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WaikatoLink Consortium Wins $4.9m PreSeed Funding

WaikatoLink Consortium Wins $4.9m PreSeed Funding

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - 4 March, 2008 - A WaikatoLink led collaborative bid with Lincoln University, Canterprise and AUT University has won $4.94 million government pre-seed funding from the Foundation of Science Research and Technology (FRST) to help commercialise research from the universities.

The consortium is one of several research providers to secure funding from the Pre-Seed Accelerator Fund (PreSeed). The PreSeed Accelerator Fund supports public sector research providers to get early stage technologies "investor ready".

Collectively the universities will receive $1.645 million a year for 3 years. The total pool of funding available was $9.3 million per annum.

WaikatoLink’s chief executive Mark Stuart says, “The funding recognises the strong track record WaikatoLink has in translating research outcomes into commercial technologies, and the substantial return it generated from previous PreSeed funding. It also recognises the research and commercialisation capabilities of the other universities in the consortium, who will be receiving funding for the first time.”

”Working collaboratively each commercialisation group will share their knowledge, expertise, local and international networks and intellectual property. Working together will create opportunities for all parties.”

WaikatoLink has completed numerous licensing deals and established more than 12 start-up companies and joint ventures, which have collectively created more than 138 full-time equivalent jobs and achieved market capitalisation nearing NZ$200 million. Three start-ups have already been successfully exited.

Mark Stuart says, “The PreSeed funds awarded have the potential to fund dozens of projects from the consortium. A globally recognised problem in commercialising publicly funded research is bridging what is known as the funding gap or valley of death. This early stage funding is vital if we want to unleash the economic potential from the intellectual property in universities.”

Lincoln University’s Director, Research and Commercialisation, Peter John says, “The consortium approach creates a blueprint for what might occur more broadly in the science community – where the sum of the parts can create more value.”

Canterprise chief executive Raiyo Nariman says, "The PreSeed fund will allow Canterprise to engage with intellectual property showing commercial potential at an earlier stage than we currently do. The collaboration with the other consortium partners will add a huge amount of commercial capability and skill which will help bridge the gap between generating knowledge and producing prototypes.”

According to AUT Enterprises chief executive Kevin Pryor, “The PreSeed funding is vital to help technology prospects progress towards investor readiness.”

The PreSeed Accelerator Fund is designed to maximise the commercial benefits to New Zealand from publicly funded research. The PreSeed funds are available to support up to 50 per cent of the total eligible costs of qualifying projects or groups of projects. The consortium is in the process of finalising an investment board.

– ENDS –

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