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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Garage to Global

PART 5. TAKING INVESTORS ALONG ON THE JOURNEY

Building a business is a journey, along which there will be all sorts of challenges, setbacks, break-throughs, victories and adventures. We, of course, all hope and plan for more good things to happen than bad things along the way – but regardless, it is always a journey and always an adventure.

Investors in your business are key stakeholders who not only deserve to be included in the journey for their financial support of your business but are also people who have a vested interest in helping you in the various ways they may be able to.

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To share or not to share: is knowing your co-workers’ salary the key to closing the gender pay gap?

Mish.Guru, a social media content and analytics start-up, has become one of the latest companies in New Zealand to endorse transparent pay systems as a way to tackle gender pay disparity. But are these shared models really as effective as they seem, or are they just another trendy, token gesture?

Founded in 2014, Mish.Guru is a content marketing software that helps business create and manage campaigns on Snapchat and Instagram. After scoring investments from AngelHQ, Sparkbox, ICE Angels and various others the company started to transition their main revenue stream from service to product, as well as expanding to offices in Berlin, Sydney and New York.

Despite solid success with clients like Paramount Pictures, Visa and McDonalds, Mish.Guru’s team knew that succeeding in the tech industry wasn’t easy, especially for the women in their team.

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Get in quickly – AANZ Summit registrations open!

Diversity … making a difference and delivering outcomes

Last year we celebrated a decade of angel investing in New Zealand. And it was terrific to have that line up with some impressive success for angel backed companies with PowerbyProxi selling to Apple, Publons selling to Clarivate and ImeasureU selling to Oxford Metrics. Last year was also record year for ‘dollars into deals’ with a 26% increase on the previous year’s investment at $86m.

We are genuinely creating value for New Zealand and New Zealanders. At this year’s summit we will focus on amping up that value through the power of diversity. Why and how does a more feminine approach, both as founders and investors, add value? What values do different ethnicities bring to angel backed ventures to increase the prospect of success? Why is it important we include millennials in our ventures?

It’s all about making a difference… diversity and inclusion delivers higher value outcomes.

The 11th Annual NZ Angel Summit, 1/2 November, is being held at Marlborough Vintners, 10 minutes drive from Blenheim and in amongst the vineyards. We deliberately choose smaller intimate venues to ensure we create the right atmosphere for relaxed and rewarding conversations. Our last three summits have sold out as we prioritise places for those ‘doing deals’.

On the first morning we set the context for the two days by reviewing the year and have a session on the values that drive angel investors and how these impact on success. In the afternoon we apply these insights to the more practical aspects of angel investment with sessions on the new industry standard term sheet, how to ensure alignment with follow-on funding sources and dig into the government’s plans to support our endeavours, particularly with respect to tax reform. On Friday morning we focus on our own heroes and hear first-hand from some of our founders and investors who getting real traction offshore. All of this will be shot through with input from successful women and millennials in our community and deep engagement with Maori and our Asian investor migrant community.

Click here to register

Top New Zealand entrepreneur on building successful businesses

Some fascinating insights here from super successful kiwi, Linda Jenkinson who has intimately studied and succeed in scaling and selling businesses.

Linda Jenkinson is one of New Zealand’s most successful businesswomen. She’s been described as a serial entrepreneur, having founded numerous businesses, and was the first New Zealand woman to list a company on the NASDAQ stock exchange. She set up an NGO supporting businesswomen in West Africa, and as well as being a busy and experienced company director, she’s the recipient of numerous business awards. She talks to Kathryn about her beginnings in Palmerston North, and becoming a “relentless advocate” of Brand New Zealand.

Listen here

 

 

How do you handle a founders break-up?

Co-founder splits are seldom discussed, but happen more often than you’d think. Flux Accelerator partner Barnaby Marshall shares what he’s learnt from his experiences managing a start-up portfolio and provide some insights into how to prepare for the worst (while still expecting the best).

The fact is, of 100 companies that the Icehouse has funded through our various investment entities since 2012, 35 percent of them have had a founder leave the company.

