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Vodafone xone accelerator calling for AI and IoT innovators

15 Mar 18

Vodafone has opened applications for its accelerator programme Vodafone xone today.

Vodafone xone is a startup accelerator and innovation lab through which Vodafone partners with early and late-stage startups, who have ground-breaking technology ideas.

Eight startups will receive a total package valued at more than $150,000 including seed-funding and access to world-class technology and mentoring as part of a six-month programme.

Xone head and innovation manager Lauren Merritt says this year the emphasis is on working with Kiwi startups with clever ideas in the AI, IoT and data analytics sectors.

“We are keen to see applications from across the country and eager to also see ideas that can be harnessed to drive social change, as Vodafone is all about connecting for good.

“We will be getting hands-on with the companies selected, ensuring their business mentors help take their ideas to the next level.

“We want ideas that will make a massive impact on New Zealand, and we will help those startups go global by leveraging our international networks,” Merritt says.

Vodafone consumer director Matt Williams is delighted with the results achieved by last year’s cohort.

“We launched Vodafone xone with an ambition to find the best mobile and digital technologies in New Zealand, and take them to the world through Vodafone’s international network.

“Since xone’s inception, the startups have generated more than $11.5 million in new revenue, attracted more than $9.6 million in capital funding, and created 46 new jobs, all while beginning operations in countries around the world. Individually they’ve created some amazing new technologies,” Williams says.

One of those companies is Parkable, an app that aims to change the way people park, through a system of shareable parking utilising unused space from driveways to company carparks.

CEO Toby Littin says being part of Vodafone xone was invaluable.

“Even the application process helped us get our pitch right, and then once we were in the programme it was absolute gold.

“We learnt new skills, got new contacts, development partnerships from an R and D perspective, it was all incredible in enabling a huge amount of commercial opportunity to develop.

“One of the more intangible things is the peer-to-peer counselling sessions, being able to rub shoulders with other great businesses sharing the same pains and opportunities that we do.

“We said when we launched Parkable we wanted to operate in 35 countries, and during our time at Vodafone we have had significant opportunities open up,” Littin says.

Vodafone xone is now open for applications from March 15 until April 15, 2018.

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