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Leaders & innovation

Life in Deep Tech

A panel of founders, investors, and incubators discuss life in Aotearoa's deep tech scene.

Life in Deep Tech

Date and time:

Wed 18 May 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

In person


AUT City Campus, 55 Wellesley St E, Auckland, 1010

WG Building Wave Room


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Founded on breakthrough technologies and scientific discoveries, deep tech start-ups aim to disrupt and improve our way of doing things. Join us for a panel discussion with investors and innovators about life in Aotearoa’s deep tech scene.

Our panellists are experienced deep tech founders and investors. You will hear from Imche Fourie of the deep tech incubator Outset Ventures, Saba Samiei of the AI-training platform MACSO, Dr Pouyan Zarnani of structural solutions venture Tectonus, and Kate de Ridder from Bridgewest Ventures.

This is a great opportunity for those interested in commercialising deep tech to hear from investors and innovators about life in the industry. Whether you have an idea for a venture and want to understand how investors think or want first-hand insights on how start-ups come about – this event is for you.

The panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A opportunity with the audience.

AUT Ventures
AUT Ventures is the gateway for the commercial world to Auckland University of Technology (AUT) experts and expertise. Our team is responsible for the management and transfer of AUT intellectual property and knowhow. We are also plain curious about innovative technologies and the challenges faced in their adoption.

Click here to see the full list of AUT events during Techweek



Kate de Ridder

Senior Portfolio Investment Manager at Bridgewest Ventures

Kate is a commercialisation and investment specialist, and an accomplished engineer leveraging nearly 20 years of leadership experience in deep tech product and integrated capability development.


Imche Fourie

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Outset Ventures

Imche is the CEO of Outset Ventures, New Zealand's Home of Deep Technology, the largest science and engineering venture incubator in the country. Working on the intersection of deep tech and venture capital, she is passionate about backing inquisitive people with visions of impact. 

She aims to build our science and innovation sector with long-term goals and inclusivity in mind, and does so through her work as an Executive Council member of BioTechNZ, Board Member at the Employers and Manufacturers Association, and Independent Member on a Callaghan Innovation board subcommittee.She is also a founding member of several organisations aimed at getting young people involved with investment and governance. Curiosity and community sit at the heart of everything she does.

Saba v2

Saba Samiei

Founder of MACSO & Comfort.AI

Saba Samiei is the Founder and President of MACSO Technologies, an Artificial Intelligence company that makes sensory data, from the edge to the cloud, insightful. She has diverse experience from hands-on coding to leading multi-million dollar transformation projects across several industry segments, including banking, telco and technology. Before founding MACSO, she worked at Microsoft, leveraging her combined business and technical skills to help 30+ Microsoft partners in New Zealand achieve or exceed year-on-year growth targets and enhance brand recognition.

Saba has invested more than half of her professional life in researching and understanding AI from both an ethical and a technical perspective. She completed her Master's from Auckland University of Technology with a thesis on the ethics of AI. Motivated by her findings, Saba founded Comfort.AI in 2020, an educational platform dedicated to making AI a comfort zone for everyone. In early 2021, she founded MACSO Technologies with the vision to become a pioneering company in ethical and accessible AI.


Dr Pouyan Zarnani

Co-founder of Tectonus & Technical Director of Structures Lab at AUT

Pouyan cofounded and codirected Tectonus (recently successful in raising $8m series A capital), a structural solutions venture offering the next generation of seismic solutions using innovative Resilient Slip Friction Joints (RSFJs). Pouyan pioneered the RSFJ technology which has been supported by MBIE, EQC and Callaghan Innovations with over $4M R&D grants. This disruptive technology provides an advanced engineering solution for the seismic damage avoidance design of buildings either in steel, timber, or concrete. The technology has been adopted in several buildings in New Zealand and overseas such as Nelson Airport Terminal, Hutt Valley Medical Hub, and Fast & Epp HQ Office in Vancouver. 
At AUT, Pouyan is the Technical Director of the Structures Lab and a Senior Lecturer in structural and earthquake engineering. His research interests lie in the areas of connections, earthquake-resistant technologies, and timber-based hybrid structures. He has been the recipient of AUT Research Excellence Award.