Investment #4: PowerON

We are proud to announce that we have placed investment into PowerON Limited alongside our syndicate partners.

The IP Group plc, the University of Auckland Inventors Fund and Matū Fund have together invested in a spin-out from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute at The University of Auckland.  POWERON Limited utilises the unique capabilities of dielectric elastomer technology to develop customisable, soft and flexible switches, actuators and logic capabilities for use in a variety of applications, from simple direct limit switches to distributed intelligence, lifelike soft-robotics and collaborative robots.

About IP Group plc – IP Group is a leading intellectual property commercialisation company focused on evolving great ideas from its partner universities into world-changing businesses. The Group pioneered a unique approach to developing these ideas and the resulting businesses by providing access to business building expertise, capital, scientific insight and the supporting infrastructure. In Australia and New Zealand, IP Group works in close partnership with the Go8 Universities and The University of Auckland to identify ground-breaking technologies, rooted in hard science, which have the most promising commercial potential. IP Group, which is listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange under the symbol IPO, has a strong track record of success and its portfolio comprises holdings in early-stage to mature businesses across life sciences and technology.  www.ipgroupplc.com

About The University of Auckland Inventors Fund – The University of Auckland Inventors Fund is an evergreen, open-ended $20 million investment fund owned and managed by Auckland UniServices Limited, the commercial company for The University of Auckland.  The Inventors Fund provides seed-capital for ventures started out of the University of Auckland.  www.uniservices.co.nz

About Matū Fund – Matū is a venture capital fund investing in early-stage science and technology commercialisation from education and research institutions and the private sector. As an open and evergreen fund, Matū takes a long-term investment view and is aimed at turning ground-breaking ideas into globally focused, IP-rich companies. Matū provides intelligent capital with active governance, executive management, operational support, and mentorship for founding and executive teams.  www.matu.co.nz

Matū Ethical Investment Policy

We are proud to release our Ethical Investment Policy today. After several months of development and consultation with all team members, we have formed a principles-based policy that gives everyone in Matū a common framework for ethical investment.

We have also defined specific exclusions for areas that we won’t touch, and explicitly acknowledged grey areas and unpredictability that will be common amongst early-stage companies. The policy empowers the independent Investment Committee to make decisions about investment and divestment for our fund on an ethical as well as scientific and commercial basis.

Read the policy here: https://matu.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Mat%C5%AB-Ethical-Investment-Policy.pdf

Peter Beck Appointed Adjunct Professor at UoA

A great story out of University of Auckland today, Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck has been appointed Adjunct Professor of Aerospace Engineering. For someone who never went to university, skipping to the top of the hierarchy is amazing recognition for the achievements that he has led in creating an aerospace industry in New Zealand.

Read more here: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12264435

Why Raising Capital is Challenging

Over at the Sydney Morning Herald, Richard Dale and Adrian Bunter have written an op-ed about why companies find it difficult to secure angel investment. In short, founders are unprepared for the level of documentation and interrogation needed, and expect to secure funding faster than the angel process allows.

At Matū, we recognise that not all projects are equal and will do our best to support early-stage ventures (particularly those led by academic researchers) that may not have had any experience in capital raising. We also try to move a little faster than angel investment groups (although it doesn’t always happen). But the article provides a good summary and checklist of elements that have to be formed and produced in order to get a company through due diligence.

Read more here: https://www.smh.com.au/business/small-business/the-real-reason-you-re-not-getting-angel-investment-20190822-p52juu.html

Consultation on Venture Capital Fund

MBIE are now beginning industry consultation on the Venture Capital Fund (VCF) Bill, which would establish the fund-of-funds that provides $300mil of government funding towards the early-stage investment markets. Of note is the proposal for some percentage to be allocated towards international funds, and restrictions on the use of funds for particular stages (mostly Series A/B) of investment.

See the press release here: http://www.voxy.co.nz/business/5/346437

See the latest Cabinet paper here: https://treasury.govt.nz/publications/cabinet-paper/dev-19-sub-0221-venture-capital-fund-bill-policy-approval-and-approval-introduction

See the collection of documents from Treasury here: https://treasury.govt.nz/publications/information-release/venture-capital-fund

Matū on Governance at Southern SaaS 2019

Our Managing Partner Greg Sitters has just given a presentation to a full house of 400 people on early-stage governance at Callaghan Innovation’s Southern SaaS conference. A hot topic, given that there were two times more questions than any other talk so far!

Alongside Angel Association of New Zealand colleagues Deb Hall and Suse Reynolds, Greg will also be presenting a longer presentation on Governance 101 for early-stage founders as part of the conference.

Engaging with the investment, commercialisation, and start-up community is an important part of values at Matū. Under the principle of mohiotanga, we want to help share our knowledge and grow the talent pool. After all, it will make our jobs easier in the long-run too!

See the Southern SaaS program here: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/website/3805/programme/

Venture Capital Fund Bill

The Venture Capital Fund Bill has been introduced into parliament on 22 August, with a first reading upcoming. This is an important piece of legislation that will authorise the government to set up the Venture Capital Fund, which is the new name for the $300 mil Series A/early-stage market intervention. It firmly puts the control in the hands of the Minister of Finance through policy statements, and confirms that it will follow a “fund of funds” model co-investing alongside existing funds.

Read more here: https://minterellison.co.nz/our-view/venture-capital-fund-bill-introduced-to-parliament