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Introducing Outset, NZ’s Largest Deep Tech Hub Gets New Name

 Today New Zealand’s largest and fastest growing hub for deep tech startups is getting a new name, with LevelTwo becoming Outset Ventures.

CEO Imche Fourie says the new name reflects the evolution of Outset Ventures into the country’s largest company incubating and investing in early stage ventures founded on science and engineering breakthroughs addressing global challenges.

“We’ve grown beyond being a shared space on the second floor of a building to a place where entrepreneurs can grow their groundbreaking science and engineering innovations with us ‘from the outset’,” says Ms Fourie. “The new name speaks to our commitment to grow New Zealand’s flourishing deep tech entrepreneurial community, where founders can find support to fuel their global ambitions of curing diseases, slowing climate change, reversing pollution; and producing sustainable foods, fuels and space flights.”

Previously the birthplace of Rocket Lab, LanzaTech and Mint Innovation, which once all resided on ‘level two’ within the Outset Ventures building, the company now houses commercial laboratory and workshop facilities, a six-month pre-incubation ‘Launch Lab’ programme, and a $10 million deep tech fund raised with Icehouse Ventures that will back 20-30 ventures over the next three years.

Outset Ventures welcomed the third startup into its new Launch Lab programme last month; Dennisson Technologies, which has also received investment from the deep tech fund. The company is developing a soft, clothing-like exosuit as a low-cost, lightweight alternative to traditional medical devices used to help people unable to move their limbs without assistance.

“We are thrilled at the massive support from Outset Ventures,” says CEO of Dennisson Technologies Anvil Bañez, who founded the wearable technology company last year with the aim of helping people like his father, who suffered from the effects of Polio, walk again. “The funding, Launch Lab programme, and new connections we are making puts us one step closer to realising our dream to help millions more like my dad get up and moving more comfortably and independently.”

Dennisson Technologies is the fifth company to be backed by the deep tech fund, with previous investments made into Helico Bio, a company growing insulin from plants; medtech startup HeartLab, and airport fog dispersal systems company Pyper Vision. A sixth investment is expected to be finalised in the coming days.

Companies backed by Outset Ventures can also seek advice and mentorship from New Zealand’s most successful deep tech founders, including Rocket Lab’s Peter Beck and LanzaTech’s Dr Sean Simpson, who are passionate about growing New Zealand’s entrepreneurial community.

The number of deep tech ventures housed within Outset Ventures is set to rise significantly from the 180-plus people currently working across 21 companies based within the Auckland building, which has been recently renamed ‘Future House’.

The five-story building’s massive refurbishment will see the 3,500 square meters allocated to Outset Ventures, and another 5,500 square meters dedicated to science and engineering companies once renovations are complete later this year.

The new layout will include additional state-of-the-art laboratories and workshops, as well as shared meeting and event spaces, with the latter poised to be the venue for New Zealand’s first deep tech symposium scheduled for October.

The November 2020 issue of the “Startup Investment New Zealand magazine”, prepared by PwC and the Angel Association of New Zealand predicts significant growth for the local deep tech sector, which currently accounts for 25 per cent of all startup investment.

Globally, a recent PWC report shows “climate tech,” which is part of the deep tech community along with the aerospace, agritech, biotech, and medtech industries, is growing five times faster than overall VC investment, and a report by Morgan Stanley predicts the global space industry will become a trillion dollar industry by 2040.

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