Waikato technology group NetValue have recently demonstrated that New Zealand companies can connect with investors and major global players in the Northern Hemisphere. So why isn’t more being done to replicate this kind of success story?
That was the question we asked ourselves when we started thinking about delivering an event that would actually link innovative New Zealand technology firms with investors, mentors and new partnerships offshore. I don’t care what some people say about the “weightless economy” being the new economic paradigm. It is still bloody hard work engaging in markets that are a day’s flying time away from our little islands, especially so in the current investment climate.
NetValue is actually an umbrella for a number of different technology enterprises acquired progressively over a number of years. These include a software developer, hosting and web design services, a search technology venture and a company offering a genomic research tool. The latter arose out of research work into DNA sequencing conducted at Genesis Research which was originally spun out into a company called Cartesian Gridspeed. Bioengineering experts have described this astounding technology as “one of the most significant advances in sequence search technology to date”, although the company initially struggled to gain recognition despite its claim of a 10,000 fold improvement on processing speed over other systems on the market.
I remember seeing Cartesian Gridspeed company founder Leonard Bloksberg speak at a conference a few years ago and I figured his company would make it big one day. Let’s hope that their new found partnership with Microsoft will allow them to develop the product without altogether giving away the intellectual property to offshore interests. Unfortunately that is the quandry that all successful tech companies eventually face because of the lack of depth in the technology investment market at home.
I’m interested in NetValue’s progress for another reason. We’ve adopted a similar organisational model at ideegeo Group Limited. We are leveraging a core set of skills under one roof, with the aim of spinning out and commercialising new project ideas from R&D as resources permit. Mind you – our journey would be a lot more fruitful if we could spend more time on commercialisation and less on red tape. Dealing with the various government agencies that are supposedly supporting technology innovation and intellectual property protection is a bit like wading through treacle at present.