Wharf42 sponsors the first ever Hardware Meetup AKL AgTech Event
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND – 25 October 2016: Wharf42 is delighted to be the main sponsor of Hardware Meetup AKL’s first ever meetup. The event’s theme is AgTech. It takes place on Wednesday 9th November from 5.30pm – 8.30pm at GridAKL, Wynyard Quarter. You can come along, grab a beer and some pizza, meet new people, and we will then talk hardware. Very, very cool hardware.
All you need to do to attend is book a ticket for the princely sum of $10 (nope, that is not a misprint) on the Meetup page here. A stunning price when you look at the quality of speakers that Elyse Wyatt and her team have lined up.
They include Robotics Plus director and design engineer, Alistair Scarfe, who is on the shortlist for the Young New Zealand Innovator of the Year award.
The sponsorship reflects Wharf42’s commitment to build out New Zealand’s global AgTech opportunity. That commitment maps the ambition of Hardware Meetup AKL to bring together engineers, entrepreneurs, designers and enthusiasts passionate about building innovative and commercially viable products. On the night, we will hear from experts and founders, discuss the latest technology, check out products, and share resources. Founders and engineers will have the chance to showcase their products and companies.
Peter Wren-Hilton to keynote at University of Waikato Alumni Event
HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND: 16 February 2016 – A Tauranga business leader who is helping Kiwi technology entrepreneurs to break into California’s Silicon Valley is the guest speaker at a free University of Waikato alumni event on 5 April, which is open to members of the public.
Peter Wren-Hilton is the founder of The Meteoroid Program, an accelerator programme that helps Kiwi start-up agriculture-technology (ag-tech) companies to connect with the leading entrepreneur and investor networks in California’s Silicon Valley, and get them ready to launch on the global market.
Wren-Hilton is keen for New Zealand ag-tech companies to not only embrace new technology, but to love it.
He says emerging new digital technologies – such as robotics, drones, sensors, digitalisation and big data – are already having a significant impact on agri-business opportunities, and will enable Kiwi companies to become even more profitable, productive and sustainable on a global scale.
By 2050, the world needs to increase food production by 70%, whilst also improving sustainable farming practices, and technology will be the main driver for this, he says.
Innovative technologies introduce new ways of doing things and can totally disrupt established businesses in all sectors, such as finance, health, media, retail and high value manufacturing.
Wren-Hilton is probably best known as the founder of Wharf42 Ltd, the Tauranga-based company which is co-organising a major AgTech conference in Silicon Valley on 21 April.
The 2016 SVForum Agtech conference will bring together key international industry leaders and players, including Callaghan Innovation & New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, to discuss how digital technologies are rapidly transforming the ag-tech sector. It will highlight case studies of innovative Kiwi companies that have responded positively to the challenges facing the agricultural sector.
The conference aims to give New Zealand ag-tech leaders the opportunity to meet and engage with key executives from leading US food producers, innovators, investors and global thought-leaders seeking the transform the ag-tech sector.
Wren-Hilton is also the founder/director of WNT Ventures General Partner Limited, a technology-based incubator hub in Tauranga, which seeks to identify amazing commercialisation opportunities from New Zealand universities, Crown Research Institutes and the private sector that have global market potential.
SVForum AgTech Conference - 21 April 2016
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND – 5 November 2015: Wharf42 is delighted to announce the date of SVForum’s 2016 ‘How Technology is Transforming AgTech’ Conference. The event will be held in Silicon Valley on Thursday 21 April 2016. It’s theme, How Digital is Transforming AgTech, will explore how emerging digital technologies such as robotics, drones, sensors and big data are creating more productive and sustainable agri-business opportunities for the future.
The conference, to be co-organized with New Zealand-based SVForum Global Outreach Partner, Wharf42, is for anyone interested in agriculture technology industry trends, and engaging in meaningful interaction with key executives, professionals, technologists, entrepreneurs, innovators, and thought leaders ready to disrupt and transform the AgTech ecosystem.