Most of those have left within the first two years of our investment. Some of these have been very messy, some have been more civil, but in all cases they have cost time and money: the two most precious resources for any startup. Add to that the emotional stress and you have a recipe to rock even the most resilient founders, and in some cases — almost be a lethal blow to the business.

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Fintech Startups Accelerate to Success

A step-change is taking place in New Zealands flourishing fintech sector, with participants in the second iteration of the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator highlighting a growing maturity, sophistication and global potential.9 May 2018
A step-change is taking place in New Zealand’s flourishing fintech sector, with participants in the second iteration of the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator highlighting a growing maturity, sophistication and global potential.

Graduates of the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator 2.0 will showcase their work at a Demo Day in Wellington on May 16. Ventures will first pitch to angel investors and early stage venture funds at an investor-only session, followed by presentations to New Zealand’s business and fintech community later in the evening.

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Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network Launch the Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2018

Released at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Istanbul, GSER 2018 features strategic startup, investment and policy insights from over 10,000 founders in 60 ecosysytems – including New Zealand.

With insights ranging from the fast-growing dominance of ICT verticals to the filling of critical gaps in Success Factors both funding and startups, the Global Startup Ecosystems Report (GSER) 2018 continues to present thought-leadership and knowledge building driven by the world’s largest primary ecosystem research, Voice of the Entrepreneur. This is where we find out what it takes to build dynamic startup ecosystems with both local and global resonance and which cities around the world are doing it best.

Produced in partnership between Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) this year’s Global Startup Ecosystems Report launches at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Istanbul – signaling a strong commitment to advancing a greater understanding of startup ecosystems and the global network of capital and connections that drive them.

“We’ve now entered the Third Wave of innovation – where our global startup community is disrupting industries by combining technology with deep industry expertise. This is creating a potentially game-changing opportunity for smaller, less mature startup ecosystems that can now build out competitive advantage at a global level by focusing on their DNA and legacy strengths,” shares Startup Genome CEO and co-founder JF Gauthier.

A fitting occasion for the launch of this collaborative report, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress gathers thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and other startup champions from more than 170 countries to identify new ways of helping founders start and scale new ventures around the world.

“Research in the field is vital to shaping the interventions necessary to empower entrepreneurs around the world,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. “As thousands of startup champions gather this week to explore innovative approaches, efforts such as the Global Startup Ecosystem Report help us become better informed about what is needed.”

Incorporating data from Crunchbase and Orb Intelligence, as well as the voices of over 10,000 founders from 24 countries worldwide and counting – including some of New Zealand’s top startups like Flick Electric, Fuel 50 and Nyriad – GSER 2018 presents an incisive look at over 60 ecosystems. Through an analysis of startup output and legacy traits, it identifies the industries where each ecosystem has the most potential to build the vibrant economy for which it is uniquely positioned.

This year, GSER the report takes a close look at key sub-sectors such as Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics, Agtech, A.I., Big Data & Analytics, Life Sciences and Cybersecurity, as well as new technologies in education, health, advertising and finance. The sub-sectors in focus point towards imminent entrepreneurial revolutions. Thanks to SpaceX we may already have a car in space – but will we have greater diversity and value distribution on the ground and in our startup ecosystems? These are among key qualitative issues that GSER 2018 also looks at.

In the New Zealand ecosystem in particular, GSER provides a detailed look at the following subsectors: agtech and new food, health and life sciences and govtech.

Angel Association NZ has been delighted to partner with over a dozen ecosystem participants, including NZ Trade and Enterprise, Callaghan Innovation, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, the tech and founder incubators, NZX and others to bring a wealth of insight to the New Zealand findings.

Commenting on the value of the report, outgoing AANZ Chair Marcel van den Assum said that not only did the report raise New Zealand’s profile with the 60+ other ecosystems also taking part but it provided insights into where we are best placed to focus our resources to enhance the impact of New Zealand startups and technology.

Download the full report here: www.startupgenome.com/report2018.

