Canterbury start-ups win big following Govt innovation funding round

Five of seven technology start-ups set to receive funding from Callaghan Innovation have connections to the University of Canterbury.

Five of seven technology start-ups set to receive funding from Callaghan Innovation have connections to the University of Canterbury (UC).

As reported by Computerworld New Zealand, the seven hi-tech start-ups are on their way to commercialising valuable new intellectual property (IP) after each receiving repayable grants of up to $450,000 over two years.

“This success is a credit to our academic staff, their students and our team in Research and Innovation who help commercialisation, and the relationship we have with Powerhouse Ventures and the local business community,” says Dr Rod Carr, Vice-Chancellor, University of Canterbury.

“At UC, we see opportunity. UC is a leader in transferring knowledge to industry not only through its world-class graduates, but through the efforts of its academic staff to engage with real world problems and with opportunities to solve problems, create jobs and found new businesses and whole industries to help all New Zealanders prosper.”

The five start-ups with Canterbury connections are:

• CropLogic: Will use the funding, alongside co-investment from Powerhouse, to integrate aerial image analysis technology developed by UC to help growers optimise their crop yields.

• Tiro Lifesciences: An early-stage medical diagnostic company focusing initially on the development of technology for the detection of breast cancer in dense tissue.

• Koti Technologies: A start-up developing ceramic coatings to produce hard-wearing, bacteria-killing products for high-touch surfaces, for example in hospitals.

• Fluent Scientific: A start-up based on technology combining facial and voice analysis to increase the accuracy of emotion detection.

• Invert Robotics: A start-up based on robotic ultrasonic technology for detecting and characterising surface cracks in stainless steel tanks and silos.

Four of the start-up companies are based on UC technologies and the fifth will spend its repayable grant on UC research while the other two successful recipients are Certusbio and Avalia Immunotherapies.

Frants are administered by three technology incubators - Powerhouse Ventures, Astrolab and WNT Ventures, with these first seven all with Powerhouse.

“This latest success is a continuation of UC’s strong performance in research and innovation,” Dr Carr adds.

“In April 2015, UC had the highest success rate (20.4%) in the preliminary round of funding applications to the Marsden Fund for excellence in science, engineering, maths, social sciences and the humanities.”

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