UoA Prof Explores Ethics of 3D Printing

Stuff covers an interview with Prof. Olaf Diegel, who joined the University of Auckland earlier this year to run a lab that helps NZ industry use 3D printing more intelligently. In this article, he notes the social changes that would come with being able to print replaceable body organs, as well as the impacts that might arise from changes to lifestyle from food printing.

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CPN Funding for KiwNet and ReturnOnScience Increased

The big news in our neck of the woods this week has been the formal announcement of the Commercialisation Partner Network (CPN) getting increased operational funding, alongside a boost to the Pre-Seed Accelerator Fund (PSAF). Together, these two publicly funded programs help take great ideas out of research institutions and pair it with both expert advice and pre-seed funding to get these projects investment-ready.

We are proud to work with both KiwiNet and ReturnOnScience, both by giving our expertise back to the community (our team members sit on several ReturnOnScience Investment Committees), as well as providing forward pathways for high-performing projects to get seed capital and support.

The timing of the announcement was relatively fortuitous, as the Momentum program has spread to Dunedin with the first meeting of the Otago Momentum Investment Committee yesterday on the 9th of July. This makes three student-led Momentum committees: Auckland, Wellington, and Otago. This is a great initiative for professional development for the next generation of commercialisation and investment professionals, as well as a great opportunity for fast-moving projects (particularly those led by student teams) to get some advice and suggestions from a diverse range of perspectives.

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Ministerial Press Release:
KiwiNet Press Release:

Series A Fundraising Checklist

Pete Flint from US seed-stage venture firm NfX has published a 13-point checklist of key proof points that firms should have when pitching for a Series A. Many of these items are arguably needed for any business pitching for funding at any time, but are must-haves for Series A. We see a lot of project ideas that are missing several of these items, and it makes it very easy for someone to criticise the project when something just isn’t there. Crossing off everything on the list means that the investors can properly engage with the team and actually understand the strength of the idea/company.

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Technology Incubators

Callaghan Innovation has released a call for new Technology Incubators – it’s an exciting opportunity for firms, funds, and people working in the early-stage investment space to get some additional support, primarily in the form of Repayable Grants and OPEX funding. Read more about the new TIs and the bidding process here:

Slack’s Path to IPO

The VC community has been watching Slack’s listing on the NYSE intently, as Slack has used the unconventional direct listing approach which carries a lot of risk but also potential reward for the existing shareholders. Thus far it has looked to be successful, with a whopping 22-27x implied multiple on annual revenue, even though Slack is not profitable yet.

Here are two interesting datagraphics that have been prepared by analysts in the US about Slack’s pathway to the IPO exit:

NZ’s first FDA-granted Breakthrough Device

Congratulations to the team at Surgical Design Studio (SDS) and the University of Auckland for achieving a Breakthrough Device designation from the FDA – the first medical device in New Zealand to do so. SDS have a novel device to help those suffering from gastrointestinal diseases, transforming their recoveries from surgery by reducing complications and improving quality of life.

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Four Simple Pitch Tips

Melanie Perkins, CEO and co-founder of Australian unicorn Canva, has shared four pitch tips with Forbes. They’re surprisingly simple, but they carry a lot of truth with them and are key for any sort of presentation, whether you are pitching for millions in investment capital or engaging with public audiences.

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Rocket Lab not afraid of competition

Stuff has some excellent reporting today on an interview with Peter Beck, founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, discussing the huge amount of activity in the space start-up ecosystem and the challenges that brings. Of particular interest is the comment that most of the start-ups will fail, and with that a lot of investors will lose money and may become disillusioned and lose interested in space, which harms the industry as a whole. But to some extent, Rocket Lab has to just do the best job it can – it only has limited control over the competitors, and the focus has to be on beating the extremely high difficulty threshold of succeeding in space.

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$300mil Govt Fund for Venture Capital

The NZ Superannuation Fund has put out a press release that provides a lot more detail about the much anticipated $300mil “Series A” venture capital intervention fund, designed to help companies in the $2mil-$15mil valuation range. Commonly known as the “valley of death” in NZ investment circles, many companies at this stage end up having to go overseas to find capital. Using a small portion of the government’s superannuation contributions is a positive signal that there is strong belief that this asset class can produce good returns over a long time-frame. However, it may take awhile before request for proposals and managers are appointed – we expect it to take at least a year to get to the point where this funding actually becomes available.

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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!