 

ABOUT US

The Angel Association of New Zealand (AANZ)

The Angel Association is an organisation that aims to increase the quantity, quality and success of angel investments in New Zealand and in doing so create a greater pool of capital for innovative start-up companies. It was established in 2008 to bring together New Zealand angels and early-stage funds. AANZ currently has 30 members representing over 700 individual angels associated with New Zealand’s key angel networks and funds.

Startup Genome
Startup Genome works to increase the success rate of startups and improve the performance of startup ecosystems globally. Fueled by the Voice of the Entrepreneur – the world’s largest primary research conducted with more than 10,000 startups annually – Startup Genome advises leaders of innovation ministries, agencies and organizations supporting startups. It brings data-driven, actionable insights, clarity and focus needed to produce more scale-ups, jobs and economic growth worldwide. Visit www.startupgenome.com for more and stay up to date on Twitter or Medium.

The Global Entrepreneurship Network

The Global Entrepreneurship Network operates a platform of programs in 170 countries aimed at making it easier for anyone, anywhere to start and scale a business. By fostering deeper cross border collaboration and initiatives between entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and entrepreneurial support organizations, GEN works to fuel healthier start and scale ecosystems that create more jobs, educate individuals, accelerate innovation and strengthen economic growth. For more, visit www.genglobal.org and Follow GEN on Twitter.

ENDS

For interviews and further enquiries, please contact us:

Dinika Govender
Communications, Startup Genome
[email protected]

Jessica Wray Bradner

Communications, GEN
[email protected]

Suse Reynolds,

AANZ executive director
mob: 021 490 974 or email: [email protected]

Marcel van den Assum,

AANZ chair and 2015 Arch Angel
mob: 021 963 459 or email: [email protected]  

 

Get More Value From Your (Startup’s) Board

“Who’s on the board?”

A question I hear at least as often as I see a new startup.

Over the past 3 years I have been fortunate to see five boards working in practice, one as member of the management team and the rest as an observer. Alongside that, every entrepreneur we invest in talks about their board: there is good, there is bad, and every one has some ugly.

I wanted to share some observations on boards that I’ve formed in the hope of helping entrepreneurs and directors better select each other, work together, and create value.

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Record NZ$86 million invested into New Zealand startups in 2017

More investment was poured into New Zealand startups than ever before in 2017, with NZ$86 million ($81.7 million) invested into 111 companies.

The figures were revealed in the latest Young Company Finance Index, published by PwC New Zealand, the Angel Association of New Zealand (AANZ) and the government-backed New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF), which found that while the number of deals was just one below 2016, the total amount invested had increased by NZ$18 million.

Anand Reddy, partner at PwC New Zealand, said the investment levels are almost three times what New Zealand was seeing five years ago.

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NZ Startup Community Vibrant and internationally Competitive

The recent Angel Association and PwC release of data reveals a new record of $86 million flowing into early-stage businesses across the country.The recent Angel Association and PwC release of data reveals a new record of $86 million flowing into early-stage businesses across the country.

NZVCA Executive Director Colin McKinnon says: ‘The reported growth in investment dollars was due to an increasing number of larger deals in 2017, compared to the year before. The increased deal size indicates a maturing of the early-stage market. We are seeing angel investment building larger companies that are capable of attracting international investment.

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Angel investment rises 26% to reach record level

Startups in New Zealand received an unprecedented level of funding last year, with $86 million flowing into early-stage businesses across the country. That’s according to Startup Investment NZ, published by PwC New Zealand, the Angel Association of New Zealand (AANZ) and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF).

“It’s exciting to see such a large number of deals coming through to support early-stage companies. We’re seeing investment levels that are almost three times what we saw just five years ago” said Anand Reddy, Partner at PwC New Zealand.

John O’Hara, AANZ Chair, endorsed this sentiment noting that membership of angel networks continues to grow with a new network established in Marlborough last year and a budding network getting started in the Hawkes Bay.

Established networks like Ice Angels in Auckland, AngelHQ in Wellington and Enterprise Angels in Tauranga are also experiencing growing memberships.

