NZ app wins big abroad

MARTIN MOORE
Last updated 12:30 20/12/2013
Jennifer Clamp
Jennifer Clamp.

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A New Zealand gardening app has achieved success in an international startup competition.

Garden Genie took first place in the e-commerce section of the Global Startup Battle, a competition organised by the US-based Startup Weekend programme which is aimed at generating a stronger community of entrepreneurs around the world.

The Kiwi team behind the app was one of five grand winners out of 1000 participating startup companies from 40 countries.

As part of its prize the team will fly to Austin, Texas, to receive mentoring with US based e-commerce specialist Bigcommerce.

Garden Genie is the brainchild of Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development growth specialist Jennifer Clamp, who had the idea for an app which could guide novice gardeners through setting up and managing a garden.

Currently in development, the app asks users questions about their garden and what they want to grow, then provides instructions for growing produce, reminders about sowing and pruning, and allows them to order supplies directly to their home.

Clamp pitched the idea at the Auckland Startup Weekend in November, where she and five other interested entrepreneurs formed a group and beat 11 other teams to win the competition.

Auckland Startup Weekend was one of hundreds of similar contests held around the world, and as the winner of the Auckland competition Garden Genie was invited to compete in the Global Startup Battle.

It was the only New Zealand team to compete in the international event.

From there the group had just 24 hours to put together and submit a 60-second video about its app for the public to vote on.

Achieving almost 750 votes, Garden Genie was one of 15 startups to make the finals, where it was judged by a panel of seven which included Bigcommerce's founders and CEO.

“The support we have had in getting to this stage has been such an encouragement,” Clamp said.

 “It feels like New Zealand has rallied behind us, with organisations like Startup Weekend New Zealand, Kiwi expat community KEA and Garden Genie’s own Facebook community all getting the message out to vote,” she said.

Garden Genie has yet to decide when it will launch the app commercially.

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