Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation.
Creating graduates who will become leaders in building a sustainable world
Caroline Hope is a recent Engineering graduate who is currently working at Beca as a Process Engineer and undertaking a number of leadership roles in both Beca and Engineers Without Borders. While studying at University, Caroline participated in programmes delivered by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship which helped her further develop the skills and networks necessary to fast-track her career. She has recently been nominated as a finalist for Young Engineer of the Year, for the Engineering New Zealand ENVI awards. Read more
Future Voices Forum – Voicing the need for a revolution for New Zealand’s natural capital
University of Auckland students and staff were recently given the opportunity to influence the thinking of the New Zealand government and business leaders on creating a sustainable and inclusive New Zealand. The Future Voices Forum was a workshop organised by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in partnership with the Aotearoa Circle. A group of 68 participants were canvased on their thoughts and concerns regarding Transport, Food and Energy. The results were reported back to CEOs from organisations such as ASB, Mercury, Sanford and Treasury at the related Fenwick Forum event.
GreenSpot Technologies – Turning food waste into high-nutrition flour
Greenspot Technologies, a start-up that came to life through the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s Velocity programme, has created a range of flour made from fermented fruit and vegetable pulp. Greenspot Technologies’ range includes pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, apple, beetroot, orange, carrot and parsnip flours. Their flours are high in protein and fibre and low in sugar and fat. They are made using a sophisticated fermentation process first developed in the research labs of the University of Auckland. Since going through the Velocity programme, Greenspot Technologies has received substantial investment and has made the move to France and have won multiple international awards for innovation.
Mint Innovation – Using microbes to turn e-waste into precious metals
Mint Innovation is an urban mining company that has developed a novel biotechnological solution allowing them to use inexpensive chemicals and naturally sourced microbes to extract and recover precious metals such as gold, palladium, and copper from common forms of waste produced by modern society. Their initial focus has been on recovering these valuable metals from electronic waste, a growing problem worldwide with 54 million tons of e-waste generated each year.
Leading their research and development is University of Auckland alumnus Robert Staniland, who completed his Postgraduate Certificate of Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship through the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 2019. Read more
Nilo – Turning global plastic problem into exponentially useful resource
Tech company Nilo is on a mission is to see ‘the end of waste’ by providing a way for all plastic to be processed and repurposed on a global scale. They are developing technology that can turn all types of plastic waste, including currently unrecyclable ocean and landfill plastic, into industrial adhesives that have a number of applications including the manufacturing of wood boards, plywood, MDF, and laminated products. The patented process is clean and low energy, with the potential to combine with other waste streams such as construction and demolition waste, wood, textiles, and e-waste.
They are also working to produce high-strength roading solutions that improve not only the environmental but economic and safety aspects of the roading and pavement industry. At the end of their use, all of Nilo’s products can be granulated and re-processed into new products, creating a circular economy where plastic waste is the most valuable resource. Read more
PrintGig – Making 3D printers accessible for everyone
PrintGig, a student start-up out of the University of Auckland, is an online platform where anyone can take advantage of advanced 3D printing technologies with no technical skills required. “With our platform, we want to make 3D printers accessible, not just for hobbyists and specialists, but for everyone”, says co-founder Reese Chen. Read more
Zenno Astronautics – Pioneering the future of sustainable space exploration
Sustainable space travel may be on the horizon with University of Auckland alumni venture Zenno Astronautics’ development of a fuel-free satellite control and propulsion system. This technology is part of Zenno’s greater mission to create cutting-edge hardware and software that make space exploration sustainable and commercially compelling.
Founded by former University of Auckland Engineering (Honours) student Max Arshavsky, Zenno pioneers applications of super-magnets in sustainable space exploration. Their magnet propulsion system powered by solar panels could, in theory, keep satellites in space indefinitely and remove the need for traditional rocket propulsion beyond what is needed to lift an object into orbit. In 2018, Zenno entered and went on to win the Velocity $100k challenge, delivered by the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Read more
Tech Hub launch – Robot scissors snip ribbon
The Business School officially unleashed the 5G-powered technology hub Te Ahi Hangarau at an event celebrating a successful semester’s worth of beta testing of innovative curricular and co-curricular programme delivery. From the start of next semester, 5G-enabled technology education will become a regular part of the Business School’s education offering.
Te Ahi Hangarau is also activated through free extra-curricular and co-curricular workshops and equipment training, run by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). Workshops are free and open to all students and staff of the University of Auckland, no matter what they are studying.