Adiba Barney, President & CEO of SVForum says, “Over the past few years, digital technologies have been having an increasingly significant impact on both farming and food processing practices. As the world faces the urgent need to increase food production by 70% to meet the demands of its growing population by the year 2050, digital technologies have the potential to disrupt existing agriculture models in both a positive and sustainable way”.
Peter Wren-Hilton, founder of Wharf42 commented, “In both New Zealand and the US, Wharf42 has been working with representatives of the farming, food processing, technology and AgTech investor sectors. We strongly believe that emerging digital technologies have the potential to create a profound impact on the Farm of the Future. Working with our partners in both New Zealand and the US, we are delighted to co-organize SVForum’s first AgTech Conference with Adiba and her team. We believe it will enable the New Zealand AgTech ecosystem to take a leadership role in helping determine the long-term direction of the agriculture industry”.
SVForum will be releasing further details of the Agenda, Keynote Speakers and panellists on the SVForum website (www.svforum.org).
Bill Reichert & Adiba Barney Visit New Zealand
In May 2015, Bill Reichert, Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures & Adiba Barney, President & CEO of SVForum spent a week in New Zealand as guests of Wharf42.
We visited Tauranga, Auckland, Wellington & Christchurch, hosting 14 events over 5 days. The visit provided Bill & Adiba with an insight into New Zealand’s emerging early stage tech space and investor community. They met a number of potentially high-growth startups and listened to a number of informal pitches. They provided valuable feedback designed to support startups looking to establish a presence in Silicon Valley.
During the visit, Bill & Adiba met a number of individual angel and VC networks, sharing their knowledge of the current investment landscape in the Valley. They also had the opportunity to meet representatives from a number of agencies including Callaghan Innovation, ATEED, Grow Wellington and Canterbury Development Corporation. A highlight of the visit was a breakfast meeting with Maori business leaders hosted by Callaghan Innovation in Wellington.
The key purpose behind the visit was to prepare for a return visit to Silicon Valley by New Zealand’s early stage tech community in the first half of 2016. Wharf42 is currently working with SVForum to build this program. It will include visits to a number of the Valley’s key incubators, accelerators, tech companies and VCs. The visit will culminate in a half day pitching session to over 250 local Silicon Valley investors.
More details about this event will be published on this site shortly.
The Wharf42 blog above contains details of a number of the individual events that took place during that very busy week in May. They include:
The event heard from a number of high profile speakers who talked about the importance of the New Zealand / United States relationship with a specific focus on the technology sector. The presentations provided an appropriate backdrop to the formal announcements launching the Meteoroid Program.
Connecting live with Silicon Valley
The Launch Agenda
12.00pm: Introduction Peter Wren-Hilton, Founder of Wharf42
12.05pm: The current state of trade relations between the United States & New Zealand Jim Donegan, United States Consul General to New Zealand
12.20pm: Building an innovation-led economy in New Zealand Hon Simon Bridges, Minister of Energy & Resources, Minister of Transport & Deputy Leader of the House
12.30pm: The importance of doing business in the United States Peter Withers, inaugural Regional Director Americas for TradeNZ (now NZTE)& Chair of the MBA Executive Council (2013-2014)
12.50pm: The view from the New Zealand Technology sector Graeme Muller, Chief Executive, New Zealand Technology Industry Association
1.10pm: Live from Silicon Valley Live link and Q&A with the Plug and Play Tech Center, Sunnyvale, CA
1.40pm: The Meteoroid Program Peter Wren-Hilton, Founder of Wharf42
2.00pm: Networking and refreshments
The event was attended by approximately 60 invited guests. It provided an excellent platform and back-drop to the Meteoroid Program which is scheduled to be launched at the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyavle, CA in July 2015. We will be publishing updates on the Wharf42 blog as the Program evolves.
