A vision to develop Tauranga into a leading technology centre is gaining rapid momentum with strong interest from technology start-ups wanting to join the incubator being launched soon.
The Wharf42 Plug and Play Technology Incubator being set up by Tauranga's Peter Wren-Hilton has attracted interest from technology entrepreneurs around the country, who want to benefit from Peter's experience launching Pingar and his connections in Silicon Valley.
Wharf42's Peter Wren-Hilton has been delighted with the interest in the start-up technology incubator he's launching in Tauranga.
“A lot of people are wanting to be a part of it, so we are just looking at how to validate and select the best start-ups to be involved,” says Peter, who saw the need for supporting Kiwis polish their start-ups and gain traction in Silicon Valley during the three years he was based at start-up accelerator Plug and Plug International.
“I saw a strong need for help in this area,” says Peter.
Peter has since returned to Tauranga with the support of Plug and Play to set up the country's first technology incubator with direct links into Silicon Valley. All participants will spend six months of the year getting connected within Silicon Valley.
“By introducing start-up and early-stage New Zealand businesses to the Silicon Valley eco-system, and enabling them to experience Silicon Valley first-hand as part of the incubation process, we believe we can significantly assist and accelerate the commercialisation process.”
Start-ups will be incubated with mentoring, networking and access to funding opportunities through Tauranga's Enterprise Angels. Start-ups are newly-formed technology businesses aiming to build a scalable, profitable operation.
Peter will work with five or six start-ups initially, who will be based in the expanded Ignition co-working space in Grey St that should be completed in May.
“As soon as the doors are open, we will be in there,” says Peter, who sees the incubator as ultimately needing its own stand-alone CBD office as numbers grow.
Peter is excited about the entrepreneurial start-up culture growing in the city, saying the new VentureCentre.co.nz portal – launched on Tuesday as a hub for the city's growing technology talent – is an example of this.
The development has been strongly applauded by Priority One CEO Andrew Coker, who describes it as a key opportunity in establishing Tauranga as a high tech centre.
“We are hugely supportive and see it as great for profiling Tauranga as a rapidly evolving technology centre.”