The Treatment Of Women And The Role Of Diversity In Angel Investment

Shabby, unkind and unprofessional treatment of women by men (and sometimes by other women) whether in venture capital or more broadly is unacceptable. While women have had the rough end of the stick for hundreds of years, being treated fairly and kindly should not be gender specific.

It is not about being a woman or a man or even religion or ethnicity. It’s about the values we choose to live by and which values give us a greater crack at success – however we define success!

How we treat each other and the importance of diversity is about a set of values and two values in particular – kindness and respect.

Supporting and scaling start-ups is no walk in the park. It’s often challenging and down right terrifying – for founders and investors. The fear of failure and rejection is always skulking in the shadows of fund raising, closing a sales deal and hiring senior employees. It’s anxiety inducing.

More kindness and respect would not go amiss. The AANZ believes both are key components of success, particularly when it comes to successfully scaling high growth startups.

We need to acknowledge that tough conversations are often necessary in our world. These may feel unkind but the pain can be minimised if respect and empathy – without bias – are at the heart of these conversations too.

Values complimenting kindness also support the importance of diversity. Kindness requires open-mindedness, curiosity and exploring different points of view. Successful founders live these values and these values are at the heart of the informed pivot and the ability to create and build value.

Kindness must underpin ensuring there is diversity in our deal flow, at our events and in our governance. Diversity mustn’t be about tokenism or ticking a box. Delivering diversity is about trying and looking harder to ensure it exists. It’s about valuing people to create value. We should select women (or Maori or Chinese or Buddhist) founders, speakers and board members based on their ability to shine and help others to shine. To do anything other than this is unkind – to everyone, and especially to the ‘box tickee’.

The AANZ Code of Conduct can be found here. We have added two clauses to the behaviours we expect. They are to be:
– Kind and respectful, and
– Supportive of diversity

As an industry we take responsibility, individually and collectively, for reflecting the behaviours set out in the Code of Conduct. We will talk quietly to those we are worried might not be reflecting these. We are not advocates of naming and shaming. That’s not kind or respectful.

The AANZ Constitution, however, makes it clear that our members must be “of good standing in the angel investment community” and there is provision for members to be expelled when this is no longer the case. The profound potential for common good inherent in angel investment is squandered when the self-interest reflected in unkindness is prioritised.

We all have circles of inspiration and impact – we must be the change we want to see – it’s powerful stuff.

Onwards…

Suse Reynolds
AANZ Executive Director

Filed under: News

Canterbury Angels in the media

Heavenly manna from angel investors

The Canterbury Angels startup investment group is on the hunt for startup investments following a recent agreement with the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund.

The partnership means when Canterbury Angels invest in a new company, NZVIF will match it dollar-for-dollar, according to local Angels chairman Ben Reid.

The taxpayer-funded NZVIF was set up by the government in 2002 and has $280 million invested in various companies in funds.

Canterbury Angels is one of several private investor groups around the country, overseen by the Angel Association of New Zealand.

Reid said the partnership with NZIF would run for around four to five years, investing into 10 to 15 young companies over the first 18 months.

The first qualifying company is Notice Match, a business that compiles details of people who have died, and making them available to businesses to keep their databases up to date.

Canterbury Angels has about 40 members and invites investee companies to make presentations – the sooner the better because of the time lag in achieving investment, Reid said.

Angels are professional or habitual investors as defined under securities legislation and will invest between $10,000 and $100,000 in a deal, which may be syndicated with other Angel investment clubs.

Reid echoed the sentiments of many in the startup sector – Kiwi investors were too focused on more immediate dividends.

Examples of startup investments include the Powerhouse group, seed funded from a Christchurch City Council endowment fund and 22 per cent owned by the council’s Canterbury Development Corporation.

Powerhouse subsidiaries HydroWorks and CropLogic, are currently seeking funds to list on the Australian Stock Exchange which they believe will be closer to markets and funding sources. Startups also often receive money from other government funders like Callaghan Innovation.

Many startups commercialised research from Canterbury and Lincoln universities, and Reid said the angels also worked with other governmental and business-subsidised startup supporters including EPIC, Lightning Lab, Greenhouse, Vodafone Xone, and Ministry of Awesome.

These group are facilitators with drop in centres to facilitate networking.

