WaikatoLink is the University’s research business development and technology commercialisation arm.
Most technologies resulting from research are not in a form that can be taken to market, or even pitched to investors. WaikatoLink established the Hothouse to address this problem, as well as to give valuable experience to the University’s brightest graduates and students. The Hothouse progresses a diverse range of innovations from concept through to commercial prototype. As well as assisting with internal University projects, the Hothouse has been a valuable resource for local businesses and industry. A number of companies have contracted the services of the Hothouse particularly in the science, engineering and information and communication technology fields.
WaikatoLink is also responsible for the identification, protection and commercialisation of intellectual property (IP) generated by the University. Commercialisation is through selling or licensing IP, partnerships and joint ventures, or establishment of start-up companies.
Since 2002, WaikatoLink has completed numerous licensing deals and established more than 12 start-up companies and joint ventures. Spin-out companies from the University of Waikato have collectively created more than 138 full-time equivalent jobs and achieved market capitalisation nearing $200 million. Three start-ups have already been successfully exited.
WaikatoLink’s commercialisation performance has been benchmarked against US universities and it consistently ranks in the top 3% of university commercialisation offices (based on Association of University Technology Managers' data).
WaikatoLink’s track record has translated into support from industry and investors. A WaikatoLink-led consortium secured $4.9 million, the largest amount of pre-seed funding to commercialise university research, from the Foundation of Research, Science and Technology (FRST) in 2008. WaikatoLink has also been successful in attracting private investment for its spin-off companies and generating successful returns.