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.
What is "Deep Tech"?
Deep Tech refers to advanced technologies that are based on significant scientific or engineering breakthroughs and involve complex intellectual property. 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
Benefits to your business
The support to keep on driving forward with your vital scientific and technical work.
A grant that understands the scale of the challenges you’re trying to overcome.
Join an incubator with all of the specialist skills and business know-how to bring your product to life.
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 complex 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.
We’re building complicated technology, for which we think there’s enormous potential, but it costs money to get that going. WNT Ventures and Callaghan Innovation are enabling us to get this off the ground; without that support CarbonCrop wouldn’t exist, and landowners wouldn’t be creating the forest."
There are very few companies exploring lncRNA for oncology purposes so the process of getting the research to market is complex but the support the programme provides is crucial. It enables us to access a supportive network of like-minded people to help us as we create what has the potential to be a ground-breaking cancer therapy."
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.
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.
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.
It’s decided that the idea is viable, so you’ll discuss partnership terms with the incubator including shareholding and potential levels of investment.
With these terms agreed in principle, your Incubator will present your proposal and put in a Repayable Grant Application to the Repayable Grants Committee.
If approved by the committee, agreements will be formalised and you’ll receive a repayable grant.
Get innovating, commercialising your idea with your Incubator, and start changing the world!
Frequently asked questions
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
I manage Callaghan Innovation’s $130M deep tech incubator programme where my goal is to grow the number of early stage, high risk and deep tech ventures in New Zealand.Read more
Supporting life science companies from proof-of-concept to commercialisation Brandon Capital is Australasia's leading life science venture capital firm. Our strong global presence is supported by team members in the US and UK as well as key partners such as Callaghan Innovation.Read more
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.Read more
Sprout Agritech is NZ's only Agtech & Foodtech specialty Investor and accelerator.Read more
WNT Ventures is deeply invested in breakthrough New Zealand Innovation. We engage with founders at the earliest stage of their idea and provide tailored support for success on a global stage.Read more
Amaroq Therapeutics is a biotech startup developing cutting-edge therapies to fight some of our most prevalent and hard-to-treat cancers.
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