The Canterbury Angel investor group included directors Shane Wakelin, Joan McSweeney, Ria Chapman, Mark Cathro, Raphael Nolden, Ian Douthwaite, and SLI Systems co-founder Geoff Brash.

Meanwhile, NZVIF allocates $2.8m a year for Crown seed investment, and provides reports about the companies and the amounts they have received.

Forty six per cent of the companies were software companies, 14 per cent biotechnology, 7 per cent technology hardware, 5 per cent healthcare equipment and service, and 5 per cent produce capital goods.

Since 2002 the government NZVIF has invested in more than 211 companies through partnerships with venture capital funds and angel networks, and those companies have raised a further $1.9 billion from private investors.

Craig Hudson, the country manager of accounting software firm Xero, said research identified 36 per cent of small businesses in Canterbury are most concerned about cash flow, and 42 per cent say administration takes the most time. Securing new business is the main concern for most sme’s.

All small businesses should be moving bookkeeping and accounting to cloud systems, Hudson said.

See original article here.

Filed under: News

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.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Launch of Angel Investors Marlborough

Business Trust Marlborough & Angel Investors Marlborough invite you to join them for cocktails in celebration of two important new Marlborough initiatives:

  • The Launch of Angel Investors Marlborough (AIM)
  • A Preview of Inspire Foundation Marlborough

With official welcome from Marlborough Mayor John Leggett. Come be a part of Marlborough history in the making!

When: Thursday August 3rd 5:30 to 7pm (guest speakers from 6pm)
Where: The Whitehaven Room, ASB Theatre, Blenheim

Please feel free to bring along a partner or colleague
RSVP with numbers by Friday July 28th.

Angel Investors Marlborough (AIM) is a recently incorporated society whose members are locally based seasoned investors, business people and entrepreneurs, who seek to assist early stage businesses by providing capital, expertise and contacts to support future growth plans. Investments ranging from $50k to $1m will preferably be in Marlborough but AIM will also consider other NZ and international opportunities.

Founded by locally based entrepreneur, Richard Coon (Partners Life), AIM currently has 30 members, who all qualify as wholesale investors.
AIM work closely with Business Trust Marlborough, who run the Government’s Business Mentor programme in Marlborough. AIM is a member of the Angel Association of New Zealand.For more information please check out the AIM page on www.businesstrustmarlborough.co.nz or contact the Manager via email.

Filed under: News

Canterbury Angels 2017 AGM

Notice of Annual Meeting

Canterbury Angel Investors Incorporated

(Society)

Notice is hereby given that the annual meeting of the Society will be held at Greenhouse, 146a Lichfield Street, Christchurch on the 27th day of July 2017 at 5:30pm, with the following business to be considered:

  1. Welcome.

  2. Apologies.

  3. Annual Report of the Chair for the year ended 31 March 2016.

  4. Annual Financial Statements for the year ended 31 March 2016.

  5. Special business – retirement of Board and election of new Board.

  6. General business.

  7. Closure. By order of the Board.

If you would like to put yourself forward to serve on the committee for Canterbury Angels, email Gabby Addington
 
Please register here for catering purposes.
Filed under: News

AANZ 2017 Exit Workshops

Angel Association NZ is pleased to invite you to the second iteration of its workshop on active portfolio management:

  • Auckland – Tuesday 15 August
  • Tauranga – Wednesday 16 August
  • Wellington – Thursday 17 August

This one day workshop is separated into two sessions and starts at 9.30am and concludes at 3pm.

In the morning we focus on driving for exits. Over two and half hours we address 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.

Active portfolio management also means knowing when and how to get out of under performing ventures. So in the second session of the day after lunch 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.

The course presenters are AANZ Chair, Marcel van den Assum, AANZ Expert Partner Avid Legal’s, Bruno Bordignon and NZVIF’s Bridget Unsworth. And as mentioned, you will also hear from some of our more recently exited investor-directors.

We understand you may not have time to attend the whole day so you can choose to attend either or both sessions. The first session starts at9.30am and will run until midday, when we will have a half hour break for lunch, and the afternoon session will begin at 12.30pm and conclude at 3pm. Each session costs $150 to attend. All attendees are welcome to be there for lunch.

