New Zealand “Seed” Technology Firms Driving Big Innovation; Geeks on a Plane Investor Tour Participants See for Themselves

  New Zealand “Seed” Technology Firms Driving Big Innovation; Geeks on a Plane
  Investor Tour Participants See for Themselves

Executives from top technology companies and investment funds observe the New
       Zealand technology sector’s entrepreneurial culture first-hand.

Business Wire

NEW YORK -- December 21, 2012

Rising in importance as a technology start-up cluster, New Zealand hosted
“Geeks on a Plane,” an investment and technology tour for investors, startup
founders, and corporate executives to learn about burgeoning technology
markets worldwide. Organized by leading startup accelerator and seed fund “500
Startups,” representatives from Mohr Davidow Ventures, XG Ventures, General
Electric, SoftTech VC, XG Ventures (managed by ex-Google executives),
TechCrunch, and other venture capital and corporate organizations
participated, amplifying recent Silicon Valley interest in New Zealand’s
entrepreneurial business climate.

The focus of the “Geeks” tour was on the rapidly-growing Kiwi cluster of seed
technology companies—niche firms advancing new ideas that solve big corporate
and consumer problems.

In particular, New Zealand companies are becoming known for solutions for the
cloud computing industry, developing user-friendly technology that has
attracted clients including Nike, Boeing and Chrysler. New Zealand technology
companies have made their mark internationally by focusing on solving problems
in specific areas. A few examples include:

  *Network Security & Compliance: Auckland-based Mako Networks uses a
    cloud-managed system to help businesses secure their networks and comply
    with the stringent Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS)
    for merchants that process, transmit or store cardholder data.
  *Enhancing the e-reading experience: Booktrack creates synchronized
    soundtracks for e-books that automatically match music, sound effects and
    ambient sound to your reading speed to create an immersive reading
    experience. The company works in partnership with the largest publishing
    houses, best-selling authors, and award-winning composers and musicians.
    Click here to learn more.
  *Promotional mobile apps and games: Taking advantage of the mobile
    applications development cluster in New Zealand, Kiwi companies Carnival
    Labs, a mobile marketing company, and PikPok, a digital publishing
    company, just launched a new game for OREO cookies. Both companies have
    worked for the world’s most prominent brands.

“U.S. companies are taking notice of the Kiwi tech cluster—to invest in, buy
from and partner with companies born from our entrepreneurial ecosystem,”
explains Marta Mager, Regional Director – North America for New Zealand Trade
and Enterprise, the country’s business development agency. “This deepening
engagement is creating innovative products that benefit both our economies.”

Business-friendly government policies nurture a fertile environment for
innovation in New Zealand. New Zealand companies benefit from a 0 percent
capital gains tax and a strong financial system that maintains a position of
regional economic leadership throughout the global financial crisis.

According to The World Bank and International Finance Corporation's Doing
Business 2013 report, released in October, New Zealand ranks as the easiest
place to start a business out of 185 countries. Forbes also ranked New Zealand
as the “Best Country for Business” in its annual ranking this year. Against
the backdrop of a supportive government sector, start-ups are aided by a
national network of internationally recognized technology incubators. For
example, Auckland-based, The ICEHOUSE, was announced the co-winner of the Best
Internationally Connecting Incubator at the most recent Annual Incubation
Conference & Awards.

About New Zealand Trade and Enterprise

NZTE is New Zealand’s international business development agency. Our role is
to help New Zealand businesses build strategic alliances and develop
commercial relationships internationally.

Through a global network of 45 offices, we connect New Zealand businesses with
the world, sharing opportunities, knowledge, experience and networks.

About Geeks On A Plane – New Zealand

Organized by Silicon Valley venture capital firm500 Startups, Geeks on a
Plane (#GOAP) is an invite-only tour for startups, investors, and executives
to learn about burgeoning technology markets worldwide. The “geeks” travel by
planes, trains, and automobiles to the most exciting international startup
scenes with the sole mission of uniting geeks and exploring cross-border
opportunities. The result: a lifelong bond with fellow travelers, a wealth of
new friends and business contacts in exploding technology markets, and a
stronger appreciation for the cultural and economic ties that bind us

500 Startups was invited by NZTE to bring Geeks on a Plane to New Zealand from
December 8-15, with tour stops in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and
Queenstown. The goal of GOAP is to explore New Zealand's early-stage
technology ecosystem, learn about startups, share knowledge and experiences,
and make lifelong connections. The "geeks" include entrepreneurs and
executives from companies like LivingSocial, GE, TechCrunch, Cheezburger,
SoftTech VC, Mohr Davidow Ventures, 500 Startups, and many others. For more
information, visit


for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
Lisa Karel, +1 407 733 2101
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
Charlotte Simcock, +1 646 378 4801
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