Is future of NZVIF…NZVIF2.0?

The NZVIF programme was set-up to catalyse a venture capital industry in New Zealand.  It’s had some successes and had some misses.  Is the next phase of development for the industry going to be to leverage this public asset to support the creation of one big fund?  Is such an intervention needed? Who’s going to manage it?

The government has made it clear that it is not going to continue with NZVIF as we knew it and has asked NZVIF management for options for how it might exit direct management of the asset.  We don’t know what is being proposed but one of the options, that appears to be under consideration, is leveraging the VIF asset as a cornerstone investor in the creation a new $300M fund.  Such a fund, we presume, would need to be supported by capital raised from other private, institutional or corporate sources.

The comments that follow come from a biased position.  We are an existing VIF manager and, in the past, we were reliant on the VIF programme to do what we did.  In a small part, the future opportunity for VIF is dependent on how we perform.

That said, our view is:

  1. Let’s debate and evaluate the alternatives for how investment in the sector can be stimulated and sustained long-term without direct government involvement.
  2. We love the aspirational shift in the debate to stretching for Kiwi funds of a meaningful and sustainable size.
  3. We should take this opportunity to ensure we have a sustainable venture investment sector underpinned by several funds of reasonable size and not place all our chips on one big bet.  Such an approach is good for competition, good for entrepreneurs and good for the sustainability of the sector.
  4. We should make sure that these funds are right-sized for the market opportunity and for ensuring success for the fund’s investors.
  5. International best practise should be applied to the selection of the managers.  Who’s best placed to do this?

See full article here.

Filed under: News

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.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Major International Blockchain Conference coming to New Zealand

The Blockchain and Smart Contracts are set to transform the world.

This event is about helping people to understand how the blockchain and smart contracts are going to change & disrupt every business sector from agriculture to finance.

The event is aimed at anybody who wants to know what all the fuss is about including CEO’s, Directors, Entrepreneurs, Project Managers, Programers in every business domain . We will take you on a journey from teaching you the basics through to exploring some of the real life ways that blockchain technology is being used to disrupt business models and transform our society.

See more and register here.


Filed under: News

Launch – 2017 Investor’s Guide to the New Zealand Technology Sector

Join us as we celebrate the launch of the 2017 Investor’s Guide to the New Zealand Technology Sector by exploring investor/investee relationships.

This year’s report presents the case for international investment by mapping the New Zealand tech story and outlining our country’s competitive advantages. The Guide, developed in partnership with the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE), will be launched as part of Techweek AKL 2017. The event will feature a unique panel discussion with investors and their portfolio NZ companies sharing insight into capital raising, strategic alignment and managing relationships.

Register here.

Filed under: News

Angel Investors warned about being too passive, not doing due diligence

A new survey suggests wealthy angel investors are not taking as close a look as they should into some of their investments.

Research by Massey University management master’s student Hattaf Ansari shows that only 75 per cent of the 88 active investors surveyed had done their own due diligence for all their previous investments.

That left a quarter who did not, suggesting that they had invested in ventures before by relying primarily on others’ opinion – or doing no due diligence.

And that’s active investors, not the large swathe of “passive” angels keeping an eye on the industry.

Ansari said the survey also indicated that Kiwi investors were cautious and liked a second opinion.

Only 46 per cent relied on their own abilities, when asked who they preferred to rely on for conducting due diligence.

Ansari said the implication was that Kiwi investors frequently invested in ventures they did not have “adequate knowledge or expertise in” and hence relied on others to confirm their decision.

“It is a way for them to minimise the risk of investing in ventures they do not have experience in. ”

See full article here.

Filed under: News

Huawei to open Chch Innovation lab as part of $400M NZ R&D investment

A major investment announced by Huawei today will support our efforts to build an innovative, world leading economy, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith say.

Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer, Huawei, has announced it will commit up to $400 million over five years to research and development and digital innovation in New Zealand.

Highlights of the investment include:

  • $250 million in procurement from New Zealand companies
  • Working with local partners to build a New Zealand Cloud Data Centre
  • Opening an Innovation Lab at Victoria University of Wellington in 2017
  • Building an Innovation Lab in Christchurch
  • Expand the Seeds for the Future University Student Programme to 100 ICT students

“The depth of the investment will touch many areas of the economy and open up global opportunities for New Zealand. The initiatives that Huawei is committing to will also help strengthen our research and development activity and capability building in the digital and technological world,” says Mr Bridges.

“International connections are important if we are to be productive and competitive in the global market place.  Having access to the resources and technology lifts our ability to be innovative, agile and productive. We have identified this as a priority in the Business Growth Agenda,” says Mr Bridges.

“We must attract quality international investment to get the growth we need to deliver more highly-paid jobs for New Zealanders,” says Mr Bridges.

