Canterbury Angels’ Board Member Paul Claridge in Avenues

What is it like to give and receive a helping hand in business?

After philanthropist Mark Dunajtschik donated $50 million to build a children’s hospital in Wellington, we went looking for Christchurch’s angels and found the city has an army of them.


Sue Skeet, founder of memorial website A Memory Tree, and database app NoticeMATCH, which records information about deaths in New Zealand.

I launched A Memory Tree in 2009 and from that, NoticeMATCH was born. But in the early days of NoticeMATCH, I was badly affected by the Christchurch earthquakes. I lost homes in both quakes. I knew three people who passed away. It was eight hours before I knew if my daughter was alive. It was just too much. I moved to Timaru and had a bit of a hiatus from building my business.

After taking part in a Lightning Lab business acceleration programme last year, I presented NoticeMATCH to the Canterbury Angels and there was a lot of interest. They did some due diligence – they are angels, but they are investors. It has to be a solid business proposition.

The due diligence process was a lot of work and it wasn’t just a case of them choosing me; it was me choosing them, as well. I had to ensure these were the kind of people I could work with. They’re not only investing in you financially; they’re investing with their skills, knowledge and connections. Paul is just incredible. He is so hands-on and he’s there to help and answer questions.

It’s a very lonely road being an entrepreneur. The success rate is so low because people start with a hiss and roar and then fail. It requires grit, and grit over a long time, and consistency. They’ve invested some funds that have enabled me to focus on my business 100 per cent – that’s really been the biggest thing.

The angels come with a lot more than investment. It’s a business relationship, but it’s also very supportive. Paul and I really get on. As an entrepreneur, you can get tunnel vision, so it’s really good to have someone to say, “you’ve really got to focus on this now, and just put that other thing to one side”.

Paul Claridge, a member of the Canterbury Angels, is Sue’s lead investor and business mentor.

I joined the Canterbury Angels about 18 months ago. They’re a group of people who are very experienced in business and are really interested in helping young companies. A large number of start-up companies don’t succeed, and often because they don’t get the right advice, or maybe their idea isn’t that flash. Canterbury Angels is part of an eco-system at the very early stage and there’s a lot of other players as well, like the Canterbury University Centre for Entrepreneurship.

All of the Canterbury Angels have day jobs, and this is an interest and a hobby for lots of the angels. I’ve got a background in senior roles in a wide range of businesses in different sectors so, like other angels, we’ve learnt a lot and we are applying some of that knowledge and experience to companies that are forming and starting to grow. I think that probably takes some of the pain and suffering away from them in a sense. I do it because it’s really interesting and I enjoy helping people grow companies.

It can be pretty lonely for a founder or an entrepreneur, and to have some support from experienced people is almost more valuable than any investment. I’ve been working with Sue for close to a year. I’m one of five or six angels that have invested in Sue’s company and I happen to represent that group – we call that the lead investor.

I work one-on-one with Sue, but I’m representing the group. There are about 50 members in Canterbury Angels, some more active than others. Canterbury Angels has been going for a couple years. It takes about five to 10 years for a business to grow from a little seedling into something bigger. As I said, it can be lonely and tough when you’re trying to build a business.

*Canterbury Angel Investors is the Canterbury region’s angel investment network. The group helps young companies gain the investment they need to grow, while generating returns for investors. 

See full article here.

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Angel 101 with Ken Erskine

In an interactive couple of hours experienced angel Ken Erskine will cover the introductory basics of angel investing. This session is not so much a training course, more an awareness raising session, ensuring you know what you don’t know and providing you with a raft of resources and touch points for the answers. Followed by time with Ken discussing content and networking.

When: Tuesday 19th September
Time: 2:30pm
Where: TBC

Register here.

It will cover:

  • Angel investing in New Zealand
  • What’s your motivation
  • What should you look for in an investment
  • How does it work
  • The Jargon
  • Government support
  • Tales from the real world; The Good, the bad and the ugly
  • Plan for success…
  • How Canterbury Angels as your angel club specifically works
  • Q&A

Afterwards, we have our investor evening so please register here separately for this.

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Health Tech Investor Roundtable

Investing in Early Stage Technology

Kevin Sheehy, health tech strategy consultant at Genulin Consulting Limited, invites you to a roundtable meeting where industry experts will share their knowledge of the local investment opportunities.

Date: Thursday 21 September Time: 13h00 to 17h30
Venue: ChristchurchNZ (New Premises); BNZ Centre; Level 3; 101 Cashel Street

The New Zealand Health Technology Review 2016 identified capital raising as one of the top three challenges facing local companies. Many local companies are seeking early stage capital and cornerstone investors familiar with their challenges. Investing in local health technology offers
excellent potential for access to major international markets for those that can successfully grapple with the sector’s risks.

