KiwiNet FAQs

KiwiNet's funding

KiwiNet administers PreSeed investment to publicly-funded research projects, with funds provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). PreSeed funding is used to turn science discoveries into commercially viable products and services. Note there are eligibility criteria. If you are uncertain please to speak directly with a KiwiNet representative.

PreSeed funding is available to those working on a project within one of KiwiNet’s member organisations. All PreSeed funding is matched 1:1. This funding is split into two different levels: Tier 1 and Tier 2.

Tier 1 PreSeed funding is available to support any PreSeed eligible costs under $40k including market validation, business case preparation, securing intellectual property and prototype development.

Tier 2 funding must be approved by the KiwiNet Investment Committee (IC). It is available to support any PreSeed eligible costs incurred in the development of a project to “private-sector-ready” stage, where the total PreSeed required (including that already used in Tier 1) is over $40k.

KiwiNet also administers “non-devolved” PreSeed funding, specifically for publicly-funded research organisations who do not hold a PreSeed contract and are not part of a KiwiNet member organisation. This funding is available on application, and must also be approved by the IC.

The KiwiNet Investment Committee (IC) oversees the allocation of all PreSeed investment under KiwiNet’s management. The Committee is made up of representatives from each of KiwiNet’s partner organisations, as well as individuals with expertise in various entrepreneurial businesses and deep tech start-ups. The committee meets monthly to review commercial opportunities, provide feedback on projects, and allocate investment funds.

If you are working on a research project within a publicly-funded research organisation or University in New Zealand, and are wanting to commercialise this research, you may be eligible for funding. Please contact May Low at KiwiNet to find out if you qualify.


KiwiNet's policy states that the IC need to see a 10:1 ROI in order for a project to secure Tier 2 funding. However, the other main criteria is that the project provides a benefit to New Zealand.

If your project does not quite meet the 10:1 ROI threshold, but it can clearly demonstrate a benefit to NZ, then you will still be eligible for funding. 

Anything that taps into the KiwiNet non-devolved funding needs to go to the KiwiNet Investment Committee (IC) for approval and will also need to be project-based with a supporting business case (Tier 2 application).

For more detail on your specific needs, please contact May Low at KiwiNet.

A project is only eligible for KiwiNet pooling PreSeed if it is a NZ Public Research Organisation (PRO) or a wholly-owned subsidiary of a NZ Public Research Organisation (PRO).

If a project is a joint-venture between a NZ PRO and another organisation, it would need to be majority (51% or greater) owned by the NZ PRO during the period where PreSeed support is occurring.
PreSeed is granted to support the commercialisation of science from New Zealand's publicly funded research organisations. So if you are solely bringing in IP from outside that remit, it would not be eligible. 

The institution applying for funding must be comfortable that they are bringing additionality to any off shore /corporate generated IP for that project, and be ready to explain their rational.

Non-devolved PreSeed funding can be used for the commercialisation of any publicly-funded research, within a PRO in NZ.

If you'd like to discuss your specific situation to see if you're eligible for funding, please contact May Low at KiwiNet.

Emerging Innovator

The Emerging Innovator Programme provides targeted support to early-stage career scientists who will become the future innovators of New Zealand.

The Programme provides funding to enable scientists to build industry connections and demonstrate the proof-of-principle of a disruptive new invention. To be accepted into the programme, a scientist must demonstrate a clever new idea and a willingness to work closely with industry and/or commercial mentors as they develop a prototype.

You can find more information here: Emerging Innovator Programme

Emerging Innovators are nominated by their respective Tech Transfer Office or Commercial Group and
nominations are assessed by the Investment Committee at designated meetings. During this process applicants must deliver an 8-10 minute pitch, followed by a Q&A with the Committee.

Nominations can be submitted up to three times a year.

Dates are subject to change so please review the current year meeting calendar for more information and refer to the document due dates.

Nominees must come to and present to the KiwiNet Investment Committee. The three meetings that EI are decided on are February, May and September. We endeavour to hold those meetings in one of the main centres for ease of travel.

When presenting to the Investment Committee, EIs should be prepared to arrive early, and stay to the end of the IC meeting, which can run to 4:30pm. Please factor this in for travel booking.

IC – Investment Committee

The KiwiNet Investment Committee (IC) oversees the allocation of all PreSeed investment under KiwiNet's management.

The Committee is made up of representatives from each of KiwiNet's partner organisations, as well as independent individuals with domain expertise and experience in various entrepreneurial businesses, deep tech start-ups and investment. The committee meets monthly to review commercial opportunities, provide feedback on projects, and allocate investment funds.

