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.”