Fireside Chat with George Smith and Geoff Brash

Startup Christchurch
Startup Christchurch
Public group
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George Smith, founder of Glassjar, New Zealand’s first startup accepted into Y Combinator, will present his journey from UC student idea to Silicon Valley startup.

If you want to hear what growing an early-stage startup to the U.S. is really like and what George would do differently next time, you don’t want to miss this event.


George founded Glassjar in 2013 while studying at UC and within 18 months had raised angel investment and been accepted into the prestigious accelerator programme, Y Combinator (YC).

To support the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE), who have been undertaking a review of the early-stage ecosystem, George has written a paper outlining Glassjar’s journey and some of the key learnings from it. He will be telling this story in-person in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch during October/November.

In these events, George will share the lessons he learned going through the University of Canterbury’s startup programs, the Lightning Lab in 2014, raising angel money in New Zealand (and having to give most of it back), entering Y Combinator, living the startup life in Silicon Valley, going through several pivots, and ultimately shutting the business. He’ll explore what he wishes he did differently, and what he feels some of the lessons are for the early-stage ecosystem to ensure companies like Glassjar have a greater chance of success in the future.

This event will be a casual conversation in a fireside chat format with Geoff Brash, local Christchurch startup investor and supporter, and will also offer Q&A with the audience.

The event will be ideal for early-stage founders, local angel investors, and anyone interested in scaling a startup into the U.S. market.