Massey Ventures chief executive Mark Cleaver is a finalist in the KiwiNet research commercialisation awards.


A Palmerston North man has been recognised nationally for his work dealing with some of the world's largest companies for innovation in the food, agritech and animal health sector.

Massey Ventures chief executive Mark Cleaver is a finalist in the KiwiNet research commercialisation awards this week. He has been nominated for his work turning research into new agritech and food innovations.

He helped with the sale of New Zealand Veterinary Pathology in 2015 and was involved when, earlier this year, food giant Nestle acquired a technology developed at the Riddet Institute at Massey University to deal with iron deficiency. ​

As part of the deal with Nestle, which took about five years, Cleaver flew to Switzerland and a high-level Nestle team came to New Zealand.


Cleaver said it was valuable building a relationship with the world's largest food company and there were opportunities for Massey to work with Nestle again.


"It's encouraging you can actually do deals with big companies like Nestle.

"A lot of research organisations look to work with them and the fact that Massey University was able to engage and do a deal and maintain a relationship is a pretty competitive aspect."

He said New Zealand Veterinary Pathology was started at the university, grown into a successful business, then sold to a Nasdaq-listed United States company.

Cleaver said being nominated for the award was about a long-term contribution to commercialising publicly funded research, not one particular deal.

"Peer recognition is always nice because it is voted by my peers in the sector. That's nice recognition.

"You don't do it for that, but always nice to be recognised and be in good company. The other two finalists are well known for their contribution."

Massey Ventures has spun out 15 companies, including some software companies, but many are involved in agritech.

Massey Ventures recently launched a robotics company called MVL Robotics, which builds robots that inspect un-manned electricity substations.

KiwiNet is a group of publicly funded research organisations, including Massey, AgResearch, and Plant and Food.


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