Nick Jackson

BE (Hons) 2019, ME 2020

CTO, Pyper Vision and Co-founder & CTO, Spout

Nick Jackson

Was studying engineering an easy or clear choice for you to make? What was it that inspired you to follow this path here at UC?

I wasn't necessarily sure what I wanted to do growing up but I have always enjoyed problem-solving. When looking more into engineering I saw it as an opportunity to be involved in solving some of the world’s biggest and most pressing issues and challenges faced. 

I went to high school in Christchurch and was aware UC had a good reputation for engineering which made UC seem like the right choice. 

How did you come to be involved with Pyper Vision?

I initially got involved with Pyper Vision through my final year project. When the projects got pitched, it instantly stood out to me as aviation has always been of interest and it was attempting to tackle such a big problem. I was lucky enough to get selected to work on it for my final year project which then developed into a masters.

Can you tell us what the ‘vision’ for Pyper Vision is? Where is the company looking to be longer term?

Pyper Vision's goal is to create a world where fog is not a barrier to transport operating on time every time. Pyper Vision has an initial focus on aviation and has global ambitions to make fog delays at airports a thing of the past. 

You’ve recently partnered with the Airspace Integration Trails Programme, alongside other companies like Dawn Aerospace – what does this mean for Pyper Vision?

This has been a really cool opportunity for us. The AITP is a government-backed program with CAA, Airways, MOT and MBIE all on board. By becoming an industry partner (alongside a few other very innovative aerospace companies) we are able to accelerate the testing and integration of our product into the aviation world. The program as a whole should also help to support other new and existing aerospace companies access New Zealand airspace for research and development of new products and services. 

Spout is another company you’re involved with – co-founded infact! What’s the story behind this project?

I started Spout with a couple of others in 2019. We were all on a short business course to learn a bit more about how businesses and in particular start-ups operate. The course was great for me to get some exposure to the different sides of business beyond the technical aspects. During the course, we had been exploring how we could potentially reduce plastic milk bottle waste and after the course, we decided to continue to pursue the idea as a fully-fledged business. We started selling milk in reusable 10L stainless steel kegs at the end of 2019, we also provide a tap system to dispense the milk so the likes of cafes, hotels and offices can have milk on tap without the single-use plastic. Today we sell milk to many outlets across the South Island and have saved over well over 25,000 plastic milk bottles from entering our waste streams. 

How do you balance your commitments across these companies?

It definitely requires a lot of careful time management, but I am very lucky that Pyper Vision is understanding and allows me time when needed to complete Spout work and both jobs offer a fair bit of flexibility. 

What excites or motivates you in your work?

I really love getting stuck into a problem and working with others to come up with creative and innovative solutions. It doesn't even have to be a big, global problem like fog at airports or plastic waste it can even be a more simple problem such as devising a new way to manage our data collection to streamline our fog tests.