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Sci-tech start-ups get a head start


The University of Auckland’s commercialisation company, Auckland UniServices, is offering start-up companies on its Return On Science or Momentum Programmes and others a head start.

Participants will get a unique, free suite of documents, the Easy Start-Up Pack, designed to speed up the formation of a start-up to become investor ready. The documents are also available to download free at UniServices Easy Start-Up page.

The new pack, potentially worth thousands of dollars, was launched at the Angel Association Summit in Christchurch last week. The Angel Association New Zealand is the champion for early stage investment in NZ - Momentum and UniServices are sponsors of the AANZ and the Summit.

“We know that getting the right documents for your start-up company can be daunting and costly. To help facilitate start-ups in New Zealand and make the process seamless we’re launching our Easy Start-Up pack,” comments Graham Scown, Programme and Commercialisation Director – Return On Science |Momentum.

“These are the same best practice documents we use at UniServices and over the past four years we have taken to market more than 30 companies and raised over $90 million of capital for those companies.”

Scown says that by offering this package UniServices aims to increase transparency and demystify the process of starting a new company.

The documents will enable start-ups to follow a simple, tried and tested process saving them time and money, reducing their overheads and helping them focus on getting the business plan executed.

The new pack includes templates for a constitution, a convertible note agreement, a shareholders’ agreement and a licence agreement.

“By sharing our process with the companies, we hope to encourage and strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit in New Zealand. This pack is not intended to replace legal advice. However, it will get people started in the right direction and reduce the need for lengthy consultations.”

The Momentum Programme was the first of its kind in New Zealand when it was conceived and launched with the formation of a student-led investment committee by the University of Auckland’s UniServices through its Return On Science programme in June 2017. The committee provides student entrepreneurs with expert advice and direction to help commercialise their innovations. As a result, business and investment sectors can expect to see these ‘pre-seed’ intellectual property (IP) and technology projects coming to market faster and with greater chance of success.

Momentum Programme investment committees are accredited by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) to make investment decisions and recommendations for placement of PreSeed Accelerator Funds.

Momentum Programme investment committees also push for natural incorporation of Te Reo Māori into each meeting. Karakia and Mihi are delivered at the beginning and end of each investment committee meeting, and the roles of Kaikarakia (karakia leader) and Kaimihi (Mihi leader) are shared.

The Momentum Programme is being rolled out progressively across New Zealand. To date, the programme has 103 projects in action – 68 in Auckland, 20 in Wellington, nine in Otago and three in Canterbury.

Will Charles, Auckland UniServices executive director Commercialisation, adds, “Giving student entrepreneurs the tools and the confidence to commercialise their innovation sooner will really benefit innovation in NZ. We’re just removing another barrier to their potential success.”

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