Successful first year for hi-tech start-ups

  • Steven Joyce
Science and Innovation

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today welcomed a successful first year for innovative start-ups receiving repayable grants from the new technology incubators funded through Callaghan Innovation.

The Technology Incubator Programme has so far approved funding of $7.8 million for 18 hi-tech companies through the repayable loan scheme, with each receiving up to $450,000 over two years.

The technologies invested in cover the ICT, sensing and automation, food and beverage technology, advanced material, design and manufacturing, and biotech industries.

“The incubators programme is an important part of growing new industries for New Zealand in areas like ICT and hi-tech manufacturing,” Mr Joyce says.

“Some of the proposals have the potential to dramatically disrupt a variety of sectors in the global market. For example one of the technologies, which aims to reduce the cost of water removal and recovery, could be a game changer worldwide. Cost reduction in this process could have global implications for the cost of a range of everyday products.

“Technological breakthroughs such as these are why the scheme exists. Growing many more new companies in our hi-tech sector is crucial to maintaining a strong diversified economy.”

Technology-focused incubators are privately-owned businesses that concentrate on commercialising complex intellectual property sourced primarily from publicly funded research organisations such as universities and Crown research institutes.  They are modelled on the successful Israeli incubator system and include Powerhouse Ventures, Astrolab and WNT Ventures. 

Cabinet agreed in Budget 2013 to allocate $31.3 million in new funding over four years for the repayable grants. Government funding is matched 1:3 by incubator owners contributing up to $150,000.

The grants will be repayable out of each company’s revenue.

Appendix of funded projects



Tiro Life Sciences Limited

Technology for the detection of breast cancer in dense tissue

Koti Technologies Limited

Ceramic coatings to produce hard-wearing, bacteria-killing products for high-touch surfaces

Avalia Immunotherapies Limited

Immunotherapies for cancer and other incurable health conditions

CropLogic Limited

Aerial image analysis to help growers optimise crop yields

Certusbio Limited

Biosensor technologies for industrial and environmental monitoring

Fluent Scientific Limited

Facial and voice analysis to increase the accuracy of emotion detection

Invert Robotics

Technology for detecting surface cracks in stainless steel tanks and silos

Collaborative Digital Editing

Online hub for film collaboration

Improved Cloud

Cloud-based software integration

HiVolt Fluidics

Advanced techniques for removing pathogens in liquid food

High Performance, Fitness and Well-Being

Health and fitness performance technology

Personal Motion Tracking

Physical activity tracking

Online Education

Online communication between students and teachers

Water Purification

Water removal and recovery technology

Care Technology

Integrating computer interfaces and video communication experiences

One Six One Limited

Software for DJs to seamlessly integrate DMX lighting with live audio

IPO Limited

Point-of-care bovine mastitis diagnostic test

Bio-materials in Food Production

Environmentally conscious materials in food production