At the launch of cutting-edge 5G technology hub Te Ahi Hangarau it was fitting that a pair of voice-activated, 5G-connected robot scissors cut the ceremonial ribbon. Read more
StretchSense motion capture venture finalises $13.3m capital raise
StretchSense, a global leader in high-precision motion capture technology for the gaming and animation sectors, has recently completed a NZ$13.3m series A led by Par Equity, supported by existing investor GD1 and Scottish Enterprise, Scotland’s national economic development agency.
StretchSense is headquartered in Auckland with offices in Seattle and Edinburgh. The company has more than 200 gaming and visual effects (VFX) studios using its technology worldwide. Read more
Maria Jose Alvarez unlocks deep-tech potential in New Zealand
Chilean Biotechnology Engineer Maria Jose Alvarez is bridging the gap between the science and Venture Capital communities in New Zealand, helping deep-tech start-ups and first-time founders bring their ideas to life. Working as an Investment Manager at WNT Ventures, Maria Jose is dedicated to fostering the growth of the next generation of founders. Maria Jose is particularly passionate about supporting women and minorities in the VC community and in 2021 she was named a finalist in the Diversity category at the NZ Women of Influence Awards recognising her efforts and impact in this space.
Since moving to New Zealand and studying a Master in Bioscience Enterprise at the University of Auckland, Maria Jose has worked at four different funds covering private, government, and university funding, as well as being an advisor and investment committee member to other initiatives to commercialise innovation in New Zealand. Read more
Business School incorporates Artificial Intelligence into undergraduate teaching
A new wave of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies has the potential to revolutionise every aspect of life. The University of Auckland Business School has responded with agility, with teaching staff incorporating these new technologies into courses in time for first semester. Teaching resources have been created with the support of the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE).
Within new course content, to make this both demonstrative and engaging, video is co-presented by CIE Maker Space Coordinator Hayden Moore and a digital human that Hayden built, Ava. Ava was created using ChatGPT for her brain, Midjourney for her face and ElevenLabs for her voice. Read more
Auror: the retail crime intelligence platform that went from Velocity to EY Entrepreneur of the Year
Every year, retailers lose $150B USD to theft and organised retail crime. Auror, the 2012 runner-up of the Velocity $100K challenge, is changing the game with its world-leading crime prevention and detection intelligence platform.
With a mission to reduce crime in stores, Auror initially targeted small retailers in Newmarket. They soon realised they could have a greater impact on the problem and create safer communities at scale with a focus on enterprise retailers and landed a partnership with New Zealand’s largest supermarket and the national police force. Auror now services over 90% of the retail enterprise market in New Zealand, saving police over 600, 000 hours a year in investigations. Read more
Auckland’s innovation ecosystem welcomes a new centre for next gen science and tech innovators
New Zealand’s Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) is launching an ambitious new Science and Technology Centre with a vision to co-develop Aotearoa’s most culturally diverse, accessible, and enriching STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) experiences for children and their whānau. The vision for the Centre is to inspire a sense of curiosity in the younger generation, empowering them to think creatively in order to innovate for a more regenerative future. The University of Auckland’s Maker Space Coordinator Hayden Moore is a consultant on the project, offering his advice and insights to help inform their plans. He has already brought inspiration to the Centre experience development through his personal project of an LED periodic table. There are now plans for Hayden to help with a giant interactive version in the new Centre, which is currently in the preliminary developed design phase. Read more
Roster Lab: Isaac Cleland goes from academia to entrepreneurship with his AI rostering venture
The AI rostering software solution, RosterLab, won the University of Auckland’s Velocity $100K Challenge in 2020 after Engineering PhD student Isaac Cleland made a last-minute entry to the entrepreneurship competition. RosterLab is based on his research with Associate Professor Andrew Mason and Dr Michael O’Sullivan into developing new techniques for mathematically optimising large and complex roster models.
Following its victory in the competition, RosterLab was adopted by healthcare providers throughout New Zealand and is now expanding to other industries that can also benefit from their innovative rostering solution, recently announcing a partnership with the SeaLink ferry service. Read more
Lanaco: the venture taking New Zealand wool to the moon
A New Zealand wool product developed by Auckland-based filter media company Lanaco has been adopted as part of NASA’s mission to the moon.
The Artemis programme is a US $35b human spaceflight programme. Lanaco developed a filter system that first went into space in 2022 with Artemis 1, an uncrewed moon-orbiting mission which was the first major spaceflight of the programme. Lanaco will also form part of Artemis 2’s life support system.
Lanaco’s wool filters have an important role to play in a spacecraft’s emergency response to protect astronauts. In the event of a spacecraft fire, the wool filters form a barrier to the main technology filters and won’t promote the fire or degrade rapidly in the presence of hot particulates such as water droplets or dangerous gases. Read more
How organisations can unlock the potential of Artificial Intelligence
In a world where artificial intelligence (AI) is challenging norms, Ming Cheuk, co-founder and CTO of the applied AI agency, ElementX, and Executive Member of the AI Forum NZ has been providing thought leadership and guidance on how organisations can navigate this rapidly advancing technology.
