Auckland startup Makelight Interactive yesterday put the pen to paper with Wayra UK, O2 parent company Telefonica’s technology accelerator programme.
Makelight Interactive is one of 16 projects selected for Wayra from 1031 applications, and the only project from outside Europe to make the programme. The selection process saw the top 31 projects compete in a Dragon’s Den style pitching week, with Makelight Interactive one of the successful names called.
The contract gives Makelight Interactive a €50,000 cash injection and six months use of the Wayra Academy in London’s tech district, including office space, technology and mentors. In return, Telefónica has received a 10% stake in the company and first right of refusal on the product in December.
“London is a global centre of innovation and through Wayra we hope to find the Facebooks and Zyngas of the future,” said Simon Devonshire, Director of Wayra in Europe.
“We are thrilled to have the Kiwis join the London Wayra Academy. They are one of only sixteen teams selected from over 1,000 applications. We can’t wait to see Makelight come to life, and hope to be the first to test it light-up audiences in O2′s famous concert arenas across Europe.”
Makelight Interactive’s Joanna Alpe says inclusion in the Wayra Academy is a huge boost to the project.
“We see Wayra as a bootcamp for great ideas. An introduction to global clients. A way to be challenged and nurtured, making us commercially robust and market ready,” she said.
For commercial reasons, only limited information about the Makelight application can be distributed at this stage. The pitch to Wayra said:
Turn people, via their mobile phones, into pixels creating a giant screen at a live event. Makelight is an interactive mobile engagement platform for use at large scale live events consisting of a mobile app and a custom wifi router kit to facilitate the engagement.
“We seek to revolutionise the way live events involve and connect to the audience, all over the world,” Joanna says.
“While we’re doing work in London to develop the project, New Zealand is home and we’re keen to show that Kiwi creative technology is more than just the films we’re so famous for.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson launched the Wayra Academy, but closer to home Auckland Mayor Len Brown praised the innovation and hard work of the four Aucklanders who make up Makelight Interactive.
“Being selected for the Wayra Academy is a big step for the development of the Makelight App. The new Auckland is all about innovation and it’s great to see New Zealand creativity being recognized as up there with the best in the world.”
· Wayra Academy announcement press release
· Wayra Academy launched by Boris Johnson (Huffington Post)
· Wayra winners announced in the Huffington Post
· Video: Winners announcement (Featuring Joanna and Nick from 1:12, 1:25)
· Video: What it means to be an entrepreneur (Featuring Joanna from 0:40)
· Full list of winners
Who are Makelight Interactive?
Creative and Business Development
Resides in London & Auckland
After graduating a bachelor of Graphic Design from New Zealand’s top University AUT, Joanna worked in the music industry, designing and photographing for the largest music festival of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
Founder, owner and Creative Director of award winning design studio We Love Inc (est 2008), specialists in branding, communications, digital design and creative direction for interactive technology she works between London and Auckland for some of the biggest brands in the world including Sony UK, UBS Bank, Vodafone and others. She also co-founded We Love I.T, a creative technologies company.
Well versed in building, motivating and managing teams; pitching, brand strategy, art direction and inspiring people with an idea, Joanna brings these skills to the table as Team Leader and Creative Director of the project. www.weloveinc.com
Resides in London
Currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Creative Technologies Degree at AUT, Nick also recently co- founded and works as Technical Director of We Love I.T, a creative technologies company that works between New Zealand and the UK.
Previously, he worked for over 5 years as an electrical engineer, travelling around the world to work on electrical engineering projects, servicing machinery and equipment.
Nick’s skills are crucial to the Makelight project – electrical engineering, coding and programming, app development, mechanical fabrication, prototyping, robotics, network development and many more.
To the project he brings business acumen, ingenuity and a strength of dedication to pull out all the stops until the job is done.
PAUL (GOFF) VAN’T HOF
Event and Business Development
Resides in Auckland
Paul (Goff) van’t Hof – Owner, founder and director of The Production Company for over 18 years, Goff has been NZ production manager for artists like Bon Iver, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, P.O.D, David Byrne, Semi Precious Weapons, Anberlin and more.
He was technical director for 15 years on Parachute Music Festival, the largest music festival of its kind in the southern hemisphere (28,000).
His experience working on all the major live music events in New Zealand as well as technically directing corporate roadshows for the likes of Vodafone, Air New Zealand, Vero and Cadbury brings a broad wealth of experience in the event environment, understanding what clients want in this space.
He also brings an extensive network to this project, helping with path to market, having friends all over the world in the production industry – which will continue to prove very useful in gaining insight, market research and innovating the product.
SARAH VAN’T HOF
Event & Operations Management
Resides in Auckland
Sarah owns and runs Event Management company Beaut! She is also co-director of The Production Company. She is an Event, Project Manager and Tour Manager and brings years of experience organising and running events, large and small for a range of clients throughout New Zealand.
She has tour managed for artists like Stan Walker (Australian Idol winner), Mt Eden Dubstep and top NZ band OpShop.
With a strong charitable ethos, she has worked for international charity World Vision, project managing their Kids for Kids events reaching over 30,000 annually, and managed projects like National Young Leaders Days – reaching 10,000 young people annually.
Sarah has a vital indepth knowledge of the inner workings, practicalities and logistics of events on a large scale. This insight is invaluable to the Makelight product – ensuring we understand our audience intimately and can customise the product to their needs www.theproduction.co.nz