“New Zealand’s hi-tech sector is one of our fastest growing sectors. The Government is investing in the sector through the $411 million Innovative New Zealand package, in order to lift total government investment in science and innovation to $1.6 billion by 2020,” says Mr Goldsmith.

“The establishment of another New Zealand-based Cloud Data Centre will be a step forward for local companies and institutions looking to test new innovations on a locally-based platform, while the expansion of the “Seeds for the Future” programme will give 100 of New Zealand’s brightest ICT and engineering undergraduates the opportunity to learn offshore and bring those skills home,” says Mr Goldsmith.

Filed under: News

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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Are all early stage investors the same? A cultural perspective

Are you an entrepreneur that is frustrated and baffled by what investors are really looking for in your pitches? Have you read one too many articles online and taken advice from everyone you can possibly think of on how to maximize effectiveness in your fund raising campaigns? Have you had promising pitches with potential investors who walked out the door and you never heard from again? It is important for startups to not only secure investment but get the right investors onboard. A bad investor will just provide you with investment, a good investor will also share with you knowledge, expertise and networks to help grow and expand your venture on top of providing you with investment. It is therefore very important to align your interests with your investor’s interests to maximize your chances of securing funding and getting the best investor for your venture on board.

See the full article here.

Filed under: News

Canterbury Angels flying with new partnership

October 2016

The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund is partnering with the newly formed Canterbury Angels to invest into start-up companies.

The Christchurch-based angel investor group was formed in 2015 and now has 35 members, most of whom are experienced investors or have been involved in establishing businesses previously. Its leadership includes chair Ben Reid, who chaired the Canterbury Software Cluster, Shane Wakelin, Joan McSweeney, Ria Chapman, Mark Cathro, Raphael Nolden, Ian Douthwaite, and SLI Systems co-founder Geoff Brash.

Canterbury Angels chair Ben Reid said the partnership will bring more investment into innovative companies in the Canterbury region and around New Zealand.
“The new investment partnership with NZVIF means that when Canterbury Angels invests into a new company, NZVIF will match investments dollar-for-dollar giving both investors and entrepreneurs confidence that the investment round will be successfully completed.

“Our focus will be on new companies emerging in Christchurch and nearby. But our members will also invest in syndicated opportunities throughout New Zealand to ensure we have a broad portfolio of companies. “Based on our experience to date, we expect to see a healthy deal flow. There are a lot of innovative ideas in Christchurch that are seeking capital. We have two universities which produce high quality research. We work closely with other parts of the innovation ecosystem in Christchurch, such as EPIC, Lightning Lab, Greenhouse and the newly-opened Vodafone Xone. As new startups emerge from the ecosystem, this partnership will help to provide some of the early stage capital to meet their needs.

“Our expectation is that the partnership will run for around four to five years, investing into around 10 to 15 young companies during the first 12 to 18 months. With NZVIF committing on a matching 1:1 basis with Canterbury Angels investors, it doubles the capital available to a company than would be the case if we did not have the partnership.”

This is the sixteenth partnership NZVIF has entered into through its Seed Co-Investment Fund and the second in Christchurch, having previously partnered with Powerhouse Ventures. To date, NZVIF and its angel partners have co-invested around $142 million into over 150 companies.

NZVIF investment director Bridget Unsworth said that the new partnership is needed to keep up the momentum in the angel investment sector.
“The past year has seen continued healthy investment activity across New Zealand with over $60 million invested by angel funds and groups. Christchurch sees around 10 percent of angel investment activity. With Canterbury Angels now actively investing alongside other early stage investors, it provides another source of capital for entrepreneurs in Canterbury.

“There is a healthy level of syndication of investments between different angel groups meaning they are likely to invest in opportunities throughout New Zealand. This allows groups like Canterbury Angels to diversify their portfolios beyond just the local opportunities. Early stage investing is a high risk investment class and so diversification is important.
“Current investment activity is healthy and there is a good pipeline of young technology companies needing investment capital to develop. Since NZVIF began collecting the data in 2006, angel groups have invested over $400 million into young technology companies.”


Canterbury Angels
Canterbury Angels is a new angel network and was established in 2015. It aims to be a broad-based network drawing in investors from throughout Canterbury. It currently has 35 members and has made four investments in its first year.

NZVIF’s Seed Co-Investment Fund
NZVIF is involved with angel investors through its Seed Co-investment Fund (known as SCIF). SCIF was established in 2005 to catalyse the growth of angel investment and has now invested into over 150 companies. Its portfolio includes Christchurch companies like Hydroworks, Crop Logic and Invert Robotics.

Media contacts: NZVIF: David Lewis 021-976-119
Canterbury Angels: Gabby Addington

Filed under: News