Student Entrepreneurs at Canterbury win $85k in prizes

Congratulations to the winners of the University of Canterbury Entré challenge, with $85k worth of prizes awarded to a range of students and companies. Really interestingly, there are three joint grand prize winners, with some very cool ideas in the mix.

Read more here: https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/news/2019/85k-in-prizes-awarded-to-entrepreneurial-students.html

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

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

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

Andy West Appointed Chair of SODA Incubator

Congraulations to Dr. Andy West, one of our General Partners, who has been selected to join the Board of the SODA incubator in the Waikato, and has also been elected Chairperson. There is a lot of opportunity for Matū to work with founder incubators like SODA, and to help lend our expertise and connections, so we are excited to form a closer relationship.

Read more here: https://www.sodainc.com/single-post/2019/08/20/Soda-Inc-announces-new-Board-Chairperson-and-Independent-Directors

Founder-led Biotech Companies in the Spotlight

Some interesting commentary at TechCrunch talks about the rise of founder-led biotech companies, in contrast to the VC-led model that is more common in the US. Since the risk in commercialising biotech is so high, and the capital required is huge, traditionally VC firms have taken the technology off the researchers and installed their own experienced teams to execute the vision. More recently, increasing numbers of biotech firms are led by the researchers themselves, who can learn the process of building a business and taking the product to market themselves.

Read more here: https://techcrunch.com/2019/08/09/biotech-researchers-venture-into-the-wild-to-start-their-own-business/

Momentum Student Entrepreneur of the Year Awarded!

The award was given out at the Kiwinet Research Commercialisation Awards last night in Auckland – congratulations to the winner, Cynthia Hunefeld. Completing a Masters degree at Victoria University of Wellington, Cynthia has started HerbScience, a company specialising in evidence-based nutraceuticals. With significant market validation, Cynthia is well placed to take on the big challenge of taking over the world – check out her website at http://herbscience.co.nz/

Congratulations also go to the other finalists, Connor Talbot of ProstheteX and Christopher Walker of Electroclear, both from the University of Auckland. The Matū team had a great time at the awards, and we’re looking forward to continued engagement with the Commercialisation Partner Network.

At the Kiwinet Research Commercialisation Awards on 7 Aug 2019, from left to right, Graham Scown (Return On Science and Momentum Programme Director), Cynthia Hunefeld (HerbScience), Odette Lees (Matū Fund Research Intern), Greg Sitters (Matū Fund Managing Partner), Andrew Chen (Matū Fund Venture Associate), and Ken Erskine (Matū Fund Principal General Partner).