World of Drones and Robotics Congress 2023, New Zealand Edition

Outset Ventures is a proud supporter of the World of Drones and Robotics Congress (WoDaRC) New Zealand Edition, taking place in Auckland from May 22nd to 24th, 2023.

For the past 7 years the Asia-Pacific’s leading drones and robotics congress has been successfully held in Brisbane, Australia. In May 2023 a special New Zealand and Pacific edition of the internationally renowned and award-winning World of Drones and Robotics Congress – WoDaRC – is coming to Auckland.
The first 100 registrants of the conference will have the opportunity to attend the Welcome Reception held at the Outset Ventures on the evening of the 22nd May.

So get in fast and register now!

NewFish and Cawthron Institute’s Strategic Partnership to Commercialise Microalgae Protein Potential

The Start of a multi-year partnership for R&D of high quality non-animal proteins from microalgae.

The following includes excerpts  from NewFish and  Cawthron Institute Statement

The partnership combines Cawthron’s expertise in seaweed and microalgae with NewFish’s innovation and commercialization capabilities. The partnership will focus on shared research and the development of high-quality non-animal proteins from microalgae.

Cawthron has over 100 years of science history, and a team of nearly 300 people from more than 30 countries, headquartered in Nelson. The research institute is also home to the nationally significant Culture Collection of Microalgae.

Volker Kuntzsch, Cawthron Chief Executive, says the Institute is strongly focused on realising the potential of algae and marine bioactive resources.

“With the ocean making up 96 percent of Aotearoa New Zealand’s territory, there is a significant opportunity for our waters and its natural resources to provide for us now, and into the future. What fascinates me is that the environmental impact of growing algae and seaweed is so much smaller than traditional protein.  Exploring the untapped potential of marine bioactives could signal the establishment of an exciting new industry for our country, with the aim of creating an exemplary blue economy with a healthy natural environment as the ultimate ambition.”

NewFish is a fast-growing US-New Zealand start-up focused on non-GMO algae fermentation and IP commercialisation into specialised ingredients. Toby Lane, incoming NewFish CEO, says resource-efficient and functional blue proteins are critical to shaping the future of the protein sector.

“With CO2 at its highest point in more than two million years, and the global population growing, we urgently need new sources of naturally sourced, high quality protein with reduced ecological externalities. We have a responsibility to provide consumers and customers with great tasting, healthy protein that has a light environmental footprint. Microalgae will play a pivotal role in delivering this.” says Toby. 

The announcement marks the start of a multi-year partnership  aims to create a blue economy with a healthy natural environment as the ultimate ambition.

19 January 2023

ESOPs Unlocked: An AMA-style Panel Event with Team Outset

Join us for an informative Ask me anything -style Panel event to discuss the how, what and why of Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). The Outset Ventures team Mat Rowe, Angus Blair and Michael Bignell are all set to answer your questions on this popular employee benefit structure.

Whether you are an employer considering implementing an ESOP, or an employee curious about the benefits and drawbacks, this event provides a great opportunity for you to learn more and get your questions answered by the experts. Our panellists, who bring a wealth of experience in the investment and entrepreneurship fields, will provide valuable insights on how ESOPs can benefit a company and its employees.

To make the most of this time, we ask that you please submit your questions you have regarding ESOPs in advance here.

Register now to secure your spot!


Red Phase receive $397K from from the government’s Low Emission Transport Fund (EECA).

Innovative projects to cut transport emissions and costs, get government co-funding

The following includes excerpts  from  New Zealand government  Press Release:

Eleven new transport projects including clever solutions for electric vehicle charging, ways to cut fuel costs in heavy freight, and the first marine project will get co-funding from the Government, Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods has announced today.

“In total, the projects will receive $2.14 million from the Government’s third round of The Low Emission Transport Fund so they can trial new ways of slashing emissions in the transport sector, in areas that were previously seen as hard to decarbonise,” says Megan Woods.

“The projects come in all shapes and sizes. At a more local level, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, ahi kā from Tāmaki Makaurau will run a car share service using a community app with chargers, three EV cars, and an EV van so whānau in the local community have accessible and affordable transport without needing to run an expensive private car.

“We are also happy to support work on one of the big reasons that stop prospective buyers from purchasing EVs – slow charging. For example Red Phase Technologies will work with Z Energy and Powerco to integrate a super high-speed charger at a Waiouru site, using technology that will reduce the impact on the grid.

“Jump Charging will build a portable skid-mounted 75kW DC rapid charging station that can be installed in locations that require temporary increases in EV charging demand such as special events or emergency situations.

