned with lights, stuffed animals and confectionery galore. If you had a sweet tooth it was your dream come true. With a candy floss machine ably manned by Wayne producing pink and blue candy floss we remember from our childhood, a popcorn machine was producing bowls of popcorn, there was a machine producing snow cones, and an old time lolly dispenser giving you jelly beans and giant M&M’s.Others made themselves big ice creams in giant waffle cones.

A great way to celebrate success


Remote working: The ticket to happier and healthier employees?

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Businesses that allow employees to work remotely also reap the benefits of increased employee productivity, happiness and health, according to a new survey commissioned by LogMeIn.
It found that many New Zealanders and Australians are opting to work remotely, and the concept of a standard eight-hour shift is on the decline.

The survey polled 1000 people across A/NZ, the UK, France, Germany and India, and found that despite some level of guilt about being away from the office, remote working is making people happier and healthier.

More than half (57%) of New Zealand office workers are now able to work remotely if they choose to. Of those who do, 70% say it gives them more flexibility in their hours or breaks, 43% say it’s easier to focus, 40% say it’s easier to take care of family members, and 39% say they feel more productive when the work remotely.

New Zealand and Australian respondents also experience the benefits of improved happiness and mental health – 40% of Kiwis and 35% of Australians agree.

Remote working also slashes commute times – of the New Zealand respondents, 67% say cost and geographic distance are the two biggest factors that encourage employees to work remotely.

While some New Zealand workers do feel guilty about working remotely and battle with negative perceptions that it’s less productive than being in the office (56%), they also feel more pressure to appear ‘more responsive’ on email and other communication platforms. What’s more, 22% also felt pressured to work more hours, which affects family and free time.

“We’ve uncovered that while over a third of workers find it easier to focus while working from home and report numerous benefits, they feel that there’s a perception from the outset that they are slacking off,” comments LogMeIn VP Eduardo Cocozza.

“This means they end up sending more emails and being more responsive on other team chat platforms than they necessarily would do while in the office, just to prove they’re working. This is clearly a problem. Businesses need to trust their employees to do their jobs and ensure they act on this opportunity to improve employee wellbeing and satisfaction.”

Remote working does have some downsides – respondents also report loneliness/lack of camaraderie with office peers (40% of NZ workers), less communication (32%), and some face significant technology or connectivity issues (32%).

There is an optimum balance between remote working and working from the office when the option is available to them – and 82% of all polled office workers think remote working opportunities are the future of business.

While 76% of New Zealanders say they are most productive in an office, many feel they do their best work outside of it. 44% of Kiwis would ideally work from home, while 12% prefer a public space.

What’s more, 7% of New Zealand respondents would be interested in a position that allows remote working all of the time. 54% of New Zealand office workers stated that their ideal working situation includes working part of the day/week in an office and part at home or on-the-go.

67% of NZ respondents would be more likely to take a job with a remote work option than if it was offered without the option. 22% of respondents would also be willing to take a job with lower pay if it allowed them to work remotely.

“For businesses looking to grow and succeed in the future, offering work from home opportunities will be vital to their success. Even allowing employees to work from home once a week can boost productivity as well as morale,” comments Cocozza.

Long gone are the days of traditional office work in the confines of an office setting. Office workers are looking to live more environmentally friendly lives, save money on their commute, and have more flexible, family friendly schedules which allow them to get more done and be more productive than if they had co-workers constantly distracting them in an office setting,” Cocozza concludes.
Source Sara Barker

Cyber criminals using lookalike online shopping domains to phish buyers

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Machine identity protection provider Venafi has released research on the explosion of lookalike domains, which are routinely used to steal sensitive data from online shoppers.

Venafi’s research analysed suspicious domains targeting the top 20 retailers in five key markets: the US, UK, France, Germany and Australia.

As the rate of online shopping increases, customers are being targeted through lookalike domains.

Cyber attackers create these fake domains by substituting a few characters in the URLs.

Because they point to malicious online shopping sites that mimic legitimate, well-known retail websites, it makes it increasingly difficult for customers to detect the fake domains.

Additionally, given that many of these malicious pages use a trusted TLS certificate, they appear to be safe for online shoppers who unknowingly provide sensitive account information and payment data.

Venafi senior threat intelligence analyst Jing Xie says, “Domain spoofing has always been a cornerstone technique of web attacks that focus on social engineering, and the movement to encrypt all web traffic does not shield legitimate retailers against this very common technique.”

