A fund to accelerate the development of Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of ŠÓ°ÉAPPstart-ups and research with commercial potential is doubling in size.Ģż
The University of ŠÓ°ÉAPPInventorsā Fund, which is managed by UniServices, the Universityās research application and commercialisation company, is now $40 million.
The increased commitment is built upon the success of the open-ended and evergreen Inventorsā Fund, which aims to be the first investor into University spin-outs. Since its launch in 2016 as a $20 million fund, the Fund has invested in 43 start-ups with a collective market capitalisation of around $1 billion.Ģż
Companies in its portfolio include Soul Machines, Alimetry, Orbis Diagnostics and Rain Therapeutics, the last of which is listed on the Nasdaq.
āWe are delighted to have more resources to drive an entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus and accelerate the commercialisation of research and ideas from the University,ā said UniServices Executive Director of Commercialisation Will Charles. āWeāre already an important driver of the tech ecosystem in Aotearoa New Zealand and now we can double our impact.ā
The expansion of the fund will also support the development of Te Ao MÄori entrepreneurship and commercialisation and support for MÄori inventors, students and mÄtauranga MÄori.
āWe are working towards the development of a tikanga-led MÄori investment rÅpu (committee) to future-proof lasting impacts by and for te ao MÄori,ā said UniServices KaiÄrahi Tui Kaumoana. āWe seek to collaborate with our MÄori stakeholders to co-design a decision-making process for long-term capability building within the research commercialisation sector. This is necessary to authentically deliver on Te Tiriti outcomes that Vision MÄtauranga seeks to achieve.ā
UniServices has also collaborated with mÄtauranga MÄori rangatira (experts) to create policies for the protection of MÄori intellectual property.Ģż
āWe want to demonstrate that we as an organisation can respect mÄtauranga MÄori, tangata whenua, Wai 262 and taonga species, and Te Tiriti O Waitangi appropriately,ā said Kaumoana. āThis policy work and the boost in funding together represent a significant opportunity to support MÄori entrepreneurs and the development of the MÄori entrepreneurial space.ā
The Inventorsā Fund provides pre-seed and seed financing for start-ups led by University staff and students, especially those developing deep-tech businesses based on University research. The Fund typically syndicates with local and global venture funds, technology incubators and angel groups to work with their networks and build successful companies as fast as possible.
University-backed funds and specialist university commercialisation funds are becoming more common globally as universities seek to increase the impact of their research. These funds support academic and extracurricular programmes that universities are increasingly running to foster innovation and entrepreneurship.
āBy acting as co-investors in start-up companies, universities create better alignment with the private sector, speed up commercialisation and provide greater incentives for university staff and students to consider commercialisation as a route to generating impact from their work,ā says Charles.
UniServices is a major sponsor of the , run by the Universityās . It also works closely with the Centreās and supports its incubator for Velocity Challenge winners.