Start-up makes most of mentors

Mike Neumegen
Mike Neumegen
Cloud Cannon consumes Mike Neumegen's life.

Mr Neumegen is chief executive of the Dunedin-based start-up which he co-founded with George Phillips in August last year.

Cloud Cannon is a tool for web designers to make maintaining and hosting websites easier.

Earlier this year, it was selected for Lightning Lab's digital start-up acceleration programme in Wellington.

There were 150 inquiries from throughout New Zealand and also internationally for the 10 places on the three-month programme. Each team was funded with $18,000, in exchange for 8% equity.

During the first month, they were surrounded by some of the best business mentors in the country and met ''lots of cool people'', Mr Neumegen said.

He made one contact who was impressed with what he was doing and organised for him to go to San Francisco later that week. He spent three and-a-half weeks in the United States and met ''heaps of really useful people''.

The programme culminated with a ''demo day'', when the start-ups pitched to the New Zealand investment community and asked for investment. Cloud Cannon raised $650,000.

From there, Mr Neumegen flew to Australia and then San Francisco, followed by a global launch in London at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe, a ''huge'' conference that attracted big names in the tech space.

Cloud Cannon had a stand at the conference and made some very good contacts from being there, he said.

Then it was back to San Francisco and finally home to Dunedin, in what was a ''full on'' lifestyle but good fun.

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

They initially built the product for themselves and put it on the internet to see if it would solve a problem for anyone else.

It started gaining traction and they were unsure what to do next, which was why they sought a place on the Lightning Lab programme.

Within a month, they had a network of people in the tech space.

''In New Zealand, once you get a network, there's the whole two degrees of separation thing,'' he said.

At this stage, the company's programming team was based in Dunedin and there were various advantages of that, including the talent that was in the city.

The company, which was focused on growth, was trying to make web design better. It wanted to help freelance web designers to build their businesses.

''The more people we can help do that, the more satisfied I'm going to be. We're just making the world a slightly better place,'' Mr Neumegen said.


Add a Comment


Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter