I have been thinking about this post for some time.

Over the past few months, I have been speaking to a number of Kiwi tech start-ups interested in joining the Meteoroid Program. They represent a whole set of different domains and come from different parts of the country.

A select few are joining the Program next week. Like most Programs, there have been some pivots on the way. Some are delaying their visit to Sunnyvale until next month. Additionally, the Program has been joined by a couple of the country’s larger corporates who want to engage with the Valley’s innovation ecosystem. This is very cool. I have blogged before about the importance of corporate venture in New Zealand. It’s a key piece that traditionally has been missing from our innovation landscape.

Bill Reichert and Adiba Barney’s trip to New Zealand in May certainly sparked off some interesting conversations.

Under the radar? These start-ups are so far under, they work Underground!

Under the radar? These start-ups function 100% underground

What however does the reference to ‘Unofficial’ mean? I think the best way to describe this is simply that most of the start-ups we are working with are currently very much under the Kiwi establishment’s radar. They have not graduated out of the country’s incubators or accelerators; they have not been working with government agencies; they have not raised funds from the usual investment networks. They are in the main, privately funded, pretty much media release-free and market-ready. It’s been a fascinating few months.

I take this development as a sign of New Zealand’s start-up market’s rapidly-growing maturity. I don’t think I am alone. A couple of weeks back, I joined Siobhan Bulfin, CEO of Melon Health and Lance Wiggs, director of Punakaiki Fund (congrats Lance incidentally on the success of the Snowball Effect crowdfunding campaign) for dinner in Auckland. Lance not only referenced the ‘unofficial’ sector. He believed that some of the best opportunities for investment in New Zealand were coming from it. I agree.

Looking ahead, Jacqui and I fly to Sunnyvale this weekend. I look forward to updating on just how the Program grows over the coming weeks. It’s going to be fun.

Whilst in the Valley, we are following up on various initatives. Watch out for the Wharf42 Fireside Chat Season. We hope to find some interesting souls keen to engage with New Zealand’s start-up community. And also learn about just who Wharf42 will be inviting over to New Zealand next year to share their Silicon Valley love. We want to repeat the Bill & Adiba experience in 2016.

Time to pack up then. Let’s stay connected.

You can follow Wharf42 and the Meteoroid Program via our Twitter handle at @Wharf42HQ