This past August, eight teams dared to begin a challenging journey — one that combined intensive mentorship with innovation fundamentals and prototyping resources. Seven startups thrived in Lightning Lab Manufacturing, the first-ever startup acceleration program for physical products in New Zealand. I’m proud of what these ventures accomplished in such a remarkably short time, harnessing the “no. 8 wire” attitude and spirit of invention so prevalent here in the Wellington region.

None of this would have been possible without the amazing community that came together to share their creativity, time, energy and expertise. Thanks to all the support from founding investors, sponsors, partners, mentors and speakers — I’m so grateful to have played a part in the adventure.

For these promising startups, the journey is just beginning. And I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.