The founder of one of New Zealand’s biggest biotech companies, Dr Sean Simpson, is back in New Zealand this week attending key board meetings for the next wave of Kiwi success stories, BiotechNZ executive director Zahra Champion says.
Simpson, the founder of LanzaTech which started life in a Kiwi basement in 2005 and has gone on to develop processes to turn waste carbon into fuels, will present at the Angel Association New Zealand annual summit in Blenheim on Friday.
Champion says Simpson, now based in Chicago, will talk at the summit about the tremendous depth of experience and belief in New Zealanders’ ability to change the world.
“He will talk to us about lessons learned, leading LanzaTech to the world. LanzaTech has just joined BiotechNZ and Sean is also down here as a director of the rising NZ tech companies Avertana and Dotterel.”
Virgin Atlantic, the airline arm of the Virgin empire founded by billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, has been working with LanzaTech for some years. The goal of the partnership is to produce jet fuel made from carbon waste gases.
Avertana, headed by Sean Molloy and based in Auckland, has developed a novel industrial process to turn waste into a range of valuable raw materials, with nothing left over.
Dotterel is a rapidly growing New Zealand based tech company that has developed noise cancellation technology for drones, increasing their potential to be used in for example home delivery and cinematography applications.
“While LanzaTech shifted their headquarters to Chicago in 2014 the company remains a Kiwi business at its core with the ownership of the patents and licences being held by LanzaTech New Zealand,” Champion says.
“It’s exciting to see LanzaTech giving back to the Kiwi biotech community. There are huge opportunities for biotech to be part of the solutions for our global challenges.
“New Zealand tech companies are just taking off. According to the recently released 2018 TIN100 report, the top 200 tech exporters grew their revenues by 11 percent and profitability by 38 percent in the past year.
“This accelerating success of the tech sector comes as more successful tech executives funnel their knowledge back into the burgeoning Kiwi tech scene, Champion says.”