Wellington Gold Awards 2021 Finalists Announced

Published Jun 23, 2021

The Wellington Gold Awards honour the region’s business talent and pays tribute to those who are building the Wellington community. X-Frame, Marama Labs and Inhibit Coatings were named as finalists in the Innovation Gold category, representing three of Wellington UniVentures’ spin-out companies acknowledged in this year’s awards.

The Innovation Gold category celebrates innovative new products and processes developed in the Wellington region and this year, research from Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington has monopolised this category.

Hamish Findlay, Wellington UniVentures’ General Manager Commercialisation went along to the finalist announcement evening: “We supported these researchers during their early stages of development, so it’s fantastic to see their work grow and for their businesses to be acknowledged by the wider Wellington community. There is a lot of great work coming out of the University and we’re proud to provide a platform for researchers to apply their work for real-life impact.”

This year marks the 23rd year in the Wellington Gold Awards history and represents a cross-section of the region's business landscape today. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday 29 July.

Find out more about each of the businesses below.

X-Frame, was first founded in 2018 by Ged Finch who was carrying out his Master’s in Architecture and developed a solution to revolutionise the way the building and construction industry deals with waste. The New Zealand building and construction industry currently contributes 1.6 million tonnes of waste per annum—that’s approximately half of the country’s waste. The X-Frame system is a series of prefabricated, self-braced, interlocking pieces of wood, designed to simply clip together like flatpack furniture. Every component of the X-Frame wooden framing system is designed to be disassembled and reused.

Marama Labs is a start-up company, spun-out of Dr Brendan Darby’s PhD research in 2016. Marama Labs is a sensor and data analytics company, allowing winemakers to accurately monitor their wine production and make smart decisions to better respond to consumer behaviour and preferences. Marama Labs’ technology is based around their Cloudspec product, which analyses liquids using light. The Cloudspec is the next generation spectroscopy instrument that significantly simplifies conventional absorption spectroscopy methods and enables cloudy or opaque liquids to be analysed more quickly and accurately. The data is generated live and shared with winemakers via an app, enabling them to tailor the production process and improve the quality of their products.

Inhibit Coatings was founded by Dr Eldon Tate in 2016, who looked to develop his research into antimicrobial coatings. Inhibit Coatings uses a broad-spectrum silver antimicrobial agent which is effective at killing over 650 different types of microorganisms, including Human Coronavirus, Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., Influenza A (H1N1), Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter spp. Most recently, the team discovered that their technology can kill 99.9% of human coronavirus in two hours. The new technology can be applied to textiles, filters on face masks and on surfaces inside vehicles such as planes or buses.