The roundtable aims to increase investor confidence in assessing early stage health tech opportunities and how to structure companies for success.
We have a fantastic group of speakers (Bios below) who will share their views and case studies on:

• The global health landscape – where are the pain points;
• Why NZ health tech is a great opportunity;
• What success looks like in health IT, medical devices and biotech;
• Partnering through seed and VC stages in the health tech sector.


1pm: – Kevin Sheehy – Director Genulin Consulting Limited
Introduction – Health system opportunities and challenges

1:30pm – William Lee – Commercial Director, Canterbury university Research and Innovation
Investment in NZ Health start-ups: how to partner with Universities

2pm – Duncan Mackintosh – Medical Research Commercialisation Fund – Brandon Capital
Overview of the MRCF funds and collaboration, with lessons learned.

2:30pm –  Dr Phil Kearney – Director External Licensing, Merck Sharp & Dohme Australia|
What opportunities are on the MSD horizon

3pm – Kimberlee Jordan  –  National Technology Network Manager for Biotechnology, Callaghan Innovation
The opportunity in biotech and some NZ successes

3:30pm – Break for tea

4pm – Investment Manager Powerhouse ventures
What is different about health tech for an investor

4:30pm – Paul Morrison – Managing Director Ossis
Taking a medical device to the US, the capital needs

5pm – Roundtable discussion co-chaired by Duncan Mackintosh and local Angel Investor
What investors face in health tech.

5:30pm – Networking drinks

The aim of the meeting is to help the local investor community better grapple with the opportunity in health tech. We hope to be able to build investor confidence through knowledge of how to approach investing in health technology in New Zealand.

We have some great local and Australian speakers and should have a good cross section of people around the table for robust discussion on the day.

RSVPs and queries should be directed to

As numbers are limited to 20 attendees, we’ll be allocating places to those who RSVP first.


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CO.STARTERS – Help grow businesses on the West Coast!

Would you like to:
Grow and Develop Businesses in Your Community?
Empower Individuals with the Tools and Skills required to Thrive and Succeed?
Develop or Refine your Business?

Development West Coast with support from West REAP and Buller REAP would like to assist people in the West Coast region to explore and develop business opportunities. To aid in this we are expanding the highly regarded CO.STARTERS business start-up and development programme across the West Coast region.

To assist in this we are looking for experienced business owners, business service professionals and community leaders that would like to help West Coasters with developing or growing their business.


CO.STARTERS is a nine-week cohort based program that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships and tools needed to turn ideas into action and turn a passion into a sustainable and thriving endeavour. This program is based on the Business Model Canvas incorporating Lean Start-Up methodology which has been used by highly successful entrepreneurs and corporations around the world. CO.STARTERS utilises and develops locally based facilitators and mentors, while bringing in expert guest speakers for inspiration and guidance.

Get Involved:

We are now looking for people throughout the West Coast region that would be interested in being involved in the CO.STARTERS programme. Including experienced business people keen to be involved and trained as facilitators, mentors and guest speakers.

If you are interested in getting involved in supporting the Co.Starters programme, or find out further information contact:

Development West Coast  Bridgette Sara –
Buller REAP                       Emma Sherie –
West REAP                        Belinda Conn –

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New Zealand Angel Investment Showcase

Six years, 78 startups, 60 funded with $24.9m from Showcase investors. $384m raised by Showcase Alumni. Three IPOs.

Our companies and the Showcase have come a long ways since we launched in 2011. This year we’ve grown into the Viaduct Events Centre to host 500 investors and 12 startups.

6.00pm Thursday 21st of September
Hosted at Viaduct Events Centre, 161 Halsey Street

This is an invite only event. Please email here to get an invite and secure your place.


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AANZ Exits Workshop

The AANZ ‘exits workshop(s)” are a unique opportunity to get really practical insights and tips on angel portfolio management. AANZ Chair, Marcel van den Assum, Bruno Bordignon from Avid Legal and David Wallace from Armillary Capital have a wealth of hands on experience and war stories to share. In the morning (9.30 to midday) you will cover how to best set up a venture for exit, how to prepare for deploying investment bankers and in the afternoon (12.30pm to 3.00pm) we will discuss a terrific gating tool for portfolio management and some really practical tips for how to get out of deals that aren’t doing what we need them too. The afternoon session will include KPMG and AJ Park practitioners who will also be heavily focused on the practice not the theory!

Lunch will be provided at midday and you can choose to come to morning or afternoon sessions or the whole day. Whole day $300 and half day $150.
August 15th – Auckland
August 16th – Tauranga
August 17th – Wellington
Register here.
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AANZ 2017 Exit Workshop

Exit Strategy Workshop
Improving your odds of return, preparing for trade sale, divesting your portfolio of non-performers

This one day workshop will be separated into two sessions.

In the morning the focus is on driving for exits – what active portfolio management to improve the odds of liquidity looks like. This includes delving into:
• Capital strategy considerations required for acquisition or IPO;
• How to position the venture acquisition or IPO; and
• How and when to engage an investment banker.
We will hear from investor-directors who have recently exited an angel backed venture.

