Agribusiness Investment Showcase connects business to capital

OPINION: New Zealand ticks all the boxes for its potential to produce world leading agricultural technologies – it has an economy built on primary industries and a long history of expertise in agriculture, as well as a culture of innovation.

This is why I see huge potential for New Zealand agritech businesses to grow internationally.

The latest estimates value the agritech sector at around $1.2 billion, and investors are taking notice.

But lack of capital and relative isolation from markets remains a problem for many New Zealand agritech enterprises wanting to expand.

Read more

What’s so special about A2 milk?

A2 Milk has been at the forefront of local news coverage over the last few months. Now global news agency Bloomberg has taken a look at how it is turning the dairy industry on its head.

For Gillian Fyvie, a splash of milk on her cereal typically led to stomach ache, bloating and a swollen tongue. Not since making the switch.

Fyvie’s symptoms were avoided not with soy, organic or even lactose-free dairy, she says, but a type of cows’ milk from a2 Milk Co. The Sydney-based company is gaining an international following for its products, developed from the premise that the milk most of the developed world has consumed for generations is causing everything from digestive discomfort to diabetes.

Read more

Agcarm President Speech to the Agcarm Summer Conference

Thursday, 25 February 2016, 3:01 pm
Speech: Agcarm

Agcarm President Mark Christie to the Agcarm Summer Conference
Sudima Hotel, 18 Airpark Drive
Auckland Airport

9.05am, Wednesday 24 February 2016
I’ve mentioned data protection in every speech to every Agcarm conference I’ve ever spoken to since I became President of Agcarm.
So I can’t break with a well-established tradition now. In fact, the four years of me standing in front of you discussing data protection is just the tip of the iceberg. Agcarm has persisted in trying to rectify New Zealand’s dismal data protection regime for well over a decade now.

Read more

Is NZVIF directionally correct?

The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund was set up 14 years ago with the best intentions – to foster an early stage investment sector in New Zealand by being a fund of funds. It’s had $250 million for VC and PE funds but only $129.7 million of that had been invested to June 2015 and $100 million of it is an underwrite facility.

NZVIF later added the now $50 million Seed Co-Investment Fund (SCIF) which co-invests alongside accredited angel investors. As at June 2016 it had placed $38.2 million of that.

Read more

New Zealand to join Australian medical research fund

New Zealand life science and medical research companies will be able to bid for millions of Australian dollars in funding to support new drugs and medical developments after the government signed up to Australia’s Medical Research Commercialisation Fund.

New Zealand will pay A$500,000 a year to be part of the fund, the same amount paid by Australian states, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce said in a statement. The fund was set up in 2007 and other investors include Australian Superannuation funds. It is operated by Brandon Capital Partners.

Companies compete for investment and support for the pre-clinical development and commercialisation of discoveries. Early funding can receive up to A$3 million, with the potential for a further A$17 million in investment.

Read more

Powerhouse Ventures plans Australian stock exchange listing

 A company that develops ideas into commercial successes is set to list on the Australian stock exchange.

Christchurch-based Powerhouse Ventures invests in intellectual property and technology, shaping concepts into businesses that can compete on a global scale.

The intellectual property is mostly sourced from New Zealand’s universities.

Among Powerhouse’s portfolio are Fluent, software that detects emotions by tracking micro-expressions, Avalia immunotherapy, which develops platform technology to design cancer treatments and HydroWorks, which makes turbines for electricity generation. It now has more than 50 staff and multimillion-dollar turnover.

Read more

Ag tech investments double in 2015 despite U.S. farm slump: study

Investments in agriculture technology startups surged to a record $4.6 billion in 2015 despite a steep drop in U.S. farm income and slumping profit at farm-affiliated companies such as machinery producers and seed makers, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The investments were nearly double the $2.36 billion seeded by venture capitalists and others in 2014, according to the annual report from online food and agriculture investment platform AgFunder.

The jump came as net U.S. farm income is projected to drop for a third straight year and as industry stalwarts such as equipment maker Deere & Co and seed and agrochemicals company Monsanto Co face slumping sales and job cuts.

“There’s definitely been a downturn in the broader market, but ultimately the direction of agriculture is going toward an more technologically driven future,” said AgFunder CEO Rob Leclerc.

Read more

LCT completes $2.8m private placement and announces SPP

17 February 2016 – Sydney, Australia & Auckland, New Zealand – Living Cell Technologies Limited has completed the placement of 54,607,546 shares at $0.05063 to wholesale investors resident in New Zealand, raising $2,764,621. The issue price is a 10% discount to the 5 day volume weighted average price to 12 February 2016.

The funds will be used as working capital to carry out the Phase IIb clinical trial of lead product NTCELL® in Parkinson’s disease and to apply for provisional consent to treat paying patients in New Zealand in 2017.

Chief Executive Dr Ken Taylor says that all investors who took part in the previous private placement in October 2014 also participated in this placement, alongside a number of new investors.

Read more

UN: Stopping Zika may require GM insects

Geneva – The World Health Organisation says it may be necessary to use controversial methods like genetically modified mosquitoes to wipe out the insects that are spreading the Zika virus across the Americas.

The virus has been linked to a spike in babies born with abnormally small heads, or microcephaly, in Brazil and French Polynesia. The UN health agency has declared Zika a global emergency, even though there is no definitive proof it is causing the birth defects.

Read more

War on weeds nets $44 million windfall

A new Landcare Research quantitative study has revealed the “surprising” amount the Ragwort flea beetle saves in control costs.

“Until now we have only been able to speculate on the financial benefits of the Ragwort flea beetle to farmers,” said Landcare Research scientist Simon Fowler.

“We had no hard data. We had amazing before and after photos of the flea beetle’s work. But people need quantitative data so we revisited our research and we have now finished a national cost-benefit analysis”.

Read more