“Because malicious domains now must have a legitimate TLS certificate in order to function, many companies feel that certificate issuers should own the responsibility of vetting the security of these certificates. In spite of significant advances in the best practices followed by certificate issuers, this is a really bad idea.”

Xie says, “No organisation should rely exclusively on certificate authorities to detect suspicious certificate requests.”

“For example, cyber attackers recently set up a lookalike domain for NewEgg, a website with over 50 million visitors a month. The lookalike domain used a trusted TLS certificate issued by the CA who followed all the best practices and baseline requirements.

“This phishing website was used to steal account and credit card data for over a month before it was shut down by security researchers.”

According to Venafi’s research, there has been an explosion in the number of potentially fraudulent domains.

There are more than double the number of lookalike domains compared to legitimate domains, and every online retailer studied is being targeted.

Key findings from the research include:

  • The total number of certificates for lookalike domains is more than 200% greater than the number of authentic retail domains.
  • Among the top 20 online German retailers, there are almost four times more lookalike domains than valid domains.
  • Major retailers present larger targets for cyber criminals. One of the top 20 US retailers has over 12,000 lookalike domains targeting their customers.
  • The growth in lookalike domains appears to be connected to the availability of free TLS certificates; 84% of the look-alike domains studied use free certificates from Let’s Encrypt.

As the holiday shopping season approaches, there will likely be an increase in lookalike domains. For online retailers that discover malicious domains, they can take several steps to protect their customers:

  • Search and report suspicious domains using Google Safe Browsing. Google Safe Browsing is an industry anti-phishing service that identifies and blacklists dangerous websites. Retailers can report a domain on the Google Safe Browsing site.
  • Report suspicious domains to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). The APWG is an international volunteer organisation that focuses on limiting cyber crime perpetrated through phishing. Retailers can report a suspicious domain at their site.
  • Add Certificate Authority Authorization (CAA) to the DNS records of domains and subdomains. CAA lets organisations determine which CAs can issue certificates for domains they own. It is an extension of the domain’s DNS record and supports property tags that let domains owners set CA policy for entire domains or for specific hostnames.
  • Leverage software packages to search for suspicious domains. Copyright infringement software may help retailers find malicious websites, stopping the unauthorised use of their logos or brands. Solutions that also provide anti-phishing functionality can help aid in the search for look-alike domains.

“Ultimately, we should expect even more malicious lookalike websites designed for social engineering to pop up in the future,” says Xie.

“In order to protect themselves, enterprises need effective means to discover domains that have a high probability of being malicious through monitoring and analysing certificate transparency logs.

“This way, they can leverage many recent industry advances to spot high-risk certificate registrations, crippling malicious sites before they cause damage by taking away their certificates.”

Source bizEDGE New Zealand

NZTech’s Graeme Muller on the R&D tax incentive

Thursday, October 4th, 2018


NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller has stated that the new research and development tax incentive introduced today by the government will ‘go a long way to helping inject even more growth into the tech sector’.

His full statement follows:

“Given the aim of introducing an R&D tax incentive was to support a broader range of eligible firms, it was excellent to see that the government has listened through the consultation process and taken on board advice to reduce the minimum level to $50,000 and increase the rate to 15%.

“New Zealand’s new R&D incentive scheme places us competitively with other leading tech nations such as Israel and the Netherlands who have very similar rates. The most positive change is the way R&D is being defined, removing a focus on scientific research to instead look at systematic approaches to solving scientific and technical uncertainty.

“This and other work the government has undertaken with tech firms to understand how they operate has resulted in a set of rules that should support the growing software sector. Introducing refundability of tax credits as a way to address the challenges of stimulating R&D in pre-profit firms was a clever way of enabling some of our highest growth tech firms to engage.

“This has been introduced for one year initially which will provide time for further consultation with the market to ensure an appropriate scheme is designed.

“Delaying the closure of the current growth grant scheme and allowing current recipients to apply for extensions should mean that most firms undertaking research via this method have an opportunity to complete the research or transition in time to the tax incentive scheme with little negative impact on their business.

“The government has acknowledged that there is still fine-tuning to do and that there will be some further simplification of rules, both of which should help ensure the new R&D tax incentive scheme is enduring and sustainable.”

The NZTech release says that the proof of its success will be in the implementation.

