Across Aotearoa scientists, engineers, inventors and entrepreneurs are dreaming up complex, technical solutions to global problems.

These bold, brave and occasionally bizarre ideas might today sound like science fiction, but with the right business support and solid investment, they have the potential to positively impact millions of people.

The challenge: for the average investor, these ventures are just too risky and require too much heavy lifting.

The Deep Tech Incubator programme was created to fund and support innovators to develop awe-inspiring, out-there ideas from concept to reality and, hopefully, long term success.

The programme is delivered in partnership with four of Aotearoa New Zealand’s leading Incubators and Venture Capital firms, all highly experienced in the Deep Tech space and with their own specialisms. Whether you’re an established entrepreneur, or new to running a business, your chosen incubator will provide all of the support needed to eventually get your solution to market.

Successful applicants get a minimum of $1 million in funding — $750,000 of which is a repayable grant — to help cover costs associated with commercialising their technology.

Don’t just publish your research, or shelve your idea - commercialise it, flourish and have a positive impact on our world.

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What is "Deep Tech"?

Deep Tech refers to advanced technologies that are based on significant and defensible scientific or engineering advances rather than incremental refinement or delivery of standardized technologies.  These technologies often require extensive research and development, high levels of expertise, and significant investment. They have the potential to transform industries and create new products and services that were not possible before.

By the numbers

$ 28 M
of public funding granted since 2020
$ 60 M
of private investment committed since 2020
Deep tech ventures created since 2020

Benefits to your business

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Keep on innovating

The support to keep on driving forward with your vital scientific and technical work.

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Specialist funding

A grant that understands the scale of the challenges you’re trying to overcome.

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Find your long-term support system

Join an incubator with all of the specialist skills and business know-how to bring your product to life.

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Repayments based on revenue

Repayments of the grant only begin if and when you start driving revenue, however long that may take.

Is this right for me?

To qualify for full funding and Incubator support, you need to prove that you:

  • Have a Deep Tech, novel and defensible IP proposal with significant scientific or technical advancement: there are many years of commercialisation ahead of you.
  • Have a credible project plan, commercialisation plan and budget, and the Incubator must have allocated adequate resources to support the venture: you’ve plotted the future out with your partner Incubator.
  • Are consistent with your chosen Incubator’s overall strategy and specialty area, or provide an acceptable rationale for any deviation from strategy: you’re with the right partner.

There’s four things we’re looking for in a venture:

  • Early-stage with a long commercialisation path: you’re still fresh and have a long road ahead of you.
  • High-growth with global ambition: your innovation could be very successful and have a broad, positive impact around the world.
  • Strong science or engineering links, with some technical validation to date.
  • Ventures incorporated in New Zealand, that benefit New Zealand: you’re here in Aotearoa and your innovation will help your fellow Kiwis.

As well as providing the right support to grow your venture, we want to ensure that a lack of funding isn’t blocking the route to future success.

All successful applicants will have a minimum of $1,000,000 to start their commercialisation journey:

  • A minimum of $250,000 privately funded - from the Incubator you’ve partnered with.
  • $750,000 publicly funded - coming from Callaghan Innovation in the form of a repayable grant.

You’ll only start making repayments - 3% of annual revenue - when your venture starts earning revenue, however long that may take.

What’s involved

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Step 1

First, get in touch for an initial chat and we can help gauge if the Deep Tech Incubator programme is the right fit for you.

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Step 2

Choose the Incubator that’s best suited (see below) and we’ll introduce you. They’ll set up a time to discuss your Deep Tech innovation and chat about how they can support you.

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Step 3

If both parties see a potential future together the Incubator can apply for our pre-incubation grant so they can do some additional due-diligence and commercial viability testing. You’ll need some patience and perseverance for this part of the process.

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Step 4

It’s decided that the idea is viable, so you’ll discuss partnership terms with the incubator including shareholding and potential levels of investment.

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Step 5

With these terms agreed in principle, your Incubator will present your proposal and put in a Repayable Grant Application to the Repayable Grants Committee.

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Step 6

If approved by the committee, agreements will be formalised and you’ll receive a repayable grant.

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Step 7

Get innovating, commercialising your idea with your Incubator, and start changing the world!

Frequently asked questions

Is it possible to receive this Deep-Tech funding without joining a Tech Incubator?

This programme is as much about helping early-stage ventures to find the right support and partners as it is about granting money. Repayable grant funding can only be received through partnership with a deep tech incubator. Get in touch and we can discuss the benefits of joining an Incubator and outline some of the other ways we can support you.

Meet our experts

Celeste Peh
Celeste Peh Product Manager Leading our deep tech incubator

I manage Callaghan Innovation's deep tech incubator programme where my goal is to grow the number of early stage, high risk and deep tech ventures in New Zealand. This work enables me to open doors for inventors and founders that will build leading NZ companies in years to come.

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Bridgewest Ventures is a globally connected partner, on the lookout for founders aiming to have a profound social, environmental, or economic impact on our world. As an approved partner under Callaghan Innovation's Technology Incubator Programme, we are taking applications for local ventures ready to commercialise on a global scale.

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Pacific Channel

Pacific Channel is a specialist deep-tech venture capital firm investing in great people using breakthrough science and advanced engineering to create transformative impact.

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