Kōrerorero #7

/ Kōrerorero blog / 10 May 2021 / Katie Hickmer

Korerorero Title

Welcome to our Q&A series Kōrerorero .. a forum to discuss and share insights, inspiration and advice from voices of founders and investors within the Kiwi start-up community.

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Conversations with Brian Ward of Aroa Biosurgery

 

From a Kiwi start-up to a global player in medical device, Aroa Biosurgery is focused on improving the rate and quality of healing in complex wounds and soft tissue reconstruction.

Brian Ward is the CEO and Founder of Aroa, founded in 2008 and as of June 2020, the company was listed on the ASX through an IPO which valued Aroa at A$225 million. Brian was also recently recognised as one of the top healthcare technology company CEOs for 2021, ranked at #26.

        

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How the idea of our start-up was born ...

Our idea came from observing the emergence of regenerative medicine as a new field of medicine. There was a growing interest in tissue derived scaffolds for accelerating healing in patients with hard to heal wounds, and the large unmet clinical need for high quality products which were widely accessible to patients. After evaluating a wide range of tissues, I identified ovine forestomach matrix as a potential building block for a wide range of medical tissue regeneration products.

 

What I wish I knew before starting a company  ...

Thankfully, I didn’t know how hard it would be to raise funds for a life science company during the first few years before we had meaningful sales. Investors were generally very sceptical and we also had to contend with the GFC and the subsequent fallout. It was a nuclear winter for a couple of years. But we found our way through and raising money seems to get easier as you get larger.

 

Where I sourced knowledge for raising capital ...

Immediately before I started the company I was deeply immersed in the New Zealand biotech industry as the CEO of NZBio. I met people who had previously raised money and that was a big leg up for the initial seed round. As we’ve built the company I’ve learnt a lot from the experienced Directors, Investors and various service providers.

 

Sources of of inspiration for our start-up ...

I’ve always admired technology companies that make products which genuinely benefit people’s lives, and at the same time provide interesting work for employees and meet shareholder expectations. Fisher & Paykel Health Care is a great local example.

 

Key tip for other founders starting on their journey ...

Persistence is the biggest contributor to success.

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Our Aspire NZ Seed Fund is a generalist early-stage investment fund that invests in Kiwi start-up companies with a focus on four technology areas; Software, Health-tech, Deep-tech and Agri-tech. Aroa Biosurgery fits within the health-tech area/sector.

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Join our Kōrerorero

This is our 7th Kōrerorero of the series.

Are you a founder of a Kiwi start-up, or a start-up investor, who's keen to share your insights as part of this series? We'd love to hear from you! 
Drop us an email at marketing@nzgcp.co.nz and let's chat.

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