Tax guidelines always take a bit of time to bed in however with the government position being one of ongoing consultation and engagement we are confident that this is the start of a new era for R&D growth in New Zealand and further acceleration of the fastest growing sector.

New Zealand has a growing number of successful software firms like Xero, Pushpay, Soul Machines and Vend who spend significant amounts on R&D as their products need constant development.

The R&D incentive will promote New Zealand tech and innovation to the world and support the growth of the fastest growing and third biggest industry in the country.

Source bizEDGE New Zealand

Launch Club: Startup Activation Programme

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Commencing 25 October

Dates/Time and Where

Thu, 25/10/2018, 5:30 PM – Thu, 29/11/2018, 7:30 PM – Where? Kahukara Building, Ara Institute of Canterbury, Moorhouse Avenue, Christchurch

Launch Club is Ministry of Awesome’s Startup Activation programme tailored for early-stage entrepreneurs who want to spend focused time developing their venture and defining their pathway to success.

The programme will include:

  • Six 2-hour training workshops


  • 4 x 30-minute mentoring sessions with the Ministry of Awesome’s Startup Activator

Programme Structure

Vision and Customer Discovery

This first session focuses first on gaining clarity around the ‘why’ of your venture.  We will focus on developing your startup’s ‘Vision’, ‘Mission’, and your long-term goals.   Then, for the second half of our session, we will work on identifying the market need and your potential customers.  You will learn the process of customer discovery, how to identify your early adopters, and defining an impactful value proposition.

Thursday 25th October 2018

Prototyping and Validation

This session takes a critical look at your product or service, explores your pricing and business model, then shows you how to quickly test your product with potential customers and optimise until you have traction. You will understand how to use prototyping to validate your product with your customers and what to do with their feedback in order to ensure your product meets a robust customer need.

Thursday 1st November 2018

 Business Model & Pricing

In this session, we’re going to explore different types of business models and how each can be the key to building a sustainable enterprise.  You will through the lean business canvas and work through various business models to see which creates the best outcomes. You will then apply the detail – estimating the size of your market, what pricing might apply, what percentage of the market you might gain.  Finally, you will validate these assumptions.

Thursday 8th November 2018


Intelligent marketing drives growth.    In this session, we will look at how to develop a brand and support it with impactful storytelling.  We will look at how to develop an overarching marketing strategy and review some tactics that will execute that strategy.    You will gain a solid introduction to various marketing channels, tools, and techniques that can help you build awareness of your venture with your target customers.

Thursday 15th November 2018


Developing and maintaining a successful sales pipeline will be your single biggest challenge as an entrepreneur. In this interactive workshop,  participants will be introduced to various sales strategies, techniques, and the importance of developing a robust sales pipeline. This session will help in developing an understanding of the sales process and will teach you how to powerfully communicate your venture’s value proposition in order to achieve traction.

 Thursday 22nd November 2018

Success metrics, legal foundations, and next steps.

Having a grip on your success metrics is key to running a successful business operation.

Our experienced accountant will show you which metrics to track to understand a company’s performance in real time.  Then we will look at the legal set up of your young business reviewing issues such as intellectual property, company ownership, licensing, and customer agreements.

In the second half of this session, we will concentrate on your very next steps and how to build accountability into your growth process.  We will also look at developing strategic partnerships and how to effectively communicate your elevator pitch and build powerful networks.

Thursday 29th November 2018 – Book now

Christchurch Antarctic Ignite talk – by ‘Changemakers’

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

If you love everything Antarctica you’ll love our launch event for Antarctic Season Opening:



Thu. 27 September 2018 at 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Add to Calendar


La Vida conference Centre, 34A Hansons Lane,Upper Riccarton,Christchurch

View Map

It’s FREE, so head on down to Upper Riccarton on Thursday!

Book here

Antarctica is a complex, challenging and expensive business. Get a glimpse behind the scenes and hear about everything from killer whales to aviation through the eyes of ten, mostly Kiwi, Antarctic changemakers. Each speaker has 20 slides and just 20 seconds per slide to ignite your interest. Presentations are concise, and the atmosphere promises to be lively and fun.


7:00 pm First 5 speakers

7:45 pm 15 min intermission

8:00 pm Second 5 speakers

8:45 pm Thank our speakers.

This is just one of many Christchurch events to celebrate this week’s Antarctic Season Opening. (The first flight south is on Monday.) Check out the full programme here