With a vision to ‘use technology for good’, ElementX have evolved over the last decade from a start-up of 3, that developed a personal UV monitor, to an applied AI agency with a team of 16 that specialises in helping organisations leverage cutting-edge artificial Intelligence to increase productivity, save costs, and create new competitive advantages. Read more
University of Auckland Internationally Recognised for Excellence in Entrepreneurship
Waipapa Taumata Rau, the University of Auckland, has been named as runner up for Entrepreneurial University of the Year (Asia Pacific) for the Triple E Awards.
The Triple E awards are administered by the Accreditation Council for Entrepreneurial and Engaged Universities and are the first awards to focus specifically on different dimensions of universities’ third mission – the economic and social mission of a university and its contribution to its communities. Implemented regionally, the Triple E Awards aim to foster change in universities and emphasize their role in their communities and ecosystem. Read more
Avantika Gupta – Blurring boundaries essential for a brighter future
Avantika Gupta has her eyes firmly set on the future; as a vice president of the investment team at Type One Ventures, Avantika works daily with innovative ideas and forward-focused founders and is optimistic that innovation and entrepreneurship are the keys to creating a better future for all humanity.
Type One Ventures is a Los Angeles and London-based venture capital firm that has a bold vision of the future with a focus on investment in innovation that will progress technological evolution and, in turn, enhance civilisation. It was the visions and values that underpin Type One Ventures that drew Avantika to the role. Read more
Mike Evans: Inspiring the next generation of innovators
It’s fair to say that tech entrepreneur and new CIE mentor Mike Evans has covered a lot of ground in his 25-year career – both literally and figuratively. Since graduating with a BCom/BSc in Computer Science and Management Information Systems from the University of Auckland Business School in 1997, Mike has worked in Auckland, London, Brussels, and Los Angeles in roles that ranged from a contract programming position with the European Commission to his most recent role as Senior Manager of Platform Products at Snap Inc (the parent company of Snapchat).
Mike now volunteers at the University of Auckland Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). As a mentor for CIE, Mike hopes to create a measurable impact at a more local level, bringing his entrepreneurial skills and wide-ranging experience to encourage and inspire the next generation of innovators. Read more
Newmarket Innovation Precinct – Old brewery now a powerhouse of industry, innovation and entrepreneurship
Formerly home to the iconic Lion Brewery, Waipapa Taumata Rau | University of Auckland purchased the 5.2-hectare Khyber Pass property in May 2013. Just over ten years later, many people are curious about what is happening inside the expansive facilities. Known as the Newmarket Campus, the area encompasses a wonderland of facilities, equipment and research capabilities to support the Faculties of Engineering and Science. The site also hosts the New Zealand Product Accelerator and is home to the University’s Newmarket Innovation Precinct (NIP), a multidisciplinary industry-facing research and development community.
The Newmarket Campus is adjacent to the Grafton Campus, Auckland Hospital, Mercy Hospital, and local high schools, as well as a thriving retail district and excellent accessibility by public transport and community services. Its central location adds to the opportunities for effective collaboration both within the University and with the wider community. Read more
PrintGig and OutThere Astronautics: Launching a future for New Zealand space start-ups
PrintGig and OutThere Astronautics: Launching a future for New Zealand space start-ups
Astronaut may be the first career that comes to mind with respect to space. However, the opportunities for diverse and highly innovative career paths in the space industry are almost limitless. Start-ups PrintGig and OutThere Astronautics are two examples of what is possible when passion, technical knowledge and collaboration collide, with both ventures recently attending and showcasing at the New Zealand Aerospace Summit 2023.
A career for Kiwi kids in the space industry previously meant moving abroad, but that all changed when Peter Beck founded Rocket Lab in 2006, famously becoming the first private company in the Southern Hemisphere to reach space and disrupting the preconception of what an aerospace entrepreneur could do right here in Aotearoa. New Zealand went on to become number four on the list of nations launching the most rockets, only surpassed by the United States, China, and Russia. Read more
Auckland top ranked for Australasian spinouts and start-ups
Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland has returned another string of successful results in the annual SCOPR report, including coming out first for the number of active spinout and start-up companies for 2022.
The annual Survey of Commercialisation Outcomes (SCOPR) is produced every year by Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) based on their analysis of data from Australian and New Zealand universities and research agencies.
UniServices, the University’s not-for-profit company that transforms research into global impact starting in Aotearoa New Zealand, was out in front with 39 active spinout and start-up companies for 2022, up from second place of 32 in 2021, ahead of the University of Queensland in second with 32 and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO with 31). Read more