Rueben Skipper (left) and Steve Silvey, from Upstart
business incubator, reflect on its merger with powerHouse
Ventures. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Dunedin's Upstart business incubator has announced its
merger with early stage technology investment firm powerHouse
The merger will provide seed funding and support for
businesses within the research-based technology sector.
It follows a partnership between Upstart and the
Christchurch-based powerHouse Ventures, which was announced
in November last year.
That had resulted in a six-figure investment in University of
Otago spin-out Photonic Innovations Ltd, a start-up company
which aimed to commercialise novel gas detection technology.
Upstart, which is jointly owned by the Dunedin City Council,
University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic, has been helping
high-growth companies get started since 2004, by providing
incubation and angel investment services.
Successful graduates include award-winning technology
start-up companies such as TracMap NZ Ltd, TracPlus Global
Ltd and Innovative Learning. PowerHouse Ventures was
established in 2006 and specialises in investing in
The company uses private and public investment to develop new
spin-out ventures sourced primarily from research partners
such as universities, polytechnics and Crown research
It has a network of investors across the country and now has
operations in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.
Upstart chief executive Steve Silvey believed the merger
would enhance Dunedin's support for start-ups.
''Having a technology investor and incubator based in Dunedin
plays to one of the city's great strengths, its globally
relevant knowledge base.
''Furthermore, it brings investment capital to the city and
strengthens our connections nationally and internationally,''
Mr Silvey said.
It was a ''logical progression'' from the partnership the two
entities had developed.
''We can see a good pipeline of opportunities emerging over
the next few years, which will lead to a steady stream of new
businesses based here in Dunedin,'' he said.
PowerHouse has a portfolio of 15 active investments,
including a company making robots which inspect industrial
surfaces such as food storage silos, a business designing and
building small hydropower turbines, and it has invested in a
tool to to monitor field production and plan for harvesting
Its chief executive, Dr Stephen Hampson, believed Dunedin was
well placed to take advantage of increased funding and
support for technology start-ups.
Upstart will take on the powerHouse brand and all three staff
will remain in the Union St offices.