By Dean Peterson, Group Manager National Technology Networks, Callaghan Innovation
There is a vast amount of talent in New Zealand – from bold entrepreneurs and start-ups with world-beating ideas to researchers and engineers who are the leaders in their fields. But as with the growing mountain of data being generated daily, value lies not so much in volume as the ability to make the right connections and linkages that lead to business success. Not everyone can make those connections on their own, and so it’s important to realise it’s a smart business that reaches out to others and leverages existing expertise to succeed.
Take PredictHQ, a new Auckland-based start-up whose innovative API and web-app products analyse events happening around the world, and forecast what affect they will have on businesses, so they can tailor their activities and maximise their advertising spend. The brain-child of Campbell Brown and Mike Ballantyne, PredictHQ emerged out of Online Republic, a company specialising in cruise, car rental and motorhome travel bookings, to enable better global visibility of advertising spend. Bringing together scheduled and real-time data on a wide range of global variables such as severe weather, holidays, sporting events, flights, concerts, and natural disasters, their product standardises, enriches and ranks this data according to an individual business’ needs. It then adds in valuable context such as population, economic and demographic data, providing clients with the ability to optimise advertising campaigns wherever they may operate in the world.
It’s a powerful idea that has not only helped parent company Online Republic boost online conversion rates and increase order values, but has also given birth to a standalone company, with a beta release planned for later this year. But how did they get there? PredictHQ’s approach included reaching out to Callaghan Innovation, who not only provided R&D funding, but also connections with industry heavy hitters whose insights helped refine their strategy and operational approach. Engaging the services of Callaghan Innovation’s data science team also provided an edge in the areas of data modelling and visualisation. Assistance also came in unexpected areas, such as connections to companies that provided advice on the billing aspect of their platform – a seemingly small but important aspect to any growth company with a subscription-based business model. Accessing Callaghan Innovation’s array of expertise and connections also helped PredictHQ develop much faster than if they had gone it alone.
PredictHQ are not alone in realising the benefit of looking elsewhere to find the expertise they need. Many other ambitious New Zealand companies are aware of this too, and are already working with Callaghan Innovation as a first port of call. Our help includes identifying the expertise they need both in New Zealand and internationally and acting as innovation brokers to connect them to the right advisor, partner, mentor or technology provider. This help can take a variety of forms – through our Global Expert database of national and international innovation and R&D expertise, or our technology networks, which have deep knowledge of national and international scientific and research expertise.
We can also connect you up with like-minded businesses which may be interested in partnerships around manufacturing and delivery collaborations, access to facilities, and knowledge sharing. Then there are our partnerships with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, regional economic development agencies and the venture capital community. When we know what you need, we help you make the connections.