Driving the growth in investment dollars is an increasing number of larger deals in 2017, compared to the year before. The number of deals in 2017 held steady at 111 – one lower than the 12 months previous – the total amount invested has risen by $18 million, a 26% increase.

Offering some insight on the larger number of dollars being invested in a similar number of deals, John O’Hara suggested it reflected a maturing ecosystem.

“A number of the ventures angels have backed are now looking for larger capital injections to fuel their growth. With a thin VC industry, it’s not surprising we are seeing larger deal sizes.

John also offered a word of caution to investors and founders.

“The market’s a little frothy right now. We’re seeing some strong valuations. Entrepreneurs have to be sure they’re not setting the bar too high with their forecast results. If they fail to meet these, it’ll make it make it harder for them to get the next round of funding.

“And investors will be similarly impacted. Flat and down rounds do not impact well on portfolio return prospects.”

Click here to find out more about how the startup sector is evolving, and where it’s heading next.

Click here to dive into the data about this asset class.

The network effect: NZ angel networks drive funding

Of the $86 million invested into young companies in 2017, over half ($49 million) came from angel investment networks, rather than individual funds or institutional investment.

“The strength of our angel investment networks in New Zealand is growing every day, which helps to explain why they’re responsible for a growing share of overall funding” says AANZ Chair John O’Hara.

“They’re responsible for over double the funding that’s coming through the next most-popular channel of angel funds.”

Raising funds from angel networks can take a little longer than other sources of early stage funding (such as mico-VCs and high networth individuals) given that sometimes over a dozen individual investors are collaborating to complete DD and gather the investment. Angel networks also tend to be run with a large component of voluntary input so founders and lead investors need to be committed project managers.

John notes that not only do networks tend to bring a larger pool of connections and expertise than single source funding options, they bring deeper reserves of connections for follow on funding.

“Angels are inveterate travellers and networkers and have connections in markets across the world which can be tapped for sales channels, in-market insights as well as follow on funding recommendations,” said John.

“Nothing beats getting on a plane with a line-up of carefully targeted meetings. New Zealand founders and investor directors need to spend more time in-market and be preparing for the founder to be based there,” John added.

He concluded by noting that lining up an in-market Board member was also an important component of scaling into offshore markets.

Click here to find out more about how the startup sector is evolving, and where it’s heading next.

Click here to dive into the data about this asset class.

Software the top sector for NZ angel investors

More than half the investment made in early stage companies in New Zealand last year was in the software and services space (53.8%), followed by 17% in technology hardware and equipment.

“Technology is increasingly the engine of growth for all companies, regardless of size” explains PWC’s Anand Reddy.

“It’s no surprise that it’s these areas where the most activity is happening and where angel and early-stage investors are putting their energy. This reflects global trends too. Data generated by Crunchbase notes that the software and services remains the dominant sector for investment.”

Speaking personally, John O’Hara said that his own portfolio leant towards software generated ventures.

“I am particularly proud of Ask Nicely, which produces software for NPS (net promoter score) collection and analysis. This company has already generated tangible returns for a number of the early angel investors. The company is now scaling into the US, with the founder moving to Portland, Oregon in the last couple of months.

“New Zealanders have a knack for practical problem solution and we are increasingly seeing them turn this knack into compelling business opportunities,” said O’Hara.

Click here to find out more about how the startup sector is evolving, and where it’s heading next.

Click here to dive into the data about this asset class.

2018 New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards – Finalists Announced

A record number of people gathered across Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington today to hear the finalists in the 2018 NZ Hi-Tech Awards announced.

Entries this year have come in from right across the country and this is reflected in the line up of finalists this year, according to Jen Rutherford, Chair of the Hi-Tech Trust, who says the standard of entries is the highest ever seen in the history of the Awards.

“This year’s finalists span the full spectrum of the hi-tech sector and the country. For 2018 we have made a really big push to ensure even greater diversity across the board and it’s great to see so many areas of the country represented, as well as a huge increase in the number of finalists led by women. The number of finalists with female CEO’s has almost doubled year-on-year. Whilst we are not there yet, we are moving in the right direction. Our industry is truly in great shape,” says Rutherford

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Little Yellow Bird’s Samantha Jones on the garment industry and sustainability (listen)

Little Yellow Bird founder Samantha Jones phones in from Thailand to chat about her business, the impact of the garment industry on the environment and humans, sustainability, and more.

