New Tech Incubators – addressing the scarcity of great angel food?

Angels are always looking for great deals.

Great deals have three key characteristics – a really clever product, a lucrative addressable market, and a smart team of people who have the skills and experience to deliver that product to the market.

Last week the Minister of Science and Innovation, Stephen Joyce, announced the successful candidates for the government’s new tech incubator programme. This programme aspires to get more of the wonderful products being researched and explored in New Zealand’s Crown Research Institutes and universities commercialized and into global markets.

“Commercialisation” means different things to different people. To an angel investor it means the relevant intellectual property is owned by a commercial entity they can invest in – a startup company.

New Zealand’s record of generating successful startups from publically funded research is patchy. To be fair, government’s around the world grapple with this. It’s difficult and costly. A huge funnel of opportunities is needed to find the tiny proportion of ideas that will kick on to be profitable companies and substantial sums of venture funding are usually needed.

Angel investors are willing the winning tech incubators – PowerHouse (an Angel Association member), Astrolab and WNT Ventures – to succeed.

A key motivator for angel investors is their desire to lift New Zealand higher – economically and aspirationally. They are keen to see innovative opportunities coming out of as yet largely untapped deal sources. And they are keen to help with their money, their expertise and their networks.

Collaboration will be vital – nationally and internationally.

We all have a stake in seeing this initiative work.

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