Technology incubators invest in and actively help commercialise complex technologies. They concentrate on taking your concept to the next level by building a business around the technology – with the aim of growing globally competitive hi-tech businesses.
About Technology Incubators
Callaghan Innovation’s Technology Incubator Programme, which has been in pilot since 2014, supports the commercialisation of complex products and technologies. These advanced technologies are often derived out of research and development. It is very important New Zealand develops a strong eco-system that understands how to commercialise deep science IP and has the drive to take these innovations global.
Technology Incubators screen complex technologies from Universities, Crown Research Institutes, and private sources to select intellectual property that, with the right business capability, have the potential to be a high-value export success. They then provide investment and incubation services to their portfolio companies such as market validation, dedicated incubation facilities, business planning and development, governance and management processes.
Funding support for incubated businesses
Tech incubators are also the avenue to which deep tech startups can access a limited amount of pre-incubation grants and repayable loans for commercialisation activity. The loan is only available to startups and potential startups partnering with one of the technology incubators below. The incubator co-funds the project for which the loan is provided and startups commence repayments when they begin earning revenue. See below for more details.
New Tech Incubator Programme
Callaghan Innovation is launching a new and improved Tech Incubator programme providing deep tech startups with a strong breadth and depth of commercialisation support, international and local connections, and access to investment.
We have now confirmed four high-quality tech incubators to deliver these services and expertise is also available for sectors of strategic importance to New Zealand, including agrifood and life sciences.
Under the new programme, and through these official incubators, support includes up to $1,000,000 in funding, which consists of $750,000 in the form of a repayable loan from Callaghan Innovation and up to $250,000 in private investment.
We will soon be confirming eligibility criteria for pre-incubation grants and repayable loans, and the tech incubators will be communicating their individual approaches to investment.
For more information, feel free to contact programme manager Celeste Peh or the Tech Incubators directly (below).
Tech Incubators 2020
The four incubators now completing the contract process are Brandon Capital, Bridgewest Ventures, Sprout Agritech and WNT Ventures. These incubators are in the process of setting up and we will look to operationalise the programme in Q4 of 2020.
Brandon Capital Partners
Brandon Capital Partners (Brandon), established in 2007, is a leading life science venture capital firm with a New Zealand and Australian presence. As a life science technology incubator, Brandon will curate and seed promising life sciences research discoveries, providing access to capital, expertise and hands-on training to support the next generation of New Zealand life science companies. With networks and capacity generated through the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), and with staff in NZ, Australia, USA and the UK, it brings a strong international perspective. Brandon has over $700 million in funds under management with the capacity to provide significant funding to support ideas through to commercialisation.
Deep-tech incubator, WNT Ventures was created in 2014 through a collaboration with experienced entrepreneurs and institutional capital providers. Its key mission is to support the commercialisation of complex technology by sourcing, investing in and incubating high growth early stage businesses with global potential. WNT has interests in sustainability, agritech and food, artificial intelligence, medtech, engineering, sensing and industrial automation. During the pilot technology incubator programme, WNT has raised and invested two funds totalling $7.8 million and alongside Callaghan Innovation have invested in 14 companies throughout New Zealand.
Bridgewest Ventures is part of the Bridgewest Group (“Bridgewest”), a US-based investment company, which also operates a Technology Incubator in San Diego, California. Bridgewest has been successful in its ability to incubate and launch major global innovation-led companies and intends to leverage this experience to replicate the same successful model in New Zealand. Bridgewest’s deep technology experience is wide-ranging and includes biotechnology, agri-tech, pharmaceuticals, UAV technology, IoT and semiconductor, AI and software development, as well as drug discovery and deep research into health technology. It intends to leverage its connections, international reach, and commercialisation experience to transform New Zealand opportunities into world-class companies.
Sprout is an existing Callaghan Innovation-funded business accelerator based in Palmerston North and has been working with agrifood tech start-ups since 2014. Its focus is investment in technologies that improve the efficiency and sustainability of food production and distribution. As a newly appointed Callaghan Technology Incubator, Sprout will extend its activities to provide emerging agrifood technologies and start-ups with a pathway to global markets and international investment networks. Sprout’s technology incubator has a mix of international, local and sector-focused investors including Fonterra, Finistere Ventures and Our Crowd.
Pilot Tech Incubator Programme 2014-2019
Since 2014, our Tech Incubator pilot programme has produced 45 new deep tech start-ups, attracted more than $50 million in investments, and created over 160 new high-value tech jobs. Success stories like Croplogic, Invert Robotics and Onesixone have benefited from the programme, and continue to grow.
For more information, read our FAQs on the pilot programme and the transition to the new 2020 programme.
Tech Incubators funded through our 2014-2019 pilot programme
Astrolab adopts complex technologies across a range of sectors. Working alongside innovators and our early-stage partners we develop robust venture pathways enabling NZ’s ideas to navigate toward success on the world stage. Our expertise and capability ranges from financial backing and crucial go-to-market contacts through to strategy development and other business elements essential for success.
Visit Astrolab’s ventures page for more information.
Powerhouse is a provider of patient capital to university and Crown Research Institute spinouts. It invests in the following sectors: Cleantech and Engineering; Digital and ICT; Agritech and Environmental; Healthcare and Medical Devices.
Visit Powerhouse portfolio page for more information.
WNT Ventures invests into IP-rich technologies across a range of sectors including Ag-tech, Food, Manufacturing, Engineering, Materials, Robotics as well as software. We assist technologies and founders from the private sector and public research institutes to assess markets, build teams and develop strategies to create global companies.
Visit WNT Venture’s portfolio page for more information.
Deep tech startups in the news
Mastaplex scores at evokeAG in Melbourne
Dunedin developer Olaf Bork's presentation at the Melbourne EvokeAg agritech expo when his presentation earned him the nod for financing from a potential investor. Mastaplex went through Callaghan Innovation's Tech Incubator programme with WNT ventures, read more via Farmers Weekly.
Tauranga startup attracts US music investment to NZ
US music giant, inMusic Brands, plans to set up shop in New Zealand with a $10m investment. After acquiring Tauranga-based OneSixOne (SoundSwitch), its leadership says New Zealand is a hotbed of music digital and technology talent. SoundSwitch went through Callaghan Innovation's Tech Incubator programme with WNT Ventures. Read more in this Stuff news story.
CertusBio wins evokeAg pitch in Melbourne
Wastewater monitoring technology firm, CertusBio, was among a handful of Kiwi companies chosen to exhibit at the internationally attended evokeAG event in Melbourne recently. It went on to win the Investment Ready pitching competition. CertusBio has been making its way through the Callaghan Innovation Tech Incubator programme with Powerhouse Ventures. Read more via Lincoln Agritech.
Aquafortus wins Rising Star award in Singapore
NZ clean water technology startup, Aquafortus, is going from strength to strength most recently winning the Rising Star award at the Singapore International Water Week. Since it progressed through the Callaghan Innovation Tech Incubator programme with Astrolab, it has secured a number of global contracts, the very first in Texas worth $40 million. Read more via Eco-Business.
See the websites of the Tech Incubators for more news.
Updated: 24 November 2021