“Congratulations to all successful applicants, I look forward to following your progress. You are part of the national effort to reduce our transport emissions by 41 percent by 2035,” Megan Woods said.

Red Phase Technologies Limited are one of the approved projects, receiving  $397,000.

Electric vehicle charging demonstration project – mitigation of grid constraints

Red Phase will work with Z Energy and Powerco to integrate a super high-speed charger at a grid-constrained site in Waiouru using technology that will modify charger draw and reduce impact on the power network, minimising impact on the electricity grid and avoiding expensive grid upgrades. The system delivers 4 chargers that can provide over 180kW each.


16 November 2022

Showcase by Outset Ventures

In association with the Auckland Climate Festival happening this October, We are excited to bring you our first showcase onsite with presentations from three of our emerging and transformative deep technology start-ups in residence.

The Showcase will take you through their  journey with each  company sharing their vision and purpose towards creating the change they wish to see in the world. Come along to hear about the inspirational stories behind these start-ups,  to celebrate their initiative, commitment and journey so far towards taking risks to solve some of our greatest global challenges.

Presentations by:

Freddy Gonzalez (CE / Co-Founder) and Danilo Perez (CTO / Co-Founder): Vertus Energy

Tim Hawkey: Co-Founder and CEO at EnergyBank

James Obern: VP Commercial at Avertana

You don’t want to miss this!

Register now to attend:

Zenno Announces $10.5 Million Seed Round To Pioneer

Auckland-based space-tech company Zenno Astronautics (Zenno) has announced a $10.5 million seed round.

The following includes excerpts  from  Zenno Press Release:

Based on the patented use of super magnets, the company’s satellite control and propulsion system is set to revolutionise the way spacecrafts navigate space and the impact they have on our planet. The tech enables completely fuel-free satellite positioning; as well as fully autonomous, precision interaction between satellites (critical for debris removal, servicing and construction in orbit), leading to world-first electromagnetic shielding of spacecrafts and the humans inside them from radiation damage.

Raised off the back of a multi-year sales commitment of several million dollars, including a committed constellation (a system of satellites that work together to achieve a purpose), by well established industry veterans, New Zealand’s GD1 (Global From Day One) and Nuance Connected Capital led the round, with additional investment from US based Shasta Ventures. NZGCP, K1W1, European billionaire Wolfgang Leitner, Alt Ventures, Enterprise Angels, and NZVC also participated.

Getting objects to move around in space is hugely challenging. There’s nothing to push on and

never enough power or fuel to make things move as much as you need them to,” explains Max Arshavsky, Zenno Founder, CEO and CTO.

“What Zenno has built will enable easy, seamless movement in space without the need for power or fuel and while taking up twenty times less space than traditional propulsion systems. The technology that has the potential to support the future of the space industry for 100 years to come in a transformative, planet friendly manner,” believes Max.

The seed round will enable Zenno to launch the technology in-orbit on a technology demonstration mission in Q4 of 2023.


9 August 2022

Hybrid Workshop Series

Patent Searching for Early Stage Deep-Tech Startups

Join us for our first hybrid event with Outset’s resident IP Advisor and Jedi Knight Tim Stirrup who will be leading a two-episode workshop in the Jedi Council meeting room (Boardroom, Level 3) at Outset.
The workshops will be a combination of interactive seminar (~30mins) and guided learning using open-source patent search databases (~30mins), plus Q&A.

There is no prior knowledge required.  Fundamentals of the patent system will be outlined.

Learning objectives

After completing this course, attendees will:

  1. Understand what patents are and how to access information about them
  2. Appreciate the benefits of reviewing patents for technical concept research
  3. Understand when to carry out a search, which type of search is appropriate and when to contact an IP professional
  4. Prepare a search strategy which efficiently captures the patents relevant to an area of research
  5. Complete a search using open-source patent databases and evaluate the search results.
  6. Analyse patent data to gain insights into competitor strategy and technology trends

Session 1

  • Intro to patents and key criteria for grant (novelty, inventive step and written description)
  • Review of different search types and reasons for patent searching
  • Directed learning doing patent searching using online open-source databases
  • Round-up including when to speak to a patent attorney, risks and limitations of searching.

Session 2 + 1hr informal mentoring session

  • Explanation of
    • patent novelty,
    • the issues with public disclosure, and
    • structure of patent specifications and how to read them
  • directed learning using online open-source databases – advanced search strategies and patent analytics for particular companies or areas of technology
  • Post-session informal mentoring – Up to 1-hour post-session informal mentoring session to answer any questions arising from the workshops.

