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:

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

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).

Momentum Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Matū is proud to sponsor the Momentum Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award, a new part of the Kiwinet Research Commercialisation Awards. The award recognises a highly motivated New Zealand university student who has made significant progress developing an idea that can change the world. This student is making outstanding contributions to commercialisation and innovation, or has created an innovative businesses in New Zealand through technology licensing, start-up creation or by providing expertise to support innovation.

We are sponsoring the award because we think that it’s crucial that the next generation of young entrepreneurs be recognised for the contributions they are making to the entrepreneurship and investment community. Innovation generally faces a critical human capital shortage, and the more bright young people we can encourage to move in this direction, the stronger the community becomes and the more impact we can have on producing good outcomes for society.

Read more about the award, and apply here: Entries close Wednesday 19 June!

Strong Reliance on Angel Investors in New Zealand

Simmonds Stewart has provided a look into the differences in capital funding between New Zealand and Singapore, directly comparing the number of start-ups funded from various sources. The difference is stark – a much higher reliance on angel investors and groups in NZ, while more VC funds are taking the action in South-east Asia. Read more here:

Brief Commentary: The effect is that while Angels are providing good early capital in NZ, they don’t usually have the resources available in a VC firm to help support and guide businesses on their growth track towards a successful exit. Start-ups are often left to do their own thing, and investors passively hope that good outcomes arise. More recently, a number of small funds have popped up in New Zealand, often backed by Angels – but very few could be considered big enough to have the types of resources needed to pursue big deals. At Matu, we foresee some aggregation of resources in the future, which is in its early stages being seen as an increasing prevalence of syndication (where multiple funds contribute to a round to decrease the risk for each fund).

University of California Interviews Mekonos

The University of California Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship has released a really great, accessible article about Mekonos, one of our portfolio companies. It details the journey that the team has taken, and how they plan to take gene therapy using nanobots into the future!

To read more, see

Novartis focusing on disruptive technologies

The world’s largest pharmaceutical company, Novartis, has signalled their intent to move away from expensive manufacturing and towards new disruptive technologies like Crispr and CAR-T. While this means job losses in some manufacturing plants, jobs will also be created in cell and gene therapy manufacturing. This is great news for Mekonos, who have already been brought into Novartis facilities to develop their nano-robotic solution to cure diseases through cell therapy. Read more here:

Angel Association Awards Honour Matū Whānau

The Angel Association of New Zealand (AANZ) gave out two awards in 2018, recognising top founders/investor-directors and those who have given an outstanding contribution to the Angel community. We’re stoked that the Kotahitanga Award was given to Greg Sitters, our Managing Partner. Additionally, the Puawaitanga Award was given to Dana McKenzie, who we are delighted to have on our Investment Committee as well. Read more about the awards here:

Kia ora!

It’s early days here at Matū, and the best is yet to come! We’re still working on polishing up this website and getting the right content in the right places, so watch this space and we hope to have our first piece of news up here soon!