The Wharf42 Live! Series: Oren Gershtein Presents
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND: 11 September 2014: Wharf42, the New Zealand-based business connector focused on identifying high-potential NZ technology start-ups, getting them to Silicon Valley and plugging them into that region’s vast technology ecosystem, today announced a highly anticipated presentation by Oren Gershtein at Ignition, Tauranga, on Friday 19th September.
Israeli technology expert Gershtein is a true believer in his homeland’s start-up incubator programme, which New Zealand wants to replicate. Many of the world’s technology titans – including Google, Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Intel – have research and development operations in Israel. Today, the country is a heavyweight player in the world of innovation, with the third largest number of listings on New York’s tech-heavy NASDAQ stock exchange after the United States and China.
Gershtein was chief executive of Israel’s leading technology incubator, Jerusalem’s Van Leer Ventures, for nine years. He is in New Zealand this week to talk to the three new tech-focused incubators recently selected by Callaghan Innovation to introduce this tech-focused incubator model to the country. Bay of Plenty-based tech incubator, WNT Ventures, was one of the three successful applicants to be selected.
Gershtein says that Israel’s incubator programme – established in 1991 – had been one of the most important contributors to the success of the country’s technology companies. The Israeli Government had invested around US$600 million ($720 million) into the programme over the past 20 years, and the start-ups involved had secured US$3.6 billion in foreign investment during the same period. “The whole system is manufacturing about 100 new companies every year into the Israeli eco-system,” Gershtein says. “This is something that’s really significant.”
He says the Israeli incubator system had benefited from its privatisation in around 2002, when private firms took over the management of the incubators. “That took the incubators to a new level with different types of activity, which was a lot more business oriented.”
The same model will be used in New Zealand. Private companies will operate the three new tech-focused incubators, which will have to come up with at least 25 per cent of the funding for their start-ups. The remaining funding will come from the Government’s repayable grants scheme. Gershtein said Israel’s repayable grants programme, which it also operates through the incubators, was “working beautifully” as the Government took on the lion’s share of risk – risk many private sector investors were unwilling to take. Companies that find success repay the grants, allowing the Government to recycle the capital into new start-ups, while those that flop are not required to pay anything back.
Peter Wren-Hilton, Founder of Wharf42 says; “Oren Gershtein is one of the foremost thinkers around startup incubation and the role of the investment community in that incubation ecosystem. We are delighted to be able to host Oren at our second Wharf42 Live! Series presentation”.
The Wharf42 Live! Series: Claudia Batten Presents
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND: 14 August 2014: Wharf42 is delighted to announce the launch of the Wharf42 Live! Series with a highly anticipated presentation by Claudia Batten at Ignition, Tauranga, later today.
Claudia is perhaps best known as being part of the founding team of Massive Inc. which sold to Microsoft Corp. in 2006. Claudia then co-founded advertising agency Victors & Spoils – the world’s first agency built on crowdsourcing. V&S was acquired by French holding company Havas in April 2012. Today, Claudia splits her time between the technology hub that is Boulder, Colorado and New Zealand.
Claudia represents all that is great about Kiwi entrepreneurs building scale offshore. The former Samuel Marsden Collegiate student and Victoria University honours graduate, left a promising career with law firm Russell McVeagh to chase her dream.
The early days with Massive were tough. Long hours, no pay and no shortage of red eye flights. Claudia and her team persisted. The rewards were to come. Firstly through a well-executed business plan that saw Massive’s software downloading real-time advertising into background features of the action when the user was gaming online. Then came the call from Microsoft.
Today, Claudia is giving back big time. She is a Board member of The Icehouse, providing mentoring, advice and support to early stage New Zealand digital companies looking to build a global footprint. This on-going contribution to the New Zealand startup community was recognised when Claudia reigned supreme at KEA’s 2014 World Class New Zealand Awards earlier this year, becoming the youngest ever Supreme Award recipient.
UPDATE: Since this article was first published, Claudia has been appointed as Regional Director, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, The Americas. Wharf42 looks forward to working with Claudia and her team in this new capacity.
A selection of images from recent events
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