Please note; In-person attendance is capped at max 25 people, so get in fast! Please only register for in-person attendance if you are able to attend. 

Register here for Part one (On-site Attendance) : 26th July

Register Here For Part One (Virtual Attendance): 26th July

Register Here For Part Two (On-site Attendance): 2nd August

Register Here For Part Two (Virtual Attendance): 2nd August

Startup Advisors Council

The Startup Advisors Council was formed by the Government in 2022.

The following includes excerpts  from Hon Dr Megan Woods media release

The Government has appointed a Startup Advisors’ Council to help identify and address the opportunities and challenges facing high growth start-up businesses, Research, Science, and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, and Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash have announced.

“Startups are major contributors to the knowledge and innovation that we know are fundamental to New Zealand’s economic recovery as well as resilience, ongoing economic growth, the creation of highly skilled jobs, and to people in Aotearoa enjoying a high quality of life,” says Megan Woods.

“Startups are often high tech, rapidly growing businesses which compete in the global market. They can generate significant levels of research and development and drive economic growth, sometimes developing entirely new industries.

“The Startup Council will help us to better understand the challenges facing startups and the actions we need to take to create an even better environment for innovative startups to thrive. I have seen the value of the approach through my work with the Small Business Council, which produced a strategy in 2019. The government backed these recommendations through immediate changes, and the strategy continues to influence Government policy today.

Seven members will sit on the Council for a term of 12 months. The Council will be chaired by Phil McCaw, founding partner at venture capital fund, Movac and former chair of the Angel Association New Zealand.

The members of the Council include:

  • Suse Reynolds, Chair of the Angel Association New Zealand
  • Marian Johnson, Chief Executive of Ministry of Awesome
  • Grant Straker (Ngāti Raukawa), co-founder of the A.I. language translation platform Straker Translations
  • Mike Carden, founder of a number of start-ups including Sonar6 and Joyous
  • Imche Fourie, co-founder and Chief Executive of Auckland-based Outset Ventures
  • Carl Jones, Managing Partner of WNT Ventures.

More information on the Startup Advisors Council, including the terms of reference, can be found on the MBIE website.

26 May 2022


Venture Essentials Workshop Series

Finding Talent for Deep Tech Startups

On April 14th, Outset Ventures hosted its subsequent workshop in the ‘Venture Essentials workshop Series’ called Finding Talent for early stage Deep-Tech Startups.

This dynamic workshop series brings together industry experts and experienced founders to give you a thorough breakdown of essential topics related to science and engineering ventures.

The workshop was co-presented by Nicola Dunn, Stephanie Gray (Senior Client Partners at Human Kind) and Dr. Ollie Crush (Chief Scientific Officer at Mint Innovation).

This extensive 90-minute virtual workshop was specifically designed for the needs of early-stage science/engineering start-ups and entrepreneurs and covered the topics below.

  • Useful methods and frameworks to develop a talent finding strategy for young companies.
  • Insights and experiences around finding key talent
  • Current challenges with talent finding and skills shortage
  • The Importance of an employee Value Proposition and Talent Retention

About the Presenters

Dr. Ollie Crush

Co-founder and CSO of Mint Innovation, a cleantech company founded at Outset in 2016. Mint grew to 10 employees before graduating from Outset in 2019, and now numbers 32 across NZ, Australia, and the UK. Ollie has been heavily involved in all aspects of recruitment, onboarding, and employee retention, and like any scientist, he’s tinkered with different approaches throughout the growth of the company. Ollie will share his experiences on what works and doesn’t work in the NZ start-up context.

Stephanie Gray

Stephanie has extensive leadership experience, having led and grown high-performing teams in financial and government environments across New Zealand and Australia. She brings this experience, insights, and knowledge into the leadership programmes she runs for her clients and through Humankind’s public leadership programme. She enjoys partnering with clients to create employee experiences that matter whilst also supporting them in achieving their business outcomes. She brings generalist HR skills and experience in culture, diversity and inclusion, HR strategy, and service design.

Nicola Dunn

Nicola’s passion for people and her interest in what makes them tick started long before her career in HR. Her background is in people leadership and coaching at a senior level, across mid to large private entities. With a firm belief that everyone comes to work to do their best. Nicola loves navigating how to create environments where people can truly thrive, with great employee experience leading to great business outcomes. Nicola has led complex change programmes, union engagements, culture development and has a breadth of senior generalist experience in the employee experience space.

Stay tuned for more workshops in the Venture Essentials series in 2022!

Get in touch.

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