You can find out more about the IC's current members here: KiwiNet Investment Committee

If you are presenting to the IC, please refrain from requesting a specific time. Aim to arrive at the beginning of meeting around 8:30am, and stay till the end 4:30pm.

Tier 2 presentations - we recommend a 7-10 minute presentation (max) with a question and answer session of 15 minutes - leaving about 20 minutes for Committee discussion and decision.

Emerging Innovator presentations - aim for 8-10 minutes with question and answer session of 2-3 minutes.

Preview presentations - aim for 5 minutes with question and answer session of 10 minutes.

KiwiNet Awards

The KiwiNet Awards are the premier Awards showcase event in New Zealand recognising the achievements of individuals, teams and organisations actively commercialising publicly funded research.

They are the only Awards that celebrate the commercialisation of research in NZ.

You can find more information here: Kiwinet Awards.

No, as long as the technology/service was derived from publicly-funded research in New Zealand it is eligible to enter the Awards.

Momentum will also accept entries from undergrads in this category.


KiwiNet is able to support Commercialisation teams within its member organisations by assisting in funding an Intern if needed for a project.

The member organisation needs to pay 50% of the costs.

Interns can be requested or accessed via KiwiNet's new Intern Portal (currently in development).


Eligibility is very open - Baldwins will provide 2hrs of free service to any of our partners to discuss IP related questions, and that can be for strategic support, FOW work etc. Other sponsors provide similar services.

Partners who wish to use this sponsorship can send a note to Glen Beattie in our Investor team.

Examples of potential Work-Kind:

  • Provide IP advice where appropriate
  • Attend commercialisation workshops for specific projects
  • Provide IP training
  • Present at workshops
  • Connect KiwiNet to opportunities with local industry and international networks
  • Link KiwiNet with industry partners looking to engage researchers
  • Provide venues and / or catering for events
  • Provide venues for board, investment committee, and pipeline meetings where appropriate


Momentum is a national IP and technology programme that operates as a sister programme to Return On Science, and is a member of the Commercialisation Partner Network supported by KiwiNet.

The Momentum Programme is comprised of a growing number of student-led investment committees. These committees have a focus on start-up ventures, particularly those originating from tertiary student and staff owned intellectual property and technologies. The Momentum Investment Committees are regionally based and support projects from multiple tertiary institutes, and the private sector.

Momentum Investment Committees provide presenting teams with advice, support and investment. Teams comprised of students and staff of either tertiary education institutes or Crown Research Institutes can access these investment committees without charge. Private companies are also able to utilise the expertise of the Momentum Investment Committees for a nominal fee.

Projects and ventures may be brought to a Momentum Investment Committee at any point throughout their development process, from idea to company. Teams are also encouraged to return to the Investment Committees more than once to better benefit from the Momentum process.

Momentum Investment Committees are available to staff and students of universities and CRIs, and the private sector.

Students must be enrolled in a Graduate or Post Graduate programme at a University to qualify for funding. Funding does not need to be matched by the Student Project Team.

If the Momentum Committee makes a recommendation for a project to be funded, the institution TTO, CRI, (or in UC's case UCE), will raise a notification in Fluxx.

KiwiNet will then review the project notification and advise a funding decision via the Fluxx portal.

Following this, the institute TTO or CRI is to raise an invoice via Fluxx to KiwiNet to claim the funding. The TTO is then responsible for allocating such funds to the student project.

Once the milestones of the funding are complete and the end date has been met, the student project is to present at the next Momentum Committee, to show the results of their work.


For more information on the nine grants available to start-ups in New Zealand click here: 9 grants for startups in NZ.

This covers the following grants:

  • Flexi-wage for self-employment by WINZ
  • Self-employment Startup Payment by WINZ
  • Getting Started Grants by Callaghan Innovation
  • Project Grants by Callaghan Innovation
  • R&D Tax Incentive by Callaghan Innovation
  • Not-for-profit Grants by Rātā Foundation
  • Student Grants by Callaghan Innovation
  • Business Training and Advice Grant by WINZ
  • The Capability Voucher Funding

The Commercialisation Office within your research organisation will be able to help. There you will find a fantastic Commercialisation Manager who can guide you through the process.

Please contact Glen on our Investor team.

KiwiNet has a number of valuable workshops that it runs throughout the year. You can find more information here: Kiwinet Events.

We've also compiled a selection of resources and training workshops that are available around the country, which can help you better understand the process of seeking investment, and provide advice and templates for parts of the process. You can find these here: Investment Resources.

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