Sporting pain becomes start-up’s gain

Six start-ups put their best foot forward last night but it was a pitch from a group of founders who’ve had a ball at their feet since they could walk that took out the ultimate prize.

While the crowd enjoyed the creative energy of the pitching competition and Nat Torkington’s MC stylings at the annual Webstock event, judges Melissa Clark-Reynolds ONZM, Derek Sivers, Anna Guenther and David Bullock had the tough job of deciding who would walk away with the cash prizes and trips for two to the Kiwi Landing Pad in San Francisco.

My F.C., the world’s first fully digital football platform claimed first prize, winning $15,000 and a trip to San Francisco. Designed to remove pain points founders Sam Jenkins, Mike Simpson and Sam Jasper experienced as football players, coaches, managers and fans themselves, the platform links the management of teams, clubs, leagues and national bodies with crowd-sourced and independently validated data from users.

‘We’re absolutely stoked’ says Sam Jenkins. ‘You don’t know what the judges are thinking and the other contestants were really strong. It was our first pitching competition and people don’t realise how much work goes into it.”

To make things a bit easier  judges were not limited to just one winner, with a runner-up and bonus prize also given out at the St James Theatre in Wellington.

GenoaPay was named runner-up winning winning $7,500 and a trip to San Francisco. GenoaPay is a payments platform that allows consumers to receive goods or services and pay for them over time without interest or the need to apply for a loan or new credit card.

‘We’re delighted to have won second place. This helps validate the business opportunity and traveling to the US will enable us to meet potential partners and test how to scale the business’ says founder and CEO Shaun Quincey.

The judges also decided to give Collaborate, a six woman team from Wellington, a bonus prize of $2,500 and day with BNZ’s UX team, for their mobile app that matches young people with volunteer opportunities that are relevant to their skills and interests.

2017 Start-Up Alley winners and judges at Webstock.
2017 Start-Up Alley winners and judges at Webstock.

As BNZ’s Director of Products & Technology, BNZ Start-Up Alley judge David Bullock recognises a good idea when he sees one.

‘It was a really hard decision’ says David.  ‘I’m excited to see such great talent in New Zealand and looking forward to what they all achieve’.

The other finalists included CLVR, Curtis and DataTag.

MyFC and GenoaPay will be packing up their bags to fly to the US soon and explore business opportunities over there with the help of the Kiwi Landing Pad.

‘We’ll hopefully be able to get a few meetings with investors and advice on how to enter the American market’ says Sam.

My F.C.’s Mike Simpson is keen to get to the States. ‘We all love football, hence why we created MY F.C. where we are the customer as much as the creator. It’s for footballers by footballers and we’d love the opportunity to share our passion in the United States – a market flush with capital and a growing interest in soccer’.

Congratulations to everyone who pitched last night and a big thank you from us at BNZ to Nat, our judges, Mike, Tash and everyone at Webstock and everybody who came along to support.