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
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
Vertus Energy and Biogest embark on European Plant Pilot Project
Vertus Energy is partnering with Biogest to demonstrate its BRIO solution at commercial scale in Europe.
The following includes excerpts from Robin Whitlock (Renewable Energy magazine)
The pilot will begin in 2023 within the testing facility and move to the demonstration unit in 2024. This demonstration unit is the start of the BRIO commercialisation, showing investors and other potential partners that BRIO can be implemented at commercial scale.
This is the first step in achieving the transition to permanent renewable energy. Once commercially enabled, Europe will have an energy option that is domestically sourced and less vulnerable to price changes based on international politics and environmental change.
For households, this could mean cheaper energy bills that are less likely to fluctuate. With the ongoing energy crisis in Europe, this is a significant step forward for the implementation of more renewables in the energy mix and the decarbonisation of our energy matrix.
BRIO is an external modular unit that easily retrofits into existing anaerobic digesters and Vertus has proven in their industrial laboratory in New Zealand that BRIO delivers 60 percent more energy, 3 times faster from the same amount of feedstock processed.
Vertus’ Bio-Catalytic platform controls the bacteria behaviour inside the main anaerobic digestion tank to accelerate reaction speeds and production yield.
“Our new partnership with Vertus Energy will focus on enhancing existing plants to be more efficient and cost effective” added Georgi Kirov, Senior Sales Manager from Biogest. “BRIO aims to be the perfect retrofit option for biogas plant owners. It is being designed to easily retrofit into their existing plant and could be a game changer for the industry by improving the performance of waste in our plants. It’s exciting for me, as I have seen BRIO in their industrial laboratory in New Zealand and this partnership could lead to it performing at full scale.”
02 November 2022
Toku Eyes Launch Tool To Assess Heart Risk Through Retinal Scans in US
NZ -based AI firm hopes to be at more than 1,500 locations across the U.S. by 2025.
The following includes excerpts from Anastassia Gliadkovskaya (Fierce Healthcare)
Toku Eyes, a New Zealand-based healthcare AI company, is launching its tool that assesses heart risk through a retinal scan in the U.S.
The tool, called ORAiCLE, uses an AI platform to identify cardiovascular threats more accurately than existing risk calculators, the company claims. The platform recognizes subtle changes in aspects like blood vessels and pigmentation to identify a person’s risk of a stroke or heart attack in the next five years.
Many Americans with diabetes are at risk of long-term complications like heart disease and blindness. Early diagnosis is critical for mitigating morbidity, but diagnosis has historically been a challenge.
Since using a retinal camera and the AI software requires minimal training, it is more cost-effective and accessible, the company argues. The AI platform uses an image of the back of the eye to do its assessment. It then provides personalized health guidance or recommends a specialist referral. The company says the technology also works accurately with low-resolution images.
Toku Eyes is also aiming to launch a separate tool to detect blinding conditions in the U.S. by the end of this year, pending FDA approval. As part of its expansion to the U.S., the company is partnering with EyeCheq, a company Toku Eyes says is building out a network of self-service retinal image kiosks across the U.S. Another partner is Unified-Imaging, a cloud-based solution for capturing image data.
The company’s platform is currently used as part of diabetic screening services in the private and public sectors in New Zealand, according to its press release.
ORAiCLE is being released as a wellness device and therefore does not require FDA clearance, the company told Fierce Healthcare. This classification will also enable Toku Eyes to share cardiovascular risk data with payers to help improve the overall health of their members. Altogether, Toku Eyes hopes to be at more than 1,500 locations across the U.S. by 2025.
31 May 2022