ZyGEM is one of WaikatoLink’s greatest success stories. ZyGEM is a spin-off company that commercialises a DNA extraction method developed collaboratively by University of Waikato and University of Auckland researchers. The extraction method involves a unique single closed-tube cycling process, three times faster than conventional methods, and represents a breakthrough tool for DNA processing and testing laboratories. ZyGEM is growing rapidly in its pursuit of the billion-dollar global market for DNA tests, which reflects the quality of ZyGEM’s science and its approach to commercialisation. Nearly $4 million of external funds were invested by Endeavour Capital and a number of other high net worth individuals.
Successes in the information and communication technology area include joint ventures Khipu Systems and Rural Link, CLIMsystems, Ectus and Endace.
Khipu Systems is a joint venture formed in 2006 with New Zealand’s largest privately owned analytical lab, Hill Laboratories. Khipu Systems provides high value smart software solutions that enable labs throughout the world to increase the quality and speed of their sample testing. The platform technology leveraged by Khipu’s software is based on WEKA, an award-winning Machine Learning tool developed by the University’s Computer Science team. Sales have already been made to one of Europe’s largest analytical labs (BLGG), highlighting the world-class quality of the technology. Endeavour Capital has invested $1 million into Khipu Systems.
Rural Link is a joint venture formed in 2006 with local rural IT solutions provider, Rezare Systems. Rural Link is transferring telecommunications capabilities of the Faculty of Computer and Mathematical Science’s WAND group to the rural sector. The WAND group has been building rural community networks using this equipment since 2002. Through the networks and expertise of Rezare, this new joint venture will provide valuable enabling telecommunications solutions to the Waikato dairy sector, as well as to rural communities throughout the country that are unable to access broadband technology.
Ectus was a spin-off company established in 2004 which grew out of a specialist e-learning unit within the University of Waikato. Its products included a software package that seamlessly combines video conferencing, online forums and video archiving for educators and businesses alike. Ectus PLACE and Ectus MEDIA, were the foundation technologies which rapidly developed into marketable forms. Endeavour iCAP provided start-up capital of $1.2 million, Technology New Zealand granted $300,000 for further research, and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise supplied $20,000 for a branding strategy. Ectus has now been bought by Norwegian-listed multinational TANDBERG, a leading provider of communication products and services.
CLIMsystems is a spin-off company founded in 2004, based upon a decade of research and development carried out at the University of Waikato. CLIMsystems is dedicated to helping individuals and organisations find sustainable solutions to problems arising from global environmental change. It achieves this through the provision of software products and related services for assessing the potential risks posed by climate change and variability, and for evaluating adaptation options.
Endace is a global leader in network monitoring, latency measurement and application acceleration solutions. It is recognised by an elite, worldwide client base of blue chip corporations, government agencies and telecommunications providers. Endace’s core technology was initially developed by a University research team led by Professor Ian Graham in the period 1995 to 2001. Endace was founded in 2001, was admitted to the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange in 2005, and reported revenues of US$30.3 million in 2009.
Titanox Development Ltd was established in 1997 to develop market-ready products based on novel methods of producing titanium powders invented by Professor Deliang Zhang of the Department of Engineering at Waikato University. The company is currently building a pilot plant to scale up the technology.