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Student-led investment committee Momentum turns one

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Momentum, the Return On Science student-led investment committee, has just celebrated its first anniversary!

Momentum committee members are the next generation of investors, start-up CEOs, board members and entrepreneurial scientists with the power to make serious investment decisions that will have long-term outcomes. The committee includes technical and commercial expertise across all sectors, and provides easy to access advice and fast funding. The focus for Momentum is on fast-moving student and staff ventures that may not have a deep technical base.

As a student-led investment committee, it is the first of its kind in New Zealand. Since launching in June 2017, Momentum has held 11 investment committee meetings and seen over 30 exciting investment opportunities including projects from outside the University of Auckland from other universities as well as a group of 14-year-old high schools students from Hamilton.

“The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship values the diversity of thought and the encouraging environment this committee extends to budding entrepreneurs coming through our programmes,” Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Associate Director Trudi Gwillim says.

“To have an investment committee made up of students making investment decisions for students is a real game-changer and breaks down barriers of who and how investment decisions can be made.”

Daniel Xu has been the Chair of the Momentum Committee since Momentum launched and is now also Chair of Return On Science’s ICT Investment Committee. He is CEO and Co-founder of Spark 64, a technology startup working with Chatbots, Ai, IoT and mobile apps. Daniel was a regular Velocity participant while studying at the University of Auckland and holds both a bachelors degree and doctorate from the University. He is a big supporter of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and is often called on to speak at events and inspire students with his own entrepreneurial journey.

“Momentum is really aimed at looking at and helping student-led projects. Through Momentum, we’ve seen the projects that students are working on in Unleash Space, in the project labs, in their own garages at home, and we’ve seen the kind of things that happen outside of their studies. That’s really awesome to see,” Daniel says.

“We’ve seen a significant increase of projects coming through with a strong social cause too. The students care a lot about the impact of their businesses and their ventures, and not necessarily just the commercial side. We’ve seen a wide range of projects from AAV’s, energy drinks, fitness programmes to GMO crops.”

“We are now in a situation where Momentum committee members also sit on some of the other Return on Science committees. So we’re able to take some of the best practices and best things that we do and share it amongst the committees. I’m also proud of the diversity within the Momentum committee: from level of study, gender, age and experience to culture and ethnicity.”

Graham Scown is the Return On Science Programme and Commercialisation Director. Behind the scenes he has done a lot to get Momentum to where it is today.

“This is the future of New Zealand making investment decisions for the future of New Zealand,” Graham said when addressing the audience at the Momentum Anniversary celebration at Unleash Space.

“It’s been a three-year journey to get this far, and it’s delightful to have an intake of new members of the committee today. Thank you for bringing your experience; bringing your knowledge; bringing your understanding; helping us to open our eyes, and see things in a different way, and make the best possible investment decisions that we can.”

He acknowledged the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) too for accrediting the Momentum Investment Committee to make the same investment decisions that other specialist Return on Science investment committees make.

“Somehow, we managed to convince MBIE that what would appear to be a bunch of scruffy students should be given this responsibility, and that we should look to their skills and their experience with open eyes and ask them to help us make these investment decisions. I think that was particularly courageous.”

 

hair of the Momentum Committee Daniel Xu (centre)

Chair of the Momentum Committee Daniel Xu (centre).

hair of the Momentum Committee Daniel Xu (centre)

Chair of the Momentum Committee Daniel Xu (centre).

social media

Momentum, the Return On Science student-led investment committee, has just celebrated its first anniversary!

Momentum committee members are the next generation of investors, start-up CEOs, board members and entrepreneurial scientists with the power to make serious investment decisions that will have long-term outcomes. The committee includes technical and commercial expertise across all sectors, and provides easy to access advice and fast funding. The focus for Momentum is on fast-moving student and staff ventures that may not have a deep technical base.

As a student-led investment committee, it is the first of its kind in New Zealand. Since launching in June 2017, Momentum has held 11 investment committee meetings and seen over 30 exciting investment opportunities including projects from outside the University of Auckland from other universities as well as a group of 14-year-old high schools students from Hamilton.

“The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship values the diversity of thought and the encouraging environment this committee extends to budding entrepreneurs coming through our programmes,” Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Associate Director Trudi Gwillim says.

“To have an investment committee made up of students making investment decisions for students is a real game-changer and breaks down barriers of who and how investment decisions can be made.”

Daniel Xu has been the Chair of the Momentum Committee since Momentum launched and is now also Chair of Return On Science’s ICT Investment Committee. He is CEO and Co-founder of Spark 64, a technology startup working with Chatbots, Ai, IoT and mobile apps. Daniel was a regular Velocity participant while studying at the University of Auckland and holds both a bachelors degree and doctorate from the University. He is a big supporter of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and is often called on to speak at events and inspire students with his own entrepreneurial journey.

“Momentum is really aimed at looking at and helping student-led projects. Through Momentum, we’ve seen the projects that students are working on in Unleash Space, in the project labs, in their own garages at home, and we’ve seen the kind of things that happen outside of their studies. That’s really awesome to see,” Daniel says.

“We’ve seen a significant increase of projects coming through with a strong social cause too. The students care a lot about the impact of their businesses and their ventures, and not necessarily just the commercial side. We’ve seen a wide range of projects from AAV’s, energy drinks, fitness programmes to GMO crops.”

“We are now in a situation where Momentum committee members also sit on some of the other Return on Science committees. So we’re able to take some of the best practices and best things that we do and share it amongst the committees. I’m also proud of the diversity within the Momentum committee: from level of study, gender, age and experience to culture and ethnicity.”

Graham Scown is the Return On Science Programme and Commercialisation Director. Behind the scenes he has done a lot to get Momentum to where it is today.

“This is the future of New Zealand making investment decisions for the future of New Zealand,” Graham said when addressing the audience at the Momentum Anniversary celebration at Unleash Space.

“It’s been a three-year journey to get this far, and it’s delightful to have an intake of new members of the committee today. Thank you for bringing your experience; bringing your knowledge; bringing your understanding; helping us to open our eyes, and see things in a different way, and make the best possible investment decisions that we can.”

He acknowledged the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) too for accrediting the Momentum Investment Committee to make the same investment decisions that other specialist Return on Science investment committees make.

“Somehow, we managed to convince MBIE that what would appear to be a bunch of scruffy students should be given this responsibility, and that we should look to their skills and their experience with open eyes and ask them to help us make these investment decisions. I think that was particularly courageous.”

 


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