What an amazing way to start the week. WNT Ventures is hiring!

Callaghan Innovation has approved WNT Ventures to be one of three innovative new technology-focused incubators for high growth early stage firms that will be able to access a new repayable grants tool on behalf of the companies they incubate. WNT Ventures is a privately owned business with a market-based profit driven focus that will establish and nurture businesses based on intellectual property and novel technologies primarily sourced from New Zealand publicly funded research organisations such as universities and Crown Research Institutes. Technology-focused incubators typically build up a start-up business to the stage where it is attractive to Angel or Venture Capital investors. Successful Incubators themselves have the potential to become significant publicly listed businesses.

WNT Ventures is a partnership that has been established by business leaders in the Bay of Plenty with a passion for developing new businesses and new technologies:

The collaboration is a unique model for incubation in New Zealand that aims to create three important innovation verticals: ICT, high-value manufacturing and new technology to increase efficiencies in the primary sector. Each has the potential to significantly transform the New Zealand economy in its own right, with substantial additional benefits possible from the synergies of the three programmes working in partnership.

WNT Ventures will operated on lean business management principles with an active Board and Investment Committee, a small team of staff and contracted business partners to provide technical and commercial services to both WNT Ventures and the start-up companies during incubation.


The Incubator Manager will work closely with the Board, the Investment Committee and external stakeholders to ensure the successful establishment, operation and growth of WNT Ventures as a technology-focused incubator. The Manager has overall responsibility for the general management of WNT Ventures and the development and implementation of a cost effective end to end business incubation process.

The position will be based in the Western Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.

Could you work and live in the stunning Bay of Plenty?

Combine a hugely challenging role with the great Bay of Plenty lifestyle


 General Management of WNT Ventures

  1. Business and financial planning and reporting

  2. Manage workplace health and safety

  3. Recruit, lead and manage the performance of the Incubator team

  4. Support the Board and Investment Committee

  5. Negotiate and manage contracts and service level agreements with Callaghan Innovation and key business partners

  6. Communication and relations with external stakeholders, including other technology-focused and founder-focused incubators

  7. Manage the incubator’s shareholdings in its portfolio of start-up companies

Management of the Business Incubation Process

  1. Put in place standard methodologies and tools for a staged end to end business incubation process that includes initial assessment, pre-incubation (technical and commercial validation), incubation, follow-on investment and exit

  2. Identify potential IP and projects for incubation

  3. Manage the initial assessment of potential incubation projects

  4. Prepare initial assessment reports and pre-incubation proposals and plans for Investment Committee consideration

  5. Manage the pre-incubation process including contracting appropriate technical and commercial validation services

  6. Prepare pre-incubation reports and incubation plans and investment proposals for Investment Committee consideration

  7. Facilitate the establishment of approved start-up companies, including recruitment of the start-up manager and appointment of the Board and technical and business advisors

  8. Support and monitor the performance of the start-up company during incubation

  9. Prepare incubation performance reports for the Board and Callaghan

  10. Assist the start-up to obtain follow-on investment and exit the incubator

  11. Monitor the performance of start-ups post incubation

  12. Monitor and review the effectiveness of the end to end business incubation process and recommend changes as required.


WNT Ventures has set the following targets for the first 3 years of operation:

  • Generate 50 – 100 opportunities for incubation per annum

  • Shortlist 12 projects per annum for initial assessment

  • Complete technical and commercial validation (pre-incubation) of 8 projects per annum

  • Select and commence incubation of 4 start-ups per annum

  • Achieve follow-on investment and exit 3 start-ups from incubation by the end of year 3


Experience, Skills, Knowledge and Personal Attributes


  • Enthusiastic, energetic professional able to manage a high and demanding workload

  • Demonstrated ability in leading and working as a member of multi-skilled teams to deliver successful business outcomes

  • Demonstrated competence in developing business programmes or initiatives and seeing them through to implementation and success

  • Extensive experience implementing effective business planning, financial management, contracting, business risk and project management processes

  • An entrepreneurial attitude and understanding of new ventures

  • Experience working with and quickly understanding complex technical information

  • Experience contracting, managing and monitoring the delivery of third party services

  • Able to develop positive working relationships with a wide range of business, research and government stakeholders

  • Highly effective concise written and verbal communication skills

  • Resilient. Able to influence and negotiate successful outcomes when faced with differing and opposing views

  • Can manage complexity and deal with competing priorities and details


  • A tertiary qualification in engineering, sciences and/or economics or business

  • Experience in investment management and managing intellectual property protection

  • Established links with a range of public research organisations in New Zealand

  • Established network of business and investment contacts

  • An understanding of central government business development and R&D programmes


This role will require travel throughout the Region and New Zealand. A current motor vehicle driver’s licence is essential.


 A market related performance based package will be negotiated with the successful candidate.


If you wish to apply for this role, please submit your CV and covering email to peter@wharf42.co.nz