“As much as we wish we didn’t, we all have problems. Some may just shrug them off and accept them, others – like Samantha Jones – get up and do something about them.”

That’s what we at Idealog wrote about Little Yellow Bird founder Samantha Jones back in 2017. The winner of the Young New Zealand Innovator Award at the 2017 Innovation Awards – and not to mention a recipient of a prestigious Edmund Hillary Fellowship – Jones has been on a mission to change perceptions and prove you can do good, while still doing good business.

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Cash, crypto and crowdlending: meet New Zealand’s rising FinTech future

From a platform that helps you lend support to the Māori economy to a system that allows you to donate your transactions fees to charitable causes, this year’s cohort for the second ever Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator promises big things for the future of the country’s financial system.

Sharesies was built on a simple idea: to make investing more accessible for regular people to do. It officially launched with some tentative hype in June, but by the end of the year, it was boasting more than 7,500 users on its platform — not bad for a company still in beta mode.

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Angels Tell the Truth: What Makes a New Company Fundable

There’s more than $100 billion dollars currently being invested annually by venture capitalists, private equity firms and angel investors. Why do some businesses get a piece of the action and others don’t? It comes down to the fundability of the company.

Entrepreneurs may think they have a great business idea, but investors may not see it that way. To learn why, entrepreneurs need to look at their business from the investor’s point of view. Just like the founder, investors are looking for a match made in heaven – when both company founder and investor make money in the end and all live happily ever after.

As an experienced angel investor, managing partner and CEO of Sofia Fund, here’s my advice – consider this the ultimate primer on demystifying the angel world.

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BioLumic raises US$5M for UV crop enhancement system

BioLumic has raised US$5 million in funding to help deal with growing global demand for increased agricultural crop yields using short-duration ultra-violet treatments rather than genetic modification or chemicals.

The Palmerston North-based company, creator of the world’s first crop-yield enhancement system using UV light, attracted funding from Silicon Valley agritech investor Finistere Ventures, the Radicle Growth acceleration fund whose investors include Finistere, Rabobank’s recently-launched global Food & Agri Innovation Fund and existing investors from across New Zealand. Finistere has previously backed Israeli agritech company CropX, which licensed research from New Zealand’s Landcare Research.

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A Day in the Life: Josh Comrie

The portfolio life doesn’t choose you. You choose the portfolio life. And that’s what serial entrepreneur, angel investor and general over-achiever Josh Comrie has done. This is how he balances everything.

What time do you wake up?

I start the day at 5 or 5.30am, unless I retired after 11, in which case I’ll treat myself to a 6am sleep in.

Do you have any morning rituals?

Several! First, I make my bed. Fully. I’ve only recently appreciated how important this is:

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Major trends in agtech for 2018

The disruption over the last decade in the retail food value chain gained momentum in 2017 with the IPO of Blue Apron, and acquisitions such as Bai Brands ($1.7 billion), Sir Kensington Condiments and Whole Foods by Amazon ($13.7 billion). This wave of disruption is being paralleled in the agricultural value chain, driven by increasing land turnover and altered land use, renewed focus on sustainability and, as in retail, changing consumer preference.

A continued slump in commodity prices has seen “Big Ag” facing declining margins and prompted a wave of consolidation to get cost efficiency, as well as a search for new innovation over the last three years. As key products in seed and chemistry have come off patent, the change imperative for the Big 6 has only strengthened. Coincidentally, the agtech investment landscape has exploded over the last decade, from a niche, opportunistic clade of the venture capital investment class, to a legitimate asset class attracting focused and generalist funds with dedicated agtech investment allocations.

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Nyriad raises $8.5 million for GPU-based resilient storage arrays

Nyriad has raised $8.5 million in venture capital for its resilient storage systems that are accelerated using graphics processing units (GPUs). Those storage systems are built to handle problems such as the simultaneous removal or failure of 20 hard disks at the same time.

