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Powerhouse Ventures gets Wellington presence with Kerasi merger

Startup investment organisation Powerhouse Ventures is merging with commercialisation company Kerasi, based in Lower Hutt’s Gracefield Innovation Precinct.

Powerhouse was established in Christchurch in 2006 and Kerasi in 2008. Kerasi has worked with universities and CRIs to commercialise their IP.

Powerhouse uses private and public investment to develop university and CRI spin-outs.

Kerasi managing director Melissa Yiannoutsos says the merger brings science commercialisation and investment expertise of the two companies together to support the wider Wellington region. “Merging with Powerhouse significantly expands our capability and provides access to capital from a company with a long track record in technology investment.”

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 a tool for the agriculture industry to monitor field production and plan for harvest and processing.

Powerhouse CEO Dr Stephen Hampson says Kerasi’s team experience complements that of Powerhouse nationally.

Grow Wellington chief executive Gerard Quinn welcomed the merger, saying it was great news for the region. “Powerhouse has been a pioneer in New Zealand, driving investment in research-backed technology through its university partnerships, its use of annual seed funds and an incubation programme to grow international businesses.

“Powerhouse is well known, well respected and a very successful group of early-stage technology investors.”

Creative HQ says it will support the Powerhouse by connecting that company’s services to the local startup ecosystem.

“Powerhouse is well placed to invest in research and intellectual property from research institutions here, which leaves Creative HQ to focus on boosting tech startups,” says CEO Stefan Korn. 

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