Through the $40 million pre-seed and seed University of Auckland Inventors’ Fund, we invest in research-based start-ups connected to Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland. Check out our portfolio of companies, many of which are looking for further investment.
We invest in ideas that will change the world
Founded in 2019, Alimetry's flagship product can be worn over the stomach as a patient rests after a meal. Stretchable electrodes collect data on gastric function and send them to be analysed using advanced algorithms. Gastric Alimetry has obtained CE marking, ISO 13485 accreditation and US FDA approval.
Making advanced diagnostics to non-invasively sense gastric function
Apercure Surgical developed out of a University medical device design studio in 2020. An early-stage, research-focused company, Apercure aims to commercialise radiological and surgical drain devices. It grew out of a Smart Ideas grant from MBIE with support from Return On Science and seed investment from UniServices and WNT Ventures.
Improving patient and clinician experiences with radiological and surgical drains
Founded in 2014, APIMatic is a cloud-based automatic Software Development Kit (SDK) generator for Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). It helps reduce development time and effort while assuring code quality. With a growing base of global software customers, APIMatic’s tools are increasingly seen as an important tool to improve developer productivity.
Enabling faster integration of application programming interfaces (APIs)
Aravive is a late clinical-stage oncology company developing targeted therapeutics to treat metastatic disease. Its lead product candidate, Batiraxcept (formerly AVB-500), is an ultra-high-affinity decoy protein that binds to GAS6, the sole ligand that activates AXL, inhibiting metastasis, tumour growth, and restoring sensitivity to anti-cancer agents.
Developing transformative targeted cancer therapeutics
Founded in 2018, Avasa is developing advanced medical solutions in the field of reconstructive surgery. It creates tools, such as its patented Arterial Coupler, to help surgeons reconnect microvascular arteries simply and efficiently in tissue transfer and transplant surgery. An early-stage, research-focused company, Avasa has received support from Bridgewest Ventures.
Developing advanced medical solutions for microsurgery
Founded in 2018, CAS (Codify Asset Solutions, formerly Compliance Audit Systems) is the developer of ACABIM, a computational engine that automates building and construction compliance auditing work. The software enables automatic checks to determine whether projects are compliant with regulations at all stages of the life cycle.
Providing smart digital solutions to the construction industry
Ceryx Medical, co-founded by professors at the Universities of Auckland and Bath, aims to change the way diseases such as heart failure are treated by employing cutting-edge biomimetic design principles and patented electronics. It raised £3.8 million in 2022 to bring its innovative cardiac rhythm management device to clinical trial.
Developing bioelectronic technology that can mimic nerve centres
Founded in 2015, Cirrus Materials Science develops various novel coating technologies that can effectively and sustainably enhance a material’s properties such as resistance to wear and corrosion, aesthetics, thermal and electrical conductivity. These coating solutions have applications in the automotive, hi-tech manufacturing, electrical and aerospace industries.
Cirrus Materials Science
Advanced surface coatings for enhanced wear and corrosion resistance properties
DDRx is a cancer drug development company founded by Associate Professor Michael Hay and Emeritus Professor William Wilson to develop DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) inhibitors that sensitise tumours to radiation without affecting healthy tissue. It aims to improve the safety and effectiveness of radiotherapy for head and neck cancer patients.
Developing new drugs for head and neck cancer patients
Founded in 2015, Dotterel’s unique noise reduction and microphone array technology make it possible to capture clear sound even in the noisiest of environments, including on drones. The company’s microphone arrays and remote two-way communication technologies are finding applications in defence, emergency and entertainment.
Groundbreaking sound capture technology in high-noise environments
Spun out of the University in 2011, Engender developed an affordable and effective technology, based on high-tech microfluidic and photonic chips, to separate X- and Y-chromosome-bearing bull sperm cells to improve efficiency in large animal reproduction. It was acquired by multi-genetics company CRV International in December 2021.
Enabling the sorting of bovine sperm cells by gender
Spun out from the University in 2016, EnPot (Energia Potior) changes the way smelters use energy to produce aluminium. Ultimately, the technology operates like a virtual battery capable of providing storage and back-up power to electricity grids in times of high energy demand or lower-than-normal generation.
Technology to reduce the carbon emissions of aluminium smelters
eVouch is a marketing automation tool to structure, build and scale word of mouth marketing for businesses. Starting with a post-purchase Shopify plugin, eVouch enables merchants to incentivise customers to post Instagram stories to their personal profile. It combines the trust of word of mouth with the control of advertising.
