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KiwiNet receives $10 million PreSeed investment

KiwiNet receives $10 million PreSeed investment to turn science into business innovation success

Hamilton, New Zealand - 28 June 2016 - The Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet) has received $10.3 million of new investment over the next three years, under a new allocation of Government PreSeed investment, to help transform cutting edge science into commercial reality.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s PreSeed Accelerator Fund is targeted at maximising the commercial benefits to New Zealand from publicly funded research. PreSeed provides investment for commercialising research discoveries from New Zealand’s Universities, Crown Research Institutes and government funded research organisations.

KiwiNet (www.kiwinet.org.nz), a consortium of research organisations working together to increase the scale and impact of science-based innovation launched in 2011, has grown to include 16 research organisations and encompass over 70% of New Zealand's scientists.

KiwiNet’s PreSeed investment partners have invested over $26.7 million into more than 500 projects since 2003. To date PreSeed investment has led to over 153 commercial deals attracting over $114 million of business investment and 27 new start-up companies.

PreSeed success stories include Aduro Biopolymers from the University of Waikato, Cawthron Institute’s marine natural toxins for calibrating seafood testing equipment, Avalia Immunotherapies from the University of Victoria, CropLogic from Plant & Food Research, and ESR’s STRmix™ breakthrough for forensic analysts which assists investigations using DNA evidence previously considered too complex to interpret.

“PreSeed is enabling a huge range of scientific discoveries to be transformed into new business opportunities and there are plenty more opportunities where they came from,” says KiwiNet’s General Manager, Dr Bram Smith.

“At a time when Kiwis are looking to diversify and grow our economy, these projects are enabling new products, services and companies that are creating jobs and export revenue. This new investment from the government will be used to unlock many more commercial opportunities from publicly funded science.”

KiwiNet is distinctive globally. New Zealand is the only country where the majority of its universities and Crown Research Institutes voluntarily pool their research commercialisation funding and collectively allocate it to publicly funded research projects based on their commercially viability.
GNS Science and the Malaghan Institute have both joined the KiwiNet consortium within the last year. Neal Wai Poi, Acting CEO at GNS Science says “This is a great investment in the New Zealand innovation system. It recognizes the high quality of work in our public research institutes and the role KiwiNet plays in bringing this to market.”

Collaboration is at the core of KiwiNet’s approach according to Andrew Turnbull, Chair of the KiwiNet Investment Committee. “Through KiwiNet, research organisations are combining resources, sharing networks and helping each other to lift everybody’s performance. The result is a stream of new business opportunities with strong scientific foundations that can compete globally,” he says.

Geoff Todd, Managing Director at Viclink Ltd says: “PreSeed plays crucial role in enabling Viclink Ltd to pursue commercial opportunities based on research at Victoria University of Wellington. New start-ups such as Boutiq Science Ltd and Auramer Bio Ltd would not have formed without PreSeed investment. This new PreSeed fund will enable many more exciting new opportunities.”

David Hughes, Group GM Commercial at Plant and Food Research (PRF) says: “PreSeed provides Crown Research Institutes like PFR with investment that is not available elsewhere for exploring new industry partnerships in new technology domains. For example, Wine Grenade Ltd was formed out of research at PFR originally used for fruit ripening and repurposed for wine processing. PreSeed investment enabled the creation of a start-up company providing a simple and cost effective tool to help winemakers.”

The organisations partnering to pool their PreSeed Funding through KiwiNet include WaikatoLink, Plant & Food Research, Lincoln University, AUT Enterprises, University of Canterbury, Callaghan Innovation, Viclink, Cawthron Institute, ESR, NIWA, GNS Science and Malaghan Institute.

ENDS

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