GD1: Born in Auckland, Global from Day One -Tātaki Auckland Unlimited

GD1 Team

"In our fifth profile of Auckland VC funds, we talk with Vignesh Kumar from Global From Day 1 (GD1) about helping Aotearoa New Zealand’s ambitious tech founders find global success." - Tātaki Auckland Unlimited

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited pulled together another great piece. This write up is one of five VC profiles covered thus far, and it incorporates our ESG values, how we commit to a lifecycle of investment and our biomedical case study on Formus Labs.

" Incorporating ESG values

Over the past five years, Kumar has observed a growing global interest in investment in the  deep tech, clean tech and health tech sectors. Seeing this as a natural fit that reflects its own commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) values, GD1 has invested in several companies in these sectors.

One such company is Junofem, which produces a medical device that enables women to proactively manage their pelvic floor health. Junofem’s solution was based on technology from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute at The University of Auckland and is supported by international clinical studies.

This tie-up with university-derived science and engineering is another hallmark of the GD1 investment programme. GD1 supports Return on Science, a unique programme that  identifies and validates venture-grade teams and technology that receive public research funding in New Zealand.

GD1 is a signatory of Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), a member of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), and is going through the Toitū Envirocare and B Corporation certification processes.

GD1’s team also brings skills and experience gained in Silicon Valley to help portfolio companies navigate the opportunities of ESG-focussed investment on a global market. GD1’s Chief Marketing Officer Heather Gadonniex was leading brand and go-to-market teams for Silicon Valley startups and helped build customised ESG and impact programmes for companies around the world. Heather says that GD1 supports companies to “meaningfully adapt policies through a pragmatic, rather than overzealous, approach to ESG.

Committing to a lifecycle of investment

Kumar describes GD1 as a ‘life cycle investor’, encouraging a symbiotic relationship between the company, founders and investors. He likens the business arrangement to a marriage, whose success depends on like-minded values. This alignment in core values enables the GD1 team to work with portfolio companies to drive growth and ultimately increase returns for investors.

Biomedical case study: Formus Labs  

Formus Labs is an orthopaedic software development company that has created the world’s first automated 3D planner for joint replacement surgeries, providing surgeons with unprecedented insight into the pre-operative planning process. Spun out of the University of Auckland, Formus Labs positions itself as the “future of orthopaedic planning”. GD1 tracked the company’s progress from its earliest days and was especially impressed with the integrity and drive of its Founder and CEO Ju Zhang and the world-class research of Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer Professor Thor Besier.

In February 2022, the company announced it had raised US$5 million towards the public launch of its orthopaedic surgery planning solution. The investment was led by GD1and the company will use the funds to accelerate product development and its expansion into the United States. At the same time, Formus Labs formalised its partnership with Zimmer Biomet, a global medical technology leader. Zimmer Biomet committed to the co-development and commercialisation of the Formus Hip software in Australia and New Zealand, as well as to the pursuit of global expansion." - Tātaki Auckland Unlimited

Kudos to Tātaki Auckland Unlimited for highlighting the asset class and celebrating local venture capital having international success. 

Click to read our full Invest Auckland profile.

Written bY
GD1 Team



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