Aquafortus wins global award

New Zealand’s Aquafortus Technologies has won the TechXchange Rising Star award for best new technology at Singapore’s International Water Week, this closes out a successful six weeks for the start up, which included an oversubscribed funding round and breaking ground on its first pilot plant in the U.S.

Aquafortus was invited to exhibit under Singapore’s National Water Agency, the Public Utilities Board at Singapore International Water Week. Singapore International Water Week is a global event that brings together world leaders in the wastewater industry, with more than 21,000 participants from 125 different regions.

The tradeshow was a great success for Aquafortus – generating more than a dozen sales leads across eight countries. It also saw new sector applications for Aquafortus’ Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) technology, with significant interest from major players in the semiconductor and textile industries, says Daryl Briggs,CEO of Aquafortus.

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The number of deals is shrinking but venture capital still hit a record in Australia

Venture capital in Australia hit a record $US630 million ($AU849 million) in the 2017-18 financial year, up 12% on the previous 12 months, despite a drop in the number of deals, according to Venture Pulse Q2 2018, a quarterly report by KPMG.

Over the three months to June, $US209.09 million of startup investment was recorded in Australia, up from the $US169.8 million the previous quarter.

However, the number of deals was 27, down from 31, continuing a trend for bigger raises to more mature startups.

“Venture financing continues to rise in Australia, keeping pace with worldwide trends,” says Amanda Price, Head of KPMG Australia High Growth Ventures.

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Into the dragon’s den with New Zealand’s million-dollar investments

Hundreds of New Zealand’s wealthiest investors gathered for the 2018 Flux Demo Day last week for a night of wining, dining, and million-dollar business investments. Jihee Junn went along to watch this year’s plucky startups pitch it out.

“The first rule of investing is: don’t leave the table when the food’s being served!” a jolly looking man at my table exclaimed. We were halfway through the night’s events when platters of braised beef, roast potatoes and Akaroa salmon were brought out to the room’s 400 or so investors. As we dug into our family-style meals, passing along giant plates of food from left to right, I asked some of my fellow diners – all older, wealthier, and a lot more male than me – for their thoughts on the startups that had pitched so far. On the whole, their responses were akin to a placid shrug.

“They were okay,” said one man, who told me his day job was working at a private investment firm. Those sitting next to him nodded in agreement. “I’m not really here to invest tonight, but if I was, there probably hasn’t been anything yet to make me want to get out my wallet.”

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Comment: Five steps to stronger capital markets

If the New Zealand economy were a human body, then we can think of capital as the oxygen required to sustain life.

In a functioning capital market, those seeking capital are brought together with those who wish to deploy it. This lowers the cost of equity and debt, boosts the growth of funding and sparks wealth creation.

Is this economic oxygen flowing as it should? Most New Zealand companies listed on the stock exchange (NZX) have unrestricted access to capital, enjoy diverse and internationally-based registers, and are trading at fair to elevated multiples.

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Ten Companies selected for Zino New Kiwis Startup Challenge

Debra Hall, an experienced angel investor and Chairman of Zino Innovation Hub, which runs the Challenge, says the Zino team was delighted at the level of interest shown, with 42 companies, and entrepreneurs from 16 countries, entering the competition.

“As investors in start-up companies, we regularly see talent being wasted because new migrants simply don’t have the connections, the access to capital and sometimes even the language to navigate the early stage of growing a business. Zino is committed to changing this, to create new value for New Zealand” said Hall.

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A cow-whispering fitbit

The big farming news of the year so far has been an outbreak of the Mycoplasma bovis disease in cows, which forced the Government to come up with an $886 million eradication plan last month. But as this month’s Fieldays event showed, it’s not all bad news in our farming sector. When it comes to farm technology – or “agritech” as it’s known – New Zealand is a global leader.

A new report by Callaghan Innovation claims that “New Zealand is seen as one of four locations to watch for agritech solutions alongside Silicon Valley, Boston, and Amsterdam.”

I reached out to several agritech experts to find out why New Zealand is so well regarded internationally. Okay, we have a deep history of agriculture in this country. But it requires more than a pair of gumboots and the clichéd “number 8 wire” attitude to create advanced farming technology.

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SwipedOn CEO explains how his Tauranga SaaS startup went global

SwipedOn is a fast-growing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) that is used in more than 2000 cities worldwide, and it all started in the Bay of Plenty.

The company provides an iPad-based visitor management system that replaces visitor books, which has proven hugely popular in the UK and US, as well as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

According to CEO and founder Hadleigh Ford, there’s no reason why New Zealand can’t have its own Silicon Valley based right here in the Bay of Plenty.

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NZ company growing new skin for burn victims

A Kiwi biotechnology company which has found a way to grow bigger-than-A5 sheets of replacement human skin says the product might be ready to start clinical trials on burn patients in 2020 or 2021.

Upside Biotechnologies, a company which spun out of the University of Auckland’s immunology research area, announced this week it has raised $2 million in a convertible notes issue from existing investors.

And it is preparing for a $10m to $15m capital raising later this year, which will hopefully take it into clinical trials 12-15 months after that.

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Why you SHOULD be an angel investor… it’s all about portfolio management

Australian early stage angel investors often treat start-up investing like horse racing. They punt with money they’re willing to lose, but this approach has led to a lack of discipline and very poor returns.

They place a few bets based on a good jockey (founder), their form (prior success), the stable (team and advisers), horse (business), equipment (technology), running line (strategy) and weather conditions (market), but start-ups should not be treated as an adrenaline-shot gamble where the majority of investors lose their money and a few “lucky” punters make a killing.

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Third annual ‘Investor’s Guide to the NZ Technology Sector’

Rising domestic investment in New Zealand’s early-stage technology companies is creating more opportunities for follow-on investment from a growing number of international investors. This is according to the third annual Investor’s Guide to the New Zealand Technology Sector published jointly by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and theTechnology Investment Network (TIN).

The guide showcases New Zealand’s diverse range of high growth technology companies, innovation capabilities and supportive business environment, and presents a compelling case for investment in New Zealand’s technology sector.

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