News

Hanie Yee joins Matū as Iramoe-Executive in Residence

The Matū team is proud to welcome Hanie Yee into a newly created position as an Iramoe-Executive in Residence. Our Whakatipu Tāngata Policy is about developing capability in the early-stage investment space, especially in human capital, giving more people the opportunity to experience and develop skills about how venture capital and start-ups work. Hanie was previously an Iramoe-Observer, attending our team meetings and getting an insight into how we run the Matū Fund. She now steps into this newly created role, which will involve more hands-on training through due diligence and project sourcing processes, as well as opportunities to work with our target and portfolio companies in governance and operational support.

Hanie has 20 years international experience working in the biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device industries, including almost a decade at Fisher and Paykel Healthcare. With a background in biology and medical science, she recently completed her Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management and Leadership from Darden Business School, University of Virginia.

She has a passion for helping nurture and grow start-ups and founders, especially in healthcare and medtech, and has recently been advising a number of early-stage medical device companies, including OPUM and Alimetry. Hanie is an independent member of the Return on Science Medtech and Surgical, and Auckland Momentum Investment Committees, and is an associate member of the Institute of Directors.

Hanie says: “The space that Matū operates in – the intersection of deep tech and science – this really excites me. I have a passion for, and expertise, in this space, and working with Matū provides me an opportunity to develop investment skills while also applying what I have learnt in the past. I also like Matū’s philosophy and approach – at this point in my career, I only want to join organisations that align with my values. Matū values people, and is an active collaborator with the businesses that they want to invest in, rather than just growing money passively. It’s about the journey, not just the destination, and Matū goes on that journey with the companies.”

We are creating this new role to help candidates with existing professional experience in adjacent areas get a kickstart into the world of early-stage investment. Through mentoring and training with the rest of the wider Matū team, we are helping Iramoe-Executives gain experience relevant to angel and venture capital investing, both in the extensive investment process, but also the support for our portfolio companies (post-investment). Our goal is to offer a deep experience across all parts of our operations, with the aim of building a career in this space.

Investment #5: Ligar Polymers

We are excited to announce that we have placed investment into Ligar Polymers, a filtering and extraction company based in Hamilton.

Ligar is commercialising Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (MIPs) based on technology developed at Waikato Institute of Technology (WinTec) and the University of Waikato. The MIPs enable very high-selectivity extraction of molecules from fluids, which can then be eluted and/or discarded. There are a broad range of applications, including removing heavy metals contaminants from drinking water, extracting high-value bioactives from horticultural waste streams, and removing smoke taints from wine.

This announcement has been almost a year in the making, as we have worked closely with the company to develop their thinking and strategy, as well as assisting with governance and partnerships. The company has been operating for a number of years, but we think that now is a good time to back Ligar as they make progress with a number of international customers and partners. We have also been working closely with Ligar and Te Whāi Ao Limited on a joint venture called The Refinery, a local initiative to extract bioactives from avocado, kiwifruit, hops, and hemp.

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

Bioactives initiative launched today

Our portfolio company Ligar Polymers, in conjunction with our partners at Te Whāi Ao Limited, have today announced the launch of The Refinery, a joint venture that will use Ligar’s MIP technology to extract high-value bioactive compounds from Aotearoa plant-based foods and horticulture. The team at Matū are pleased to be involved and providing advice to both Ligar and Te Whāi Ao, and are excited to see the potential for The Refinery grow.

Read more here: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=12356158

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