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New Zealand’s Innovation Agency seeks Technology Incubator applicants

There is an extensive search for incubators having the right knowledge and connections that will unlock the potential of deep tech commercialisation in New Zealand.

As reported, Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand’s Innovation Agency, recently launched a request for proposals (RFP) to find new incubators for the country’s Technology Incubator programme.

Technology Incubator programme

Local and international providers are welcome to apply.

Successful incubators will be tasked with guaranteeing that the country’s deep technical and scientific research, and complex technology, will translate to successful commercial outcomes.

To date the Technology Incubator pilot programme has produced 45 new deep tech start-ups and attracted more than NZ$ 50 million in investments since its launch in 2014.

Being included in the Technology Incubator programme poses a lot of benefits, particularly in the development of a company.

Through the programme, participants can learn a wide range of skills from people within the incubation environment.

A participant, from a previous batch, shared what he gained from being an incubator. Participants can gain invaluable insights around product market fit and working with customers to create a market.

Additionally, being in the incubator environment provides training and coaching on pitching and capital raising. They can also gain access to investors, and assistance with preparation of deal documentation.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s General Manager of Science, Innovation and International shared how having access to the right support, expertise and connections can make all the difference for start-ups.

Creating productive businesses out of complex research like biotech and aerospace technology can be a tough road.

The Technology Incubator programme bridges that gap between concept and commercialisation.

Who can join the next iteration?

With the next iteration of the Technology Incubator programme launching in 2020, the focus is on connecting companies with greater international experience and investment access.

Incubators should have a wealth of international commercialisation expertise, access to international investment and pathways to market.

There are some excellent expertise and knowledge locally that the programme can draw on, and the RFP also presents opportunities for international providers who are willing to establish a team in New Zealand.

Successful incubators will be expected to report regularly and share data on the progress and deep tech commercialisation milestones of the companies they are working with.

New Zealand’s deep-tech ecosystem is fast-emerging. There is a rich well of deep technical and scientific research with the potential to solve many problems, locally and around the world.

In order to ensure this IP makes it into the world and is converted into successful commercial outcomes such as high value businesses, jobs and exports, right mentors, connections and capital should be in place.

As shared by a another participant from a previous batch, successful commercialisation of deep-tech is a complex beast that requires a unique combination of skill-sets and capability, especially in developing business models based on complex intellectual property.

Incubators with robust knowledge, experience, networks and mana in deep-tech will be critical to identifying and understanding how to mitigate the unique risks associated with science-based start-ups.

The RFP is for the delivery of Technology Incubator services, with an emphasis on deep-tech commercialisation experience, over an eight-year contract period starting in 2020.

Incubators are expected to establish a significant presence in New Zealand, including the permanent location of key management and incubation expertise in New Zealand.

The RFP deadline is Friday 4 October 2019, but applicants are encouraged to apply early.

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