Sectors Where New Zealand Startups are Poised to Win

New Zealand, a small island nation in the center of the South Pacific, is witnessing the emergence of growing startup industry. Historically, the country has been money-strapped, but recent government and foreign investor initiatives have greatly boosted access to early-stage venture capital funding. Certain businesses are now emerging as possible areas for New Zealand to excel in the tech world. Deep tech, medtech/biotech, climate tech, and crypto and blockchain are all sectors that investors are either actively investing in or keeping an eye on for signs of scale.

New Zealand offers the appropriate mix of deep tech-focused finance and resources, great engineering institutions, and key success stories to help entrepreneurs become technologically proficient and internationally scalable. According to PwC, overall investment in New Zealand’s early-stage industry surged by 78 percent in the first half of this year compared to the first half of 2020, with 42 percent going straight to deep tech businesses. 

New Zealand Growth Capital Partners (NZGCP), a government entity established to foster a vibrant early-stage environment in New Zealand, provided a significant portion of the funding through its Elevate fund of funds program, which provides capital to New Zealand VCs investing in Series A and B rounds.

Elevate invested $20 million in a fund run by Pacific Channel, a deep tech venture capital firm, in October of last year. Elevate recently invested $17 million in Nuance Linked Capital’s deep tech fund and $45 million in GD1’s Fund 3, which focuses on deep tech as well as connected devices, corporate software, and health tech. New Zealanders are excellent founders. It is something about growing up on a farm or playing beer float on the lakes and rivers that makes New Zealanders so resourceful.

Then there are organizations like Outset Ventures, previously LevelTwo, that assist seed and pre-seed deep tech firms get off the ground. Rocket Lab and LanzaTech, New Zealand’s only two deep tech unicorns, based in Outset, and both have spawned forth a slew of additional deep tech firms. 

Outset is a valuable resource for seed-stage entrepreneurs seeking not just funding but also connections to larger companies as well as access to seminars and laboratories. Outset and Icehouse Ventures, a venture capital firm, joined in early April last year to raise $ 12 million in funding for early-stage scientific and engineering firms. Outset’s CEO, Imche Fourie, stated that the business has already made 40 investments from the fund.

Foundry Lab, a startup that uses a microwave to make metal castings quickly and cheaply; Soul Machines, a platform that creates lifelike digital avatars that animate autonomously, responding to interactions and interpreting facial expressions, with personalities that evolve over time; and Dennisson Technologies, a wearables company that’s developing soft exosuits that incorporate 4D material technology to actively assimilate and assimilate.