18 Apr 2017

Vodafone's start-up incubator on the hunt for new companies

12:21 pm on 18 April 2017

Telecommunications company Vodafone is on the look out for 10 new start-up companies to be part of its Christchurch business incubator, called the Xone.

Haptly co-founders Rab Heath and Nelson Shaw with one of their monitoring drones.

Rab Heath and Nelson Shaw's drone developing business Haptly is part of the first intake at the Xone. Photo: SUPPLIED

Vodafone will give the chosen companies more than $150,000 in cash and support services to research and commercialise technology ideas.

The head of digital and product innovation at Vodafone, Nicole Buisson, said businesses that got on board last year boosted revenues, launched into new markets and began commercial trials.

She said the idea of the Xone was to give start-ups the muscle to develop and grow.

"We're always interested in ideas that benefit our customers at Vodafone, so we're looking for companies that have a product or service that will help us provide something additionally," she said.

One of the companies involved in the Xone last year was the Christchurch company, SolarBright, which produces road lighting products.

Its managing director and co-founder, Nicola Martin, said being in the Xone has helped it to develop a new tool called a Dataeye, which collects traffic information, car speeds and checks whether a truck, car or bike was going by.

She said officials, including the Transport Agency, have asked for the product to be trialled against current technology.

"If our Dataeye is within sort of 98 percent accurate compared to the others... this is something that they will look at rolling out across the country as well and hopefully globally, that's our plan," she said.

The applications open on Wednesday 19 April.

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