The Cambridge, New Zealand-based company has now raised more than $11 million to date for its Nsulate software for managing large-scale storage arrays in data centers. The company is targeting the release of its first product in the first quarter of 2018.

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Invert Robotics raises $6.4 mln from private investors

Christchurch-based robot maker Invert Robotics raised more than $6 million from private investors as it expands into Europe and branches out into other sectors.

The company first raised $740,000 through crowdfunding platform Equitise in May 2016 and has now raised $6.4 million from private investors from Australia and New Zealand, including former Macquarie Group chief Allan Moss. Powerhouse Ventures is still the robot maker’s biggest shareholder, with 23 percent of the company, according to Companies Office filings. The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) is the second largest with 14.5 percent followed by Guildford Investments with 5.3 percent.

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Upside Biotechnologies wins $409k research grant

Upside Biotechnologies, a regenerative tissue developer spun out of Auckland University, has won a $409,000 research grant to prepare its PelliCel product for a clinical trial and deepening its existing relationship with the US Army.

Auckland-based Upside, which raised $2.3 million last year, won the Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC) prototype acceleration award, it said in a statement. The biotech firm is developing an advanced skin replacement treatment for burn victims, enabling a small sample of unburnt skin to be grown in a lab and used as skin grafts for patients who don’t have enough uninjured skin for a conventional graft.

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New Zealand researchers developing non-addictive alternative to opioids as an anaesthetic

Kiwi researchers developing a new anaesthetic as an alternative to highly-addictive opioids have been given an $8 million boost.

The Medical Research Commercialisation Fund today announced an investment of $8 million in Series A funding to allow the developers to set up Kea Therapeutics Ltd, an early stage pharmaceutical company which is developing the drug.

Kea Therapeutics is a spin-off from the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre and Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Waikato Clinical Campus, University of Auckland.

The investment, the first from the fund for a New Zealand company, would allow the company to commercialise its substitute for strong opioids in a range of clinical scenarios from pre-hospital to post-surgical pain relief and sedation.

Medical Research Commercialisation Fund investment manager Duncan Mackintosh said non-opioid pain relief was urgently needed for the management of severe pain.

“Opioids have a range of unwanted side effects, are highly-addictive and are causing a global epidemic of dependency on this type of pain medication. Kea’s approach offers the potential for a safer alternative to opioids for the management of pain that is not addictive and could be used in a wider range of clinical settings.”
Anaesthetist, Professor Jamie Sleigh from the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Waikato Clinical Campus, recognised the need for non-opioid pain relief alternatives.

Working with medicinal chemist Distinguished Professor Bill Denny at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, they initiated an integrated drug discovery programme to develop a new drug which retained the positive, pain relieving features of ketamine, while removing significant side effects that limited its broader clinical use.

Denny said opioid tolerance and abuse was now such a huge problem, particularly in America, an alternative was needed.

About 15 per cent of patients were now tolerant to opioids because of previous abuse, he said.
Denny and Sleigh started working on the drug in 2010 after Sleigh suggested there must be a way to use ketamine as an anaesthetic without the nasty side effects which included hallucinations.

“The problem with ketamines, adults say it’s a terrible experience and they don’t want to use it again,” Denny said.

They had now developed an analog of it which would put people to sleep but allow them to wake up as soon as the infusion was stopped, with no psychosis.

The drug had been tested on rats with success and Denny hoped they would now be able to start clinical trials in about a year.

Evelyn Body, UniServices director of commercialisation for biotechnology and board member of Kea Therapeutics, said Kea Therapeutics wanted “to transform the pain relief industry with a much-needed, non-opioid approach” and the funding would help them get to clinical testing and then on to the global pharmaceutical market.

First published-NZ Herald 13th December 2017

New Zealand’s Utility Electric Vehicle, UBCO, now on-road and offshore

After successfully raising NZ$4.20M earlier this year, including NZ$1.40M from US investors, Spring Capital and successful technology entrepreneurs Bob and Ethan Ralston, UBCO is now growing their global market both on- and off-road. The off-road market in North America alone is estimated at US$12.7bn (including both 2 and 4-wheel drive vehicles) and the on-road market is about US$6.21bn USD.