Word of mouth marketing made easy
Founded in 2016, Formus developed the world’s first AI-automated 3D planner for joint replacement surgeries. The technology allows clinicians to transform a scan into a fully interactive 3D model of joints such as the hip or knee, empowering patient-specific implant selection and placement. Formus raised US$5 million in 2022.
Automated 3D planning for joint replacement surgeries
Built on decades of University of Auckland research, UniServices spun out HaloIPT in 2010 to provide wireless charging systems for electric vehicles with equivalent efficiency and greater reliability and usability than plug-in charging systems. In 2011, HaloIPT was acquired by wireless technology giant Qualcomm and later by Witricity in 2018.
Providing wireless charging systems for electric vehicles
Founded in 2019, Hearing Power developed Tinnibot, a mobile app that provides support to people with tinnitus. Designed by audiologists, psychologists and researchers, Tinnibot is a virtual coach that integrates evidence-based treatments including cognitive behavioural therapy, relaxation and sound therapy.
Helping people find peace with their tinnitus
Founded in 2018, HeartLab has developed an AI-based technology that automates the repetitive and time-consuming tasks required for analysing echocardiograms and provides easy-to-interpret reports, allowing doctors to gather more information from echocardiograms in less time. In 2021, it raised $3.5 million to bring its technology to the US market.
Developing AI-powered cardiology imaging software
Founded in 2020 as a spin-out from OcuNexus, which develops therapeutics for clinical needs in ophthalmology, InflammX is developing a drug to treat inflammation due to dysregulation of a newly discovered innate immune pathway called the inflammasome. The targeted indications are diabetic eye disease, diabetic kidney disease and macular degeneration.
Clinical-stage company treating inflammation, particularly in eye diseases
Founded in 2018, JUNOFEM developed Femfit, a pelvic floor training system combining a medical device and app to help women who suffer from urinary incontinence. Femfit uses biofeedback to teach users the hard-to-learn exercises that can resolve symptoms. JUNOFEM raised $1 million in seed funding in 2021.
Helping women resolve urinary incontinence symptoms
Founded in 2017, Kara Technologies is developing hyper-realistic digital avatars to make content accessible to the Deaf community. An early goal is creating emergency messaging by using a set of pre-recorded motion-captured animations. This will be followed by fully automated, real-time translation with applications in education, services, entertainment and safety.
Making content accessible to sign language users through digital avatars
A spin-out from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, Kitea Health has developed a next-generation implantable technology platform enabling the chronic measurement of pressure. With $6m in seed funding raised in 2023, the company is in the preclinical stage for its first clinical device for the management of hydrocephalus.
Developing implantable medical devices that enable the monitoring of pressure
Founded in 2013, Mote provides real-time environmental and technical measurements and data services on an enterprise scale. Their sensor network solutions provide precision measurement and remote monitoring providing data critical for decision makers such as regulators, government, consultants, site operators – anyone needing information on air, water, geotechnical and structural matters.
Real-time environmental and technical measurements and data services
As concerns about the climate and ethical impacts of the meat industry grow, so does interest in the potential of lab-grown meat. Opo Bio was born from University cell culture expertise and aims to be a cell line supplier to the cultivated (cultured) meat industry.
Providing cell lines to the cultivated meat industry
Founded in 2016, Opum has developed the Digital Knee, a wearable device consisting of AI-integrated sensors that provide in-depth analysis of musculoskeletal performance and movement. The FDA-cleared device takes clinical knee evaluation out of the consultation room and into patients’ homes, providing better information to clinicians to enable faster rehabilitation.
AI-powered orthopaedic data analysis
Established in 2016, Orbis has developed a ‘lab on a disk’ testing platform that uses its microfluidic platform technology to miniaturise and automate accurate lab testing for use at points of need. Originally designed to time artificial insemination for cows, Orbis pivoted to develop an immunity test for Covid-19.
Making complex medical testing simple and accessible
Founded in 2022 as a spin-out from the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, PhaseFoam aims to commercialise a new heat-absorbing material with the potential to transform the cold chain and building industries. It encapsulates phase-change materials, which absorb or release heat as they change between liquid and solid states.
Innovative heat-absorbing material for the cold chain and building industries
Founded in 2007, PowerbyProxi developed wireless power transmitters and receivers that can simultaneously power up many different devices, including rechargeable batteries. PowerbyProxi was acquired in 2017.
Wireless power charging for consumer electronics and industrial applications
Founded in 2019, PowerON has developed novel dielectric elastomers, which can be used as soft sensors, switches or actuators. The technology enables development of soft robotics with human-like movement, performance and reactions. The goal is to make robots that can interact safely with humans. PowerON raised $3.1 million in 2021.
