Lightning selects Dunedin start-up

George Phillips (left) and Mike Neumegen from Dunedin-based start-up Cloud Cannon. Photo supplied.
George Phillips (left) and Mike Neumegen from Dunedin-based start-up Cloud Cannon. Photo supplied.
Mike Neumegen is on cloud nine.

Dunedin-based start-up Cloud Cannon, launched by Mr Neumegen and George Phillips in August last year, has been selected for Lightning Lab's second digital start-up acceleration programme, which began in Wellington last week.

There were 150 inquiries from throughout New Zealand and also internationally, including from Ukraine, Vietnam and the United States, for the 10 places on the three-month programme.

Lightning Lab is a partnership between a founding group of professional investors, the science and innovation arm of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and start-up incubator Creative HQ.

Each team was funded with $18,000 in exchange for 8% equity, while support was given from technical and business personnel, with mentorship from entrepreneurs and business experts from throughout New Zealand.

The programme culminates with a ''demo day'' in late May, when the start-ups will pitch to the New Zealand investment community.

Cloud Cannon was a tool for web designers to make maintaining and hosting websites easier. It had 1300 users signed up from around the world, Mr Neumegen said.

He and Mr Phillips met at secondary school and studied computer science at the University of Otago.

While their aim was to sign up as many people as possible, the real goal was to simplify the lives of web designers.

''That's where we get satisfaction,'' Mr Neumegen said.

They made a product they wanted to use and it happened that a lot of other people also wanted to use it, he said.

It was ''awesome'' being able to run the business from their respective bedrooms in Dunedin, he said.

Thrilled to be selected for the acceleration programme, Mr Neumegen believed the experience would mean they gained more understanding of their customers, while also providing a lot of networks they could ''tap into''.

It was also going to be like a ''crash course'' in business, specifically lean business, he said.

He hoped Cloud Cannon would appeal to investors at the conclusion of the programme.

A ''virtual'' meeting was held last week with the other team members and the businesses involved were very different, including one start-up that had an app that analysed horses' hooves. He was expecting it to be a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun.


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