Coherent Solutions Rebrands to Quantifi Photonics

Coherent Solutions, a early-stage high-tech start-up focusing on optical communication and photonics test and measurement equipment has rebranded to reflect the company’s broadening portfolio of products. Applications include the test of fibre-optic cables, data centres, LIDAR-enabled autonomous vehicles, and more. The company was founded in 2012, and is soon considering a Series B raise, demonstrating how long deep tech companies can take to get to success, but that success can be very large when they get there!

Read more here: https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU2009/S00311/coherent-solutions-rebrands-to-quantifi-photonics-and-sets-sights-on-us24-trillion-global-market.htm

PowerON kickstarts MEiTNER research group

Congratulations to the team at PowerON for establishing the MEiTNER (Mulitfunctional Dielectric Electronics for Next Generation Soft Robotics) research group at TU Dresden as part of a 2 million Euro research grant over six years.

“Flexible robot systems will open up completely new applications that seem unimaginable to engineers today. We draw inspiration from the natural world around us – the end result of millions of years of evolution.” says Dr. Markus Henke, MEiTNER group leader at TU Dresden and PowerON’s CEO.

Read more here: https://www.poweron.one/new-robots-step-forward-meitner-begins/

Building Momentum into the Future

Andy Shenk from UniServices has written a piece celebrating the launch of the fifth Momentum Investment Committee in the Manawatū.

The team at Matū are proud to support Momentum, both through our sponsorship of the Momentum Student Entrepreneur of the Year award, and through our participation on most of the Momentum committees. Through our engagement with Momentum, we can share our experience and expertise with both student entrepreneurs and student investment committee members, and help build capability within the next generation of the investment ecosystem.

Read more here: https://www.uniservices.co.nz/why-our-momentum-committees-are-investment-future

Avoiding Negotiation Mistakes

Laura Faulconer from WNT Ventures has written a great blog post detailing some key lessons around negotiating terms for seed-stage deals. It’s natural for founders to be wary of investors and their terms, but it’s important to develop trust and to find investors that you know are looking out for the collective interest of the company and its future. Trust is pretty critical, because once it’s gone it can be very difficult to rebuild – and investors talk to each other.

Read more here: https://wntventures.co.nz/common-seed-investment-negotiation-missteps/

Open Problems in Engineering Biology

Vijay Pande and Andy Tran from Andressen Horowitz have penned a piece about the top 16 open problems that they can see in engineering biology, particularly in the pharma space. There are a number of “traditional” methods waiting to be disrupted, from animal testing to computational modelling. Our portfolio company Mekonos is targeting problem #6 – engineering delivery systems.

Read the full article here: https://a16z.com/2020/07/22/16-open-problems-engineering-biology/

Aroa Biosurgery lists on the ASX

Congratulations to the team at Aroa Biosurgery, which is listing today on the ASX with a valuation of AUD$225mil. Originally known as Mesynthes, Aroa has been developing wound dressings and soft tissue regeneration products since 2008. Getting the company all the way through to exit is a huge milestone for everyone involved, with congratulations in particular to Movac for putting a lot of time and effort into guiding and shepherding the company through to this stage.

Read more here: https://www.afr.com/companies/healthcare-and-fitness/fundies-flock-to-aroa-biosurgery-float-20200721-p55e0r

and the Aroa Biosurgery press release here: https://aroabio.com/blog/news_article/aroa-biosurgery-to-list-on-the-asx-in-225m-ipo

A VC that funds ‘Technical Risk’

TechCrunch has an interesting interview with Ashmeet Sidana, founder of Engineering Capital, a VC fund in the US that focuses on interesting engineering and technology. There are a lot of similarities with our approach, working closely with research institutions to find interesting science and technology. We do also look at markets and customers though, because sometimes cool technology doesn’t just “sell itself”.

Read more here: https://techcrunch.com/2020/07/08/this-vc-just-closed-on-60-million-to-fund-technical-risk-saying-other-vcs-rarely-do-the-same/

The Art of the Board

Mike Volpi writes on TechCrunch about the value of having a Board of Directors in an early-stage start-up, and what sort of relationship the Board should have with Management. A number of key messages in this article are the same ones we espouse in our Governance for Early-Stage Companies workshops. The role of the Board isn’t to be the boss of the CEO (unless it is really necessary), but rather to provide day-to-day support and guidance in a way that adds value.

Read more here: https://techcrunch.com/2020/02/12/effective-board-members-create-value-for-startups/

The VCF Launches with a New Name: Elevate

A launch event was held for the Elevate NZ Venture Fund last night in Auckland, with three government ministers present and many of New Zealand’s early-stage investors represented. This is the $300 million early-stage intervention that was announced in the Budget last year, and the government is hoping that it will help supercharge the hunt for unicorns.

At the event, Phil Twyford said: “New Zealand has averaged around one new unicorn a year – a technology company with a market valuation of a billion dollars-plus – through the likes of Xero, Lanzatech and Rocket Lab. As more capital becomes available, we want to see more of these new companies emerging.”

The event also revealed a new name for NZVIF, which will now be the New Zealand Growth Capital Partners. The name points towards the co-investment approach used, either as direct investments into start-ups or with a fund-of-funds model, where NZGCP deploys capital into other investment funds.

You can read more here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/120014084/governments-300m-venture-capital-fund-seeks-unicorn-technology-companies
or
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12313894
or the official press release: https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA2003/S00033/elevate-nz-venture-fund-to-lift-productivity.htm

Lanaco helping manufacture masks to help limit spread of COVID-19

With a global shortage of face masks, Lanaco has been using their wool-based air filter technology to manufacture millions of masks quickly over the last couple of weeks. The wool comes from a specially bred sheep, which has a high electrostatic charge that attracts particles towards the filter and allows air to flow through.

Read more here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/119759842/cactus-outdoor-launches-wool-face-mask-amid-global-shortage