Please register here. If you wish to only attend the morning OR afternoon, please type in ‘AM only’ or ‘PM only’ to the promotional code field when registering.

Hope you can make it!

Filed under: News

Demo Day Next Steps

Demo Day Friends,

Many thanks for taking part in last week’s Demo Day. We were thrilled to host nearly 500 of you for our largest event to date. In case you missed out, videos of the pitches will be out late next week.

We are pleased to report all 11 startups attracted the interest they were seeking and are well positioned to attract the support they need.

So, what happens next? For those of you who expressed interest in particular startups we will follow up with email introductions to the respective founders on Monday. If you are new to the space, we are hosting 2x “Demo Day Debrief Lunches” where experienced investors will share their perspective on each of the 11 startups. Details below.

There are essentially two types of opportunities:

  1. Startups requiring a lead investor, due diligence, and investment documentation. In these cases, we will support teams of investors to collectively lead a process to evaluate the startups, produce a due diligence report, and negotiate terms. Many hands make light work!
  2. “Take it or leave it” opportunities with startups like Mastaplex or Melodics that already have their investment documentation & due diligence complete. In these cases, each of you have the opportunity to connect with the teams, speak with existing investors, review all existing documentation, and then make a call whether or not it’s right for you.

Many of the startups have substantial lists of investors to work through. To help streamline their process, we encourage you to be responsive to their follow up and to be proactive to let them or us know if you are ready to proceed or no longer interested.

If you have questions at any point please feel free to call me or Jack. We are also happy to connect you to other experienced members of the ICE Angels to learn from their perspectives.

We will have a number of ways for you to get involved over the next few weeks. Details below. Email us if you would like to take part.

Demo Day Debriefs
12pm, Friday 7th of July
12pm, Thursday 13th of July

We’re hosting two lunches in the next fortnight to discuss the companies that pitched and their capital raise progress.

The Debrief lunches enable individuals, regardless of experience, to quickly learn about each of the companies, share insights and opinions, and see the momentum of each company’s capital raise.

RSVP to Jason here, letting us know which date you would like to attend.

7th Annual Showcase
Thursday, 21st of September
Viaduct Events Centre

Our Showcase will feature up to twelve exceptional startups seeking capital.

The Showcase is similar in format to the Demo Day but will host a more diverse range of startups representing wider industries, stages, and backgrounds.

If you would like to RSVP, or are interested in hosting a VIP table, RSVP to Jack here.

Filed under: News

Acquisition of IMeasureU Limited

Adds new dimension to strong, profitable Vicon business

Will further increase, over time, the Group’s recurring revenue base

Oxford Metrics plc (LSE: OMG) the international software company servicing government, life sciences, entertainment and engineering markets, is pleased to announce the acquisition of IMeasureU. Using wearable sensors and its own proprietary software, IMeasureU has developed a world-leading high-fidelity motion measurement system which enables researchers and elite athletes to gain data-driven insights into athletic performance. The Directors believe this acquisition will contribute to the Group’s five year strategic growth plan by expanding Vicon’s addressable market, accelerating its ability to develop new Vicon product, opening up opportunities to cross-sell, and by further increasing over time the Group’s recurring revenue base.

Rationale for the Acquisition

Last year the Group announced its five year growth plan, which aims to double profits and triple recurring revenues by 2021. The decision to acquire IMeasureU delivers on one of the commitments made under this plan for FY17: to invest in Vicon as a profitable market leader and improve its product offering. The Group believes that the principal benefits of the acquisition will be to:

  • Create clear cross-selling opportunities with existing Vicon customers – IMeasureU sensors have been shipped to a number of customers who already use Vicon systems. The Inertial Measurement Unit sensor (IMU) technology is relevant to almost all of Vicon’s existing vertical markets, particularly Vicon’s 1200 sports sciences customers, where IMU technology is already well understood.
  • Accelerate Vicon’s product roadmap – Vicon has been closely tracking IMU technology for a number of years and this acquisition will enable the company to bring forward product release plans in this growing space. IMUs are a natural extension of the Vicon product suite, and the data produced by IMU sensors can be analysed through Vicon’s existing end-user applications.
  • Expand Vicon’s Total Addressable Market (TAM) – Vicon’s markets will expand in three ways: first, the lower price point of the IMU measurement system opens access to a broader marketplace. Second, IMU measurement can be used virtually anywhere, opening up a greater range of measurement applications for potential Vicon customers. Finally, the combined business will address new SaaS-based vertical markets, where IMeasureU already has a lead.
  • Increase the quality and recurring nature of Vicon revenue – One of the great strengths of the Group’s Yotta business is the increasingly recurring nature of its revenue base. Vicon’s revenue base, by comparison, has considerable repeat business but a lower level of recurring revenue which the addition of IMeasureU will serve to increase.

