Inventors’ Fund

Hangaia te ā mua

Create the future

We invest in research through our $40m pre-seed and seed fund.
The Insides Company Ian Bissett

Hangaia te ā mua

Create the future

We invest in research through our $40m pre-seed and seed fund.
The University of Auckland Inventors’ Fund, managed by UniServices, was established in 2016 as a pre-seed and seed investment fund aiming to turn University research, intellectual property and student ventures into high-growth global companies.

We aim to partner early with staff and students to be the first investor into Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland spin-out companies. As an open-ended and evergreen fund, returns from investments made are reinvested into the next generation of companies and technologies that are addressing the world’s most challenging problems.

In 2022, the Fund was doubled from $20 million to $40 million to increase its overall impact and better support Māori entrepreneurship.

Info for Investors

Whether it’s bringing to market a drug with fewer side effects, an app that helps people, a more sustainable process or a groundbreaking piece of technology, the University of Auckland Inventors’ Fund puts money into bringing the best ideas to life.

Our values underpin what we do, so we don’t just invest for financial reasons. But we don’t invest for ideological reasons either – we invest in ideas and founders with strong business plans that fill a market need. That’s because we don’t just invest money – we also invest our time and expertise into guiding entrepreneurs to help them succeed.

Many of our companies have succeeded, some of them impressively. The University of Auckland Inventors’ Fund had a net asset value of $64.6 million at the end of 2022 – a more than fourfold return on the value originally invested.

We’re always looking for investors and partners who believe in helping the strongest research-based ideas grow into companies and products that change the world for the better. 

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Info for researcher-entrepreneurs

Got a great idea with commercial potential? Interested in starting a company? If you’re a Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland researcher, whether staff member or student, you might be able to access early-stage capital from the University of Auckland Inventors’ Fund. Here’s how the process works.

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Info for researcher-entrepreneurs

Got a great idea with commercial potential? Interested in starting a company? If you’re a Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland researcher, whether staff member or student, you might be able to access early-stage capital from the University of Auckland Inventors’ Fund. Here’s how the process works.

1. Confidentially share your idea with us

If you’re seeking investment for a business or have a research idea, the first step is to confidentially disclose your idea to us via our secure online form. If you have questions, you can contact the UniServices Investment Team.

After you submit your idea, an investment manager will work with you to understand the technical and commercial aspects of the idea, such as the market, intellectual property, technology and team.

We will then make an initial determination whether the opportunity is a good fit for the University of Auckland Inventors’ Fund.

Typically, determinations fall into one of three categories:

2. Work with an investment manager

If we're interested in further exploring the opportunity, an investment manager will conduct a deeper review of the investment opportunity. This may involve reviewing the deal structure, financial requirements, capital strategy, intellectual property position and development milestones, and talking to prospective co-investors.

Often this review will include an early-stage presentation of the opportunity to a Return On Science and Momentum investment committee for consideration and feedback.

  • Interested in investigating an investment opportunity: See further steps below.
  • Interested, but needs further development: Your idea requires more research, development or validation so we can better understand the opportunity. Please keep us updated on your progress, especially against key milestones we’ll discuss with you.
  • Not something we’ll invest in: This doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea, just not a fit with what we look to invest in. We will provide a clear rationale for our decision and work with you to find alternative commercialisation pathways.

3. Investment Decision

A Return On Science or Momentum investment committee will review the opportunity and provide a recommendation to UniServices' Investment Team, which will ultimately decide whether an investment is made.

If we decide not to invest, we’ll explain why and suggest other ways you might be able to raise funds for your idea. If your idea still requires more research, we might be able to support you in that if there is a credible and mutually agreed pathway to investment.

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4. Ongoing support

Once an investment is made, we provide ongoing support to all our investee companies through access to investor networks, expertise and resources.

We also encourage our companies to provide regular updates to our investment committees for support and advice.

Just getting started on your first entrepreneurship journey? Here's a quick primer on how investing works.