Following successful pitches to members in Tauranga and Hamilton, Enterprise Angels has undertaken a comprehensive due diligence process resulting in a positive outcome.  Mastaplex is raising $500,000 – $750,000 on terms which have been negotiated with the Enterprise Angels team and other investors.  Approximately 50% of this raise has been confirmed by experienced early stage investors, including EA Members, WNT Ventures and Seed Co-Investment Fund (managed by NZVIF).  EA Fund 2 is yet to confirm its investment amount, but this will likely be between $75,000 and $100,000.  Wholesale investors showed a lot of interest in Mastaplex at the Fieldays Innovation Investor Capital Event where the founder, Olaf Bork, showcased his company along with four other exciting Agtech companies.  Mastaplex is accepting investment commitments from angel members and wholesale investors on AngelEquity.

Mastaplex is a Dunedin based startup that has produced, as its first product, an innovative point-of-care diagnostic test kit for the identification of the causes of bovine mastitis with a fast turnaround.  Bovine mastitis is a persistent, inflammatory reaction of cows’ udders often caused by bacterial infection. It halts milking while being treated so can add substantial cost to the farmer. As it can be caused by a variety of pathogens, it can be hard to prescribe the correct antibiotic to cure it and in some cases no antibiotic is required. Mastaplex can identify the specific bacteria and can determine the antibiotic sensitivity, which means that the cow can get the right treatment from the start. This simple method saves considerable time and dollars for vets and farmers as well as can enable the capture of a variety of data through the Mastaplex Lapbox and related software.

Mastaplex founder, Dr. Olaf Bork, had been developing innovative products for treating bovine mastitis at the Bayer Centre for Animal Health, before patenting his own research and founding Mastaplex. As his concept has flourished, Olaf has received a wide range of support, including an external mentor for business guidance and a tenancy at the University of Otago’s Centre for Innovation, which affords him access to infrastructure, facilities and other researchers. In August 2015, Mastaplex successfully gained investment from local technology incubator, WNT Ventures.

WNT Ventures is a technology incubator licensed by Callaghan Innovation in New Zealand. Their goal is to develop promising business concepts into investable companies.  WNT Ventures operates as the first professional investor in an early stage company and assists in a range of areas including the development of strategic plans, market validation, Intellectual Property strategy, distribution and international pathways as well as capital raising and governance support.

The support of WNT Ventures and Callaghan Innovation has provided Mastaplex with:

  • funding to take a product to market
  • expert knowledge and advice, access to domestic and international networks
  • quality governance and board support
  • promotional support
  • training and development in IP strategy

Callaghan Innovation provided $450,000 matching WNT’s initial investment of $150,000. WNT has also committed a further $50,000 in this current round seeing the value in Mastaplex as they launch in the international market.

“We’re really excited to be working with Mastaplex.  Agtech is our ‘sweet spot’ and the fact that the company has been incubated by WNT means it has already had a good going over by experienced early stage investors, not to mention the growth support they have provided.  Further, the company is in talks with some large animal health companies, who are potential next stage funders for Mastaplex” says Bill Murphy, founder of  Enterprise Angels.  “Seeing the company progress through the local incubator and on to raise money with our angel group highlights the great ecosystem that Tauranga has for startups”.