Smart elastic technology for a future of soft, lifelike robots
With deep expertise in harnessing, manipulating and measuring the physical properties of light, Quantifi Photonics has developed a range of products that solve the challenges of testing and measuring complex optical and photonics telecommunications systems. Founded in 2012, it raised US$15 million in Series C funding in 2022.
Solving complex test and measurement challenges in photonics
Rain Oncology was founded in 2017 as a precision oncology company leveraging a deep scientific knowledge of drug mechanism and designing clinical trials with the genetically selected patient populations most likely to benefit from treatment. Its lead product candidate, milademetan, is a small-molecule oral inhibitor of MDM2.
Researching, developing and translating innovative targeted cancer therapies
RosterLab won the 2020 University of Auckland Velocity $100K Challenge. Its AI solution automatically creates efficient and compliant rosters with an emphasis on staff satisfaction. It was the only algorithm to solve every rostering scenario in the International Nurse Rostering Competition.
Autonomous rostering solutions for the healthcare and aged care industries
Founded in 2016, Soul Machines develops digital avatars that use AI to identify and respond to human emotions. In 2021, it entered into a five-year partnership agreement with Microsoft. After being adopted by multiple leading brands, Soul Machines raised $70 million in a Series B1 raise in 2022.
Creating the world’s most astonishing digital people
Since 2001, Southern Photonics has specialized in optical systems design and manufacture, providing instruments and solutions for a wide range of test, measurement, lab and industrial needs. The parent company of Quantifi Photonics, Southern Photonics continues to design and manufacture instruments for light generation and analysis.
Designing and manufacturing instruments for light generation and analysis
Founded in 2012, StretchSense produces a hand motion capture solution that combines stretch sensor gloves with machine learning, resulting in superior finger tracking for animators, game developers and film studios. The soft capacitors inside the gloves can be stretched or squeezed and the resulting changes accurately measured.
Building the world's best motion capture glove
Founded in 2016, StrutFit is the developer of a footwear sizing platform using artificial intelligence and computer vision. The platform scans customers’ feet using a smartphone and enables them to virtually try on shoes that fit. This platform enables footwear retailers to boost their sales and reduce returns.
The future of footwear sizing
TamoRx aims to develop an immunotherapy medicine to help patients’ immune systems destroy cancer cells. In 2022, it secured $15.25 million in capital to accelerate the development of its cancer treatment. TamoRx is based on the University's discovery of a mechanism that restricts the immune system from fighting cancer.
Helping the immune system destroy cancer cells
Founded in 2016, Tectonus developed seismic self-centring damper technology known as resilient slip friction joints. The technology allows structures to withstand earthquakes, reduce building damage, minimise loss of life and allow people to return to buildings quicker. Tectonus raised $8 million in 2022 to expand into the North American market.
Designing, engineering and manufacturing revolutionary earthquake protection devices
The Insides Company builds a device for patients who have had colorectal wounds or surgery. The Insides System takes what flows out into a bag and pumps it back downstream, allowing patients to eat and drink normally, reducing hospital stays, improving quality of life and saving on treatment costs.
The Insides Company
Chyme reinfusion solutions for intestinal failure
Keratoconus, in which the cornea bulges outwards, resulting in deteriorating vision, is difficult to manage. University researchers have discovered a way to rebuild the cornea, potentially reversing the disease process and improving vision, using eye drops. TheiaNova is working to bring the science to clinical trials and eventually the market.
A breakthrough way to treat keratoconus non-invasively
Founded in 2018, Toku Eyes developed a multi-modal artificial intelligence platform for instant healthcare diagnostics, personalised prognostics and general health risk assessments using retinal images to screen for preventable blindness and cardiovascular disease risk. It raised $3.6million in seed funding in 2021.
A window on health through the eyes
TrueSilence was founded in 2021 by Professor Grant Searchfield and two U.S. entrepreneurs to develop a non-invasive digital therapeutic that impacts the neural pathways that cause tinnitus. The system comprises passive and active game-based sound therapy and goal-based counselling, and is delivered using a smartphone and hardware including ear pods.
Digital therapy to relieve the symptoms of tinnitus
Vortex Power Systems is a revolutionary technology, converting low-grade waste heat into clean electricity. Using waste heat recovered from thermal processes in industry, the technology generates and controls something like a waterspout and harnesses its power using a vortex turbine to create clean electricity. It raised $2 million in 2021.
Vortex Power Systems
Converting waste heat into clean electricity
Founded in 2017, Zenno Astronautics is developing systems to enable fuel-free propulsion and orientation of satellites by using magnetic fields. The interaction between magnetic fields can move and orientate satellites. This is combined with software that remotely monitors and controls the satellite’s movement.
Developing fuel-free space engines for next-generation small satellites