IMeasureU Products and Markets

Founded in 2013 and based in Auckland, New Zealand, IMeasureU has developed a motion measurement system which fuses Inertial Measurement Unit sensors (IMUs) with proprietary software to provide high fidelity movement and workload data. These wearable sensors are lightweight and small – about the size of a £2 coin. The sensors can be attached to a subject enabling researchers to monitor and manage an athlete’s performance and assist in their recovery following injury.

While the sensors do not offer the same positional accuracy as a Vicon system, no additional camera equipment is required. This allows flexibility and a greater variety of applications. For example, data can be captured outdoors and researchers can monitor multiple subjects at the same time. With measurement solutions starting at a few thousand US Dollars, it provides a relatively low cost way to measure a subject’s biomechanics, giving Vicon access to a broader marketplace.

IMeasureU has two core business lines, IMU-Research and IMU-Step. Both business lines apply the same technology but target different markets. IMU-Research is well-established, selling systems to researchers in the Life Sciences, Entertainment and Engineering sectors where Vicon is already a market leader. IMeasureU and Vicon share a number of clients, including Harvard University and there are clear and immediate applications for the technology right across Vicon’s client base. Giving IMeasureU access to Vicon’s large direct and indirect sales channels will offer compelling cross-sell opportunities and help to accelerate growth.

IMU-Step sells to the elite sports market, assisting in the rehab of injured players in elite sports, including basketball and soccer. IMU sensors are attached to the injured player, helping sports scientists to track the strain an athlete is under throughout rehab, optimise the player’s training regime and minimise the time it takes to return from injury. The business line is still at an early stage but there are already successful pilot deployments with a number of professional teams in a variety of sports. The engagements are expected to result in sales on a SaaS-basis. This gives Vicon a platform to create a meaningful recurring revenue base.

Terms of the acquisition

The acquisition comprises an initial consideration of £1.99m (NZ$3.5m) paid in cash from existing resources. A deferred cash consideration of up to £2.89m (NZ$5.1m) is payable: 75% is contingent on IMeasureU achieving a series of stretching SaaS-based recurring revenue goals and 25% is contingent on growth of existing revenue streams measured over the course of a 27-month period following the completion of the acquisition.

For the full year ended 31st March 2017, IMeasureU reported revenues of NZ$0.3m, a loss before tax of NZ$0.3m and Net Assets of NZ$0.1m. Oxford Metrics expects the acquisition to be earnings neutral for the remainder of FY17 and FY18. Assuming the achievement of revenue goals during the earn-out period the acquisition is expected to make a meaningful contribution to Group profitability in FY19 and become increasingly earnings enhancing in subsequent financial years.

Commenting on the acquisition, Nick Bolton, CEO of Oxford Metrics said:

“When we announced our five year plan last year our strategy was to amplify our core. IMeasureU does exactly that, adding a new growth dimension to Vicon from its already strong and profitable market-leadership position. The technology will expand Vicon’s addressable market, maps neatly to sectors we already serve, and provides a lower price point at which a broader customer base can begin to engage with the product-set.

IMeasureU also provides a platform to inject a meaningful SaaS-based recurring revenue stream into our Vicon business, just as we have done with Yotta, and in line with our target to triple recurring revenues over the next five years. This is an exciting opportunity to secure and expand Vicon’s market leading status and drive long-term growth.”

See original article here.

Filed under: News

Tax overhaul for employee share purchase schemes

Last week saw the introduction to Parliament of an IRD Bill that will overhaul the tax treatment of employee share purchase schemes.

The aim of the IRD’s new rules is to put employee share purchase schemes on a similar tax footing to share option schemes.  Put simply, if a share purchase scheme has similar economic features to an option scheme, it will be taxed in more or less the same manner as an option