Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Xstart – a founder’s perspective…

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

Text Ferret is an AI platform that delivers clear and meaningful insights into customers’ sentiments and emotions. Isaac Wilson, Founder and CE of Text Ferret, shares his Xstart experience so far.


Getting selected on the Xstart programme has been pivotal for Text Ferret.  As a small team having external validation and support for the big picture and day-to-day operations has been very valuable.  This has had a broad impact, from revising our pricing strategy through to assisting how we went about hiring new staff.  


The opportunity for candid, honest discussion has been extremely helpful.  The robust discussion and the ability to tease out the complexities of growing a small business has been very beneficial.  At the end of the day we have to own our decisions but having the ability to “road test” the various scenarios has allowed us to make quality informed decisions. 


Further to this internal support has been the connections Xstart has provided to the wider start-up ecosystem.  Xstart has sped up the process of engaging with NZTE, Callaghan Innovation, and connecting us with the likes of the University of Canterbury.  These relationships have provided Text Ferret with rapid exposure to the Venture Capital market in NZ and offshore, access to startup grants, and provided the opportunity for Text Ferret to gain access to additional support e.g. the SAAS financial modeling offered by the University of Canterbury finance department. Many of these relationships have led to other opportunities we would not have had exposure to – it’s all about the power of the network!   


The challenge for any start-up is balancing the time spent strategizing and the day-to-day cut and thrust of meeting this month’s outgoings – Xstart has provided support for Text Ferret across this breadth of the start-up journey.


Isaac Wilson

Founder and CE, Text Ferret

We’ve been so busy helping companies tell their stories, we almost forgot to tell ours…

Monday, August 12th, 2019

We are Xstart. New Zealand’s newest Founder Incubator. Based in Christchurch and powered by Callaghan Innovation, with a mandate to grow businesses and the bold ambition to take them to the world.

A founding partnership between local heavyweights, University of Canterbury (rated in the top 1% of Business Schools worldwide) and ChristchurchNZ (NZ’s newest regional Economic Development and Attraction Agency). We have since evolved with further national and international expertise and investor connections.

We spent our first year building our own team, working with our first intake of companies, curating our network and refining our approach. We’re still learning and don’t claim to have it all figured out, but we’re convinced we’re onto something as we witness the transformation in founders; their level of ambition and capability to deliver. These businesses ARE growing.

For me as a relative newcomer to Christchurch, it’s been a blast uncovering so much local talent and playing my part in bringing together the forces which can really impact founder and company growth.

Having cut my teeth on youth entrepreneurship, and then corporate innovation, at Wellington’s Founder Incubator Creative HQ, I’ve since worked in or with many other NZ cities in the startup space and have seen first hand the stimulation of innovation and acceleration of progress when these agencies get it right. It’s magic.

So you’ll be hearing more from us, as we share stories about the companies we help to grow, the partners who power us, the tools and tactics we swear by, and the learnings we pick up along the way – forever and always in the name of… Growing Businesses with Impact.


Oliviah Theyers-Collins
Xstart Programme Manager