Over the last year funds have been spent on R&D, market development, marketing and operating costs. The results are looking good both in product and market outputs.

In May 2017 UBCO Bikes USA, LLC was established in Eugene, Oregon as a dedicated distributor of all Ubco products in the USA. Subsequently, a dealer network has been established across a number of US states, from Oregon to Mississippi, including BMW and John Deere dealership groups. With 120 units dispatched to the US to date, and a further 90 units on-order, the size and frequency of orders is increasing.

In Australia, UBCO appointed a national distributor that is focussed on rural agricultural equipment and there is already a 20′ container of 2018 2x2s being distributed across Australia.

The latest UBCO 2×2 is a road registerable Utility Electric Vehicle that is classified as a moped/scooter/motor-driven cycle globally and can be driven on-road with as little as a learner car driving license. The new model has been significantly upgraded with proprietary design, parts, and improved electrical integration it has improved strength, durability, ride comfort as well as higher performing motors and improved sealing.

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$1.75 million boost to new Kiwi company Thematic

Kiwi company Thematic has received additional $1.75 million in seed funding to add to its already impressive list of clients just six months after launching.

The company, which uses artificial intelligence to take the leg-work out of analysing survey data, was started by husband and wife team Alyona Medelyan and Nathan Holmberg.

They were recently accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive startup accelerator programmes, Y Combinator, where they had the opportunity to pitch their business plan to Silicon Valley’s biggest names.

The company today announced it had received $1.75m in seed funding, led by venture capital firm AirTree Ventures. The fledgling business also received an investment from Y Combinator as well as a number of individuals and San Francisco-based angel investors.

Thematic already has big-name customers in six countries including Vodafone, Air New Zealand, Stripe, Ableton and Manpower Group.

“The aim is to grow the business further globally. The business is investing in new engineering, sales and marketing staff to fuel its growth,” the company said in a statement.

The founders now want to set up an office in the United States and start hiring sales people.
Thematic specialises in analysis of “free text” responses to targeted questions, which are the hardest to analyse.

“Our technology helps businesses to understand what their customers are saying at scale. It’s one thing to collect an NPS [net promoter score], it’s a whole different ball game to deeply understand the specific issues and themes driving that score,” the statement said.

Thematic’s technology enables clients to take into account written customer feedback —
the part of the survey that actually told companies what they were doing right and wrong.

Medelyan has a PHD in natural language processing and machine learning, while her husband and business partner, Holmberg, quit his job as chief architect for leading music software company Serato once the couple realised the technology’s potential.

First published in NZ Herald – 29th November 2017

Conscious Consumers raises $2m, sets sights on UK

In one of the biggest capital raises for a social enterprise in New Zealand ever, Conscious Consumers has attracted $2 million of investment for their upcoming launch into the United Kingdom. but what might it mean for the health of the industry?

Jamie Newth, from impact investment specialists Soul Capital, is a lead investor in the business, which connects ‘conscious’ consumers with ethical retailers. “It’s no surprise that this is one of the largest capital raises in history for a New Zealand social enterprise,” says Newth. “Internationally, ethical spending is on the rise, and home-grown companies like Conscious Consumers are well-placed to promote their product to a global audience. There has been a huge amount of interest from UK investors.”

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StartToday considers whether StretchSense fits

This has been a great year for validation of angel backed ventures. Angel investors in StretchSense are delighted with the traction this venture is getting.

StretchSense, a New Zealand-based wearable sensor manufacturer spun out from University of Auckland, revealed yesterday that it had agreed a call option to be acquired by e-commerce portal StartToday.

StartToday already owns a 39.9% stake in the spinout ad would pay $72m for the remaining shares.

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Lead Partners

NZTE NZVIF PWC

Expert Partner

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AANZ Summit Sponsors

Callaghan Innovation “UniServices” Kiwinet “Spark”