The second session will focus on knowing when and how to get out of under-performing ventures. NZVIF will provide an overview of the Seed Co-Investment portfolio, setting the context by explaining what proportion of your portfolio you should expect “not to make it”. We then explore the various options for “liberating” your capital and capability from those under-performing ventures, including the conversations and practical steps required.

Course presenters include AANZ Chair, Marcel van den Assum, AANZ Expert Partner Avid Legal’s, Bruno Bordignon, NZVIF’s Bridget Unsworth and Armillary Capital. And, as mentioned, you will also hear from some of our more recently exited investor-directors who have “actually done it”.

We understand you may not have time to attend the whole day so you can choose to attend either or both sessions. Pricing: $300 (incl GST) for the day or $150 (incl GST) for either the morning or afternoon. Lunch included for both sessions.

Registration: Click here to register directly on the AANZ website

15th August – Auckland,
16th August – Tauranga
17th August – Wellington

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Aussie VC Tour – New Zealand’s Best Tech Startups

Amazon Web Services and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise are teaming up to bring over some of Australia’s best venture capitalists, representing funds totalling over $2bn, to New Zealand for a pitch roadshow in late August.

We know there’s a vibrant startup ecosystem in New Zealand, but growth capital is still hard to come by.

A tour like this hasn’t been done before, but we’re extremely optimistic about the opportunities it presents for the local startup communities.

Encouraging entrepreneurship and deal-flow is the core reason for this tour….so if you’re a tech startup seeking funding, or planning to raise in the near future, this is a fantastic opportunity.

Applications are now open for the best of New Zealand’s tech startups to pitch to Australia’s best venture capitalists in:

  • Auckland on Thursday, 24 August: 12 of the best tech startups will pitch – 6 over breakfast and 6 over lunch
  • Wellington on Friday, 25 August: 6 of the best tech startups will pitch over breakfast

Selection Criteria:  The only real criteria is that you must have a tech business to apply, and that you’re currently raising (or planning to raise in the near future) – anything from Seed to Series B.

Follow this link to apply.

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Spark invests in Real Estate website

Spark, through Spark Ventures, has bought an unspecified minority stake in PropertyNZ, the company behind the real estate web site.

PropertyNZ said the investment would support its ambitious growth plans to further disrupt the property portal market in New Zealand. CEO and co-founder, John Holt, said the investment would fund the 18 month old business through to a break even position and provide significant capacity for accelerating growth.

Spark Ventures CEO, Ed Hyde, said the company had made the investment for several reasons. “They are well placed to make an even bigger mark in the rapidly growing area of digital services for the home. They have a great team of seasoned New Zealand entrepreneurs and relevant international experience, and we see a lot of potential cross-benefits with some of our other services and customers.”

PropertyNZ was founded in 2013 and launched its web site in late 2015 after securing investment from online trading company, which took a 13 percent stake for an unspecified amount.

Jamie Kruger, PropertyNZ chairman and co-founder, said the company was eager to help homeowners with decisions beyond the buying and selling of property. “Spark is a great fit as they understand the opportunities associated with successfully engaging with homeowners,” he said

PropertyNZ claims that “caught the attention of Spark by freeing up property data like sales histories and estimated values on a map interface and quickly growing to 300,000 monthly users in 12 months.”

It says much of this data was not freely available prior to the nationwide launch of in 2016. It says the company is in a healthy state having surpassed $1m in annualised revenue in its first year of operation.

Kruger said: “We’ve been blown away by the interest Kiwis have in the property data we’ve freed up. Property records for 1.7 million homes are now viewed 1.6 million times a month.”

Holt added: “Our focus on homeowners who are not buying or selling will increase as we add a wide range of calculators and tools to help manage your home and enhance its value.

“Helping Kiwi’s plan for their longer term property aspirations and significant projects on their current home is all part of our vision of being much more than just a property listings portal. … We’re connecting with homeowners to support their entire property journey, whether they are just getting started, have plans for a new kitchen, warmer home, or finding that perfect home by the beach to retire.”

Original article.

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ArcAngels and NZVIF to invest in women-led startups

ArcAngels – the women-led angel investment group focused on women entrepreneurs – and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) are partnering to invest into women-led start-up companies. ArcAngels chair Cecilia Tarrant said the group hopes to replicate the success of the New York-based, women-led angel group, Golden Seeds. One of the leading success stories in angel investment in the US Since 2005, Golden Seeds has invested over US$80 million in more than 76 women-led companies.

This is the seventeenth partnership NZVIF has entered into through its Seed Co-Investment Fund. To date, NZVIF and its angel partners have co-invested around $142 million into over 150 companies. NZVIF investment director Bridget Unsworth said “the partnership is expected to invest into around 10 to 15 young companies during the first 12 to 18 months. With NZVIF committing on a matching 1:1 basis, it doubles the capital available to a company than would be the case if we did not have the partnership.

See more here.

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