Pyper Vision – a Te Ōhaka based Christchurch aviation startup has been invited to join Startmate – one of our Australia and New Zealand’s most successful startup accelerator programmes.
[Pyper Vision team: Left Athira Nair, Emily Blythe, Tyler Culling, Mads Moller, Nick Jackson]
Pyper Vision (formerly Limpidity) has nabbed a spot in Startmate, the Australian-born startup accelerator which announced its first expansion into New Zealand in May 2020. Pyper is one of five Kiwi tech startups joining the programme as part of its inaugural New Zealand cohort. The accelerator provides each member of the cohort with an initial investment of NZ$75,000 at their latest valuation.
Emily Blythe, founder of Pyper Vision (formerly Limpidity Ltd), began building the aviation startup in order to solve a multi-billion dollar problem – flight delays due to ground fog. Emily was a student pilot for years and was consistently disappointed when fog would ground her. Now, Pyper has developed an environmentally-friendly absorbent which is dispersed via drone and clears runway fog so that pilots and air traffic controllers have the visibility required to operate safely.
“Being a part of Startmate’s first New Zealand cohort is a very exciting opportunity for our startup. The exposure to other successful founders alongside mentorship from a wide range of industry experts and veterans is enabling us to progress on some of the most daunting challenges on our horizons, and being able to draw upon their knowledge and problem-solve alongside them is invaluable”, says Blythe.
Pyper Vision was part of the first cohort of 21 high-growth startups at Te Ōhaka – Centre for Growth and Innovation when it opened in May 2019.
“We were so pleased to have the Pyper team join Te Ōhaka at launch. Emily and her team are excellent role models and collaborators for their fellow startup peers. All of the founders in the space have benefited from trading their knowledge and networks with each other which is where the magic comes in,” says Marian Johnson, Chief Awesome Officer at Ministry of Awesome who co-founded Te Ōhaka alongside Ara Institute of Canterbury Ltd and ChristchurchNZ.
Pyper has taken full advantage of the hub’s incubation facilities, siting their fog lab at Te Ōhaka and benefiting from the oversight and networks provided by the mentors at Te Ōhaka. They’ve also found some excellent talent along the way, sourced straight out of the ambitious student talent pool at Ara Institute of Canterbury.
A great example of such talent is the two student interns, Tom Outram and James McArthur, who worked closely with Pyper and helped to develop the drone’s dispersal system and data platform. Not to mention Tyler Culling, who completed a Bachelor of Applied Management at Ara, and then got offered an internship at Pyper Vision which led to a full-time role as the startup’s Project Manager.
“It is a privilege for me to be a part of a startup that approaches problem-solving in the way that Pyper Vision does. To be at the forefront of innovation in the aerospace and transportation sector is humbling, considering I was a student less than a year ago. Being a part of this dynamic, fast-moving team and learning along the way is an invaluable opportunity for any graduate”, says Culling.
Pyper has attracted investment and is now going through civil aviation regulatory compliance testing in Australia in preparation for launch.
Pyper’s continued growth and global ambition is representative of their startup peers at Te Ōhaka.
Boyd Warren General Manager – Commercial at ChristchurchNZ, the city’s economic development and city profile agency, said Pyper is a perfect example of the city’s flourishing innovation ecosystem in action.
“Pyper have come through Te Ōhaka’s incubation programme, recruited talent from Ara Institute of Canterbury and have been mentored by experts in the local aerospace industry – you couldn’t ask for a better example of the ecosystem working together to grow smart ideas into commercially viable businesses,” said Warren.