KiwiNet News 22 October 2014

KiwiNet forum focuses on igniting innovation from science to start-up and beyond

Christchurch, New Zealand - 22 October 2014

CHRISTCHURCH, NZ., October 22, 2014 – Commercialisation professionals from Universities and Crown Research Institutes around New Zealand are in Christchurch today for a forum on turning clever science and technology into commercial value. The forum titled Igniting Innovation: From Science to Start-up and Beyond is being run by the Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet), a consortium of 13 Universities, Crown Research Institutes and Crown Entities dedicated to taking a collaborative approach to research commercialisation to boost commercial outcomes.

KiwiNet October 2014 Forum

Dr Bram Smith, General Manager of KiwiNet says, “A wealth of discoveries are generated by our public research based organisations. By sharing the hard won knowledge on how to bridge this gap from research discovery to market, sharing contacts and encouraging a more collaborative approach we can help research organisations create the next wave of clever companies.”

The forum opens with a keynote presentation from entrepreneur Mitchell Pham the Co-Founder of Augen Software Group. Other sessions include a workshop on getting creative with industry relationships with Simon Rowell the Founder of Innovation Liberation Front, a workshop on science to start-up with Stephen Hampson the CEO of powerHouse Ventures Limited and Suse Reynolds the Executive Director of the Angel Association of New Zealand, and a workshop on connecting to international markets with a focus on Asia facilitated by Alan Koziarski, Customer Director at New Zealand Trade & Enterprise.

The forum finishes with a panel discussion on taking technology to market facilitated by Hal Josephson from MediaSense. Speakers Mitchell Pham and Alan Koziarski will be joined by Duncan Mackintosh the Chief Executive of WaikatoLink Limited and Geoff Brash the CEO of GBJ on the panel.

Smith says research commercialisation professionals need to be skilled in everything from creating new business models and taking technology to market, to technology development and IP protection. “Combining clever research with a sharp commercial focus has been the secret to success for many of our KiwiNet success stories,” says Smith.

As at March this year, 244 KiwiNet projects have received $8.4 million of PreSeed investment funding from MBIE allocated through the KiwiNet Investment Committee. This has resulted in $11.1 million of external investment into completed projects, 47 commercial deals and $500 million combined potential return to New Zealand.

The KiwiNet commercialisation forums are part of a programme of KiwiNet initiatives designed to to increase the scale and impact of scientific and technology based innovation in New Zealand by empowering those involved in research commercialisation by helping them access the knowledge, tools, connections, investment and support they need.

KiwiNet partner organisations include WaikatoLink, Plant & Food Research, Otago Innovation Ltd, Lincoln University, AUT Enterprises, AgResearch, University of Canterbury, Callaghan Innovation, Viclink, Landcare Research, Cawthron Institute, ESR and NIWA; representing 6000 researchers or two thirds of the researchers in New Zealand’s public research organisations. Principal support is also provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE).