A new venture accelerator has arrived in the New Zealand startup ecosystem as ZeroPoint Ventures officially launches its new virtual incubation and acceleration programmes.
The mission is to build a new model of startup success that is aimed at making more successful, innovative New Zealand companies focused on growing revenues rather than investment, no matter where they are in New Zealand.
After successfully launching Startup Weekend and Lightning Lab in New Zealand, Dan Khan, ZeroPoint Ventures co-founder and CEO, recognised the increasing demand from non-Auckland and non-Wellington-based founders seeking guidance on how to grow their business ideas.
He decided to act.
“The ZeroPoint Ventures model is built on the premise that local communities are core to our identity as New Zealanders,” says Khan. “Our clear and transparent pathway ensures founders receive blended mentor-led development, self-learning and peer-to-peer support.
“Our virtual tools, as well as our guided-journey approach, provides founders with a unique set of strengths, assisting them where they live, amongst their existing networks and supporters.”
“In New Zealand, the mainstream startup narrative is often measured by the amount of capital you’ve raised, rather than how many customers, or how much revenue you’ve achieved,” adds Khan. “Our revenue-focused model brings a fresh approach to helping build startups that are focused on profitability from day one, and who can achieve that with a fraction of the capital required for traditional ‘moonshot’ startups.
“The core of our approach is aligned with founders looking to build purposeful and profitable companies that can reach a meaningful revenue milestone rather than stringing out venture capital for longer than necessary,” Khan explains.
Ventures and Innovation
ZeroPoint Ventures aims to support New Zealand venture capability and innovation. There are 5 key areas in which this will happen:
We take founders through a tailored rapid assessment, incubation and acceleration process that successively builds on an evidence-based approach to prove there’s a business worth building before the founder commits valuable time, money, and resources to the venture.
Teams progress together via a mentor-led uniquely New Zealand playbook right from their ventures’ own zero point. Founders learn the fundamentals of successful venture growth to sustainability with a focus on revenue-based milestones and customer-driven evidence. Surrounded by experienced mentors, their peer cohort, and the wider community, all founders who progress are supported throughout their journey to their first $1 million dollars in revenue.
Our experienced mentors coach, witness, support and drive the founder experience. Throughout the journey, evidence-based review panels enable mentors to check progress and share knowledge. We hope, that over time, ZeroPoint Ventures’ founder graduates will become mentors sharing their own experience for the next generation.
We work with partners across the community to support the development of their ventures and culture of internal innovation. We support existing corporates, local, regional, and central government entities and non-profit organisations to help find, engage and upskill their own people, identifying internal innovators and building their own communities to embed a new cycle of innovation.
We already have strong grassroots community support throughout New Zealand; with regular engagements that build collaboration and common spaces between our venture communities, and external meetups and events which connect with the wider startup ecosystem, we aim to create extra impact by cross-connecting these often disparate networks.
Venture investors in New Zealand are traditionally sold a dream of high-growth returns across startup portfolios, but early-stage venture fund returns have failed to live up to the hype. Our new approach to venture capital blends evidence-based learning milestones to create a risk efficient model of venture capital that still allows investors to participate in ventures that turn into moonshots, but also invest in, support, and see a return from ventures that may never reach an exit.
Bill Reichert, managing director of Silicon Valley’s Garage Technology Ventures, included ZeroPoint Ventures in his list of the top ten (and a bit) of New Zealand businesses on a recent trip here, describing ZeroPoint Ventures as “a venture fund that is driven by proof, not just hope.”
The ZeroPoint core team is an internationally experienced one with more than 25 years’ expertise in entrepreneurship as well as venture financing, internal innovation programs and growing business. Mentors are seasoned entrepreneurs, able to provide insights from personal experiences.
The ZeroPoint programme, with virtual support at its core, aligns with Callaghan Innovation’s recent Founder Incubator announcement aimed at providing support for innovation and entrepreneurship throughout New Zealand.
It also complements MBIE’s business growth agenda to drive economic growth by creating more successful entrepreneurs that start businesses from-, and hopefully, stay- in New Zealand to grow their local ecosystems.
“We are thrilled to be part of the Callaghan initiative and looking forward to working with people with great ideas to help them grow great businesses, wherever they are located.” said Jane Treadwell-Hoye, ZeroPoint Ventures’ Partnerships Lead.
“Being part of an active, supportive startup ecosystem is key to ZeroPoint’s approach. Our close relationship with BizDojo is one example of how we’re adding additional value and support to our founders. We all know that it takes a village to grow a successful startup, so partnering with like-minded organisations is critical to the success of our ventures, and ultimately the future economic success of New Zealand.” said Jane.
“We’ve already had over 130 New Zealand ventures apply to join our programme during our beta phase earlier this year, and expect many more as we officially open online applications today for our inaugural programme cohort. Further partnership details will be announced at our launch events, being held in Auckland on 17th August and Wellington on 18th August.”