KiwiNet Newsletter November 2015
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10 Years of Tax Payer Investment Paying Off

  PreSeed Funding Review

An independent review released recently on the impact of the first ten years of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) PreSeed Accelerator Fund shows more publicly funded science discoveries are getting to market after a decade of investment.

The review of PreSeed investment into fifteen universities and Crown Research Institutes from 2003 to 2013 showed 573 projects resulted in more than 386 licenses, numerous start-ups, and other commercial deals that have the estimated potential to generate at least 460 jobs and up to $3.0 billion in export revenues for New Zealand. The report states that the actual returns to the research organisations alone have already reached $188.2 million, with many more projects still in development.

See here for the full press release.

New Zealand seen as thought leader in research commercialisation

The Chilean government invited KiwiNet to visit Chile in October to discuss how they can establish technology transfer collaborations between universities. Corfo, an organisation similar to Callaghan Innovation in Chile, is providing about $15 million over 5 years to set up 3 tech transfer “hubs”. The hub funding is similar to the Commercialisation Partner Network funding provided in New Zealand by MBIE to Return on Science, CDC Innovation and KiwiNet. KiwiNet gave a keynote presentation at the launch event for the hubs which was organised by Corfo at the University of Chile. Senior government officials spoke at the event about the need to “connect technology with the community”, to build a “critical mass of universities” through collaboration, and promote “culture change” in the research community towards a greater focus on technology transfer. The Chileans are keen to build stronger connections with the New Zealand tech transfer community and will be visiting here in February 2016.

KiwiNet's 2015 Annual Report

KiwiNet’s vision is Kiwi science powering business innovation to create economic prosperity in New Zealand. Over the past year KiwiNet has continued to develop as a hub for science-led innovation. We have new shareholders, new initiatives, an expanding pipeline of projects and a growing portfolio of research commercialisation success stories. Over 1300 people from research organisations, industry and the innovation community have now attended one or more KiwiNet events.

Download KiwiNet’s 2015 Annual Report Highlights here for the full story...

Pitching workshops provide value to research and commercialisation staff

The first of our two Pitching Workshops was run on the 14th of October in Wellington, both events have been fully booked out with over 20 people registered for each. Daniel Batten facilitated the one day workshop which was very well received by attendees. Overall the event scored a 4.77 out of a total of 5. The Christchurch workshop will be held on the 25th of November.

Let us know if you would be interested in attending future workshops in 2016 by emailing

Event Debrief: ABAF 14-16 October

KiwiNet attended the Asian Business Angels Forum (ABAF) in Queenstown from October 14th to 16th as a sponsor.  The event was fully subscribed, including more than sixty international angel investors who were happy to share their experiences from offshore markets.  

The event kicked off with "Pitch on the Peak" which involved presentations from sixteen startups, including spinouts supported by KiwiNet. David Hughes (KiwiNet board member) presented an excellent overview of PreSeed as a source of deal-flow for the angel community, and this was supported by takeaway booklets of KiwiNet projects left on delegates tables that proved very popular!  Overall, a great showcase for angel investing in New Zealand, and a demonstrated clear fit for KiwiNet in the wider angel ecosytem.

Meet and Greet - May Low
New KiwiNet Operations Manager

May helps manage the Investment Committee and Board meetings as well as assisting New Zealand publicly funded research organisations to assess the commercial potential of their technologies and expertise. May also helps maintain KiwiNet's financial obligations.

May has a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting and Commercial Law and a Bachelor of Science majoring in Logic and Computation. Prior to starting at KiwiNet, May worked for BDO and PwC with experience in auditing, financial reporting, management accounting and tax compliance.

Ice Breaker Question... If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
I would be a Macaw - because I love warm weather and bright colours!

Meet and Greet - Courtney Bell
New KiwiNet Marketing Coordinator

Courtney is currently in the final stage of completing a Bachelor of Management Studies majoring in Marketing and Operations Management at the University of Waikato. She will be supporting the KiwiNet team by helping Natalie to run marketing activities and managing the innovation database.

Courtney is also a dance enthusiast and teaches at Hamilton based dance school Limelight Dance Academy.

Ice Breaker Question... If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
Most definitely I would be a monkey. Who wouldn't want the ability to fly through trees and hang off branches?!

Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia Survey
KCA invites tech transfer professionals in Australia and Kiwi tech transfer offices to participate in a professional development online self-assessment and feedback survey. This research is extremely important for KCA to help determine what professional development and other services/mentoring programs they may need to provide, as they are considering running NZ training too. The survey is ~30-45 minutes long so if you can share your training needs, KCA would be very grateful.

Event: Get Funded36 - 2-3 December

“Get FUNDED!” is a 36 hour professional development event aimed at helping members of the research community (and others associated with it) develop a better understanding of what it takes to prepare a good quality investment proposition. The event is based on a Startup Weekend format; high energy, quick pace, learn as you do styled event, which includes skilled mentor support. 

KiwiNet is working with Creative HQ to host the pilot event in early December. Callaghan Innovation and MBIE have provided sponsorship for the pilot event.

Event Debrief: NZBIO 24 September

KiwiNet, in partnership with Grow Wellington, British High Commission and Callaghan Innovation hosted a successful session at the 2015 NZBIO conference in Wellington on the 24th September.

The aim of the session was to bring together specialists from New Zealand and the UK to exchange information on potential commercial R&D collaborations. Over the 2 hour session, 16 speakers, from 6 research organisations and 8 businesses presented on their capabilities and collaborative ideas. We are very thankful for the excellent speakers and the positive feedback we received from the speakers and audience post event regarding the connections made.

Farewell to Sam Felton,
KiwiNet Marketing Coordinator


Sam is sadly moving on from KiwiNet to follow her dreams as a professional horse rider. Sam has been working for KiwiNet for nearly four years as a marketing coordinator.


“I have thoroughly enjoyed my job at KiwiNet and I will really miss the team! While I have loved the balance I have had between my work and sport, I now feel ready to (and am really looking forward to) riding full time. Although I am not looking forward to the terrible t-shirt tan that I will not be able to get rid of from now on! Thank you to everyone who has made my job so much fun.”


If you would like to follow Sam’s progress you can check out her page.

Meet and Greet - Phil Stucki
New KiwiNet Commercial Projects Manager

Phil is a mechanical engineer with a background in product design and development. In the past he has worked for F&P, Maxwell Marine and Wipac in the UK. More recently, he has been working in the robotics and automation team at Callaghan Innovation. Phil has always been passionate about growing NZ's economy through innovative products, ideas and technology.  Phil has joined us on a 12 month secondment from Callaghan Innovation. He is looking forward to working for KiwiNet and helping to commercialise some of the great ideas coming out of Universities and CRI’s.

Ice Breaker Question... If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
I've always been short so I would be a Giraffe and be tall for a change!

BiMonthly Events Newsletter

The November to February version of the KiwiNet Events Updates newsletter has just been released, register here if you would like to be included in the mailing list for this initiative or click to view the latest version.

If you would like to view a broader range of innovation events in New Zealand, please go to our Innovation Calendar.

Heads Up: 2016 KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards!

January 2016 will see a call for entries into the next KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards! Now’s the time to start thinking about which great examples of publicly funded tech transfer you can enter or which entrepreneurial researchers to nominate!

Meet the People:

Commercialisation Professional
Otago Innovation

David Christensen

We have recently started profiling commercialisation professionals from across the country in each newsletter and in this issue we meet Dave Christensen. Dave is a well known face in the research commercialisation space in New Zealand and works hard to improve the commercialisation output of the University of Otago.

How did you get into this area of work and where did you begin your career? 
By accident – the old who you know, not what you know story. It all began in Dunedin in 2003…..

Tell us about some exciting projects you have been involved with. 
I'm fortunate to have been involved in quite a number of exciting projects. Two that come to mind are: Upstream Medical Technologies Ltd – a recent spin-out that was 6.5 years in the making, and a lot more besides from the research team and Ubiquitome Ltd – a company formed around a handheld, portable qPCR device developed by Dr Jo Stanton and her team in the University's Anatomy Department. I should also mention the KiwiNet Investment Committee. Having the opportunity to hear about and contribute to the incredible commercialisation projects under-way around the country is a real privilege.
I love research commercialisation because….  
No two days are the same, yet every day is ground-hog day. Seriously though,working on fascinating projects that the average New Zealander would have no idea were going on is a pretty good reason to get out of bed each day, as is the potential to make a difference in people's lives through some of those  projects.

What one thing could be done to improve commercialisation in New Zealand? 
For those not immediately connected with commercialisation to have a better understanding as to how hard it is to succeed in this area, and that even when we don’t succeed commercially on a project, for them to understand that some value still accrues.

What is your favourite quote? 
We work with the willing.

What technology would you love to have been involved with over the past 10 years? 
I'm pretty happy with the things I have been involved with to be honest, though I would have liked to have been more involved than I was in Martin Aircraft's jet-pack. 

As a wine connoisseur, what wine best describes a commercialisation professional and why?
That's a tricky one; in my opinion wine is incredibly personal and subjective so just because I like, or dislike,  a wine doesn't mean others will or should feel similarly. Push me though and I'd have to say a top Australian Cabernet or Shiraz – can be quite unapproachable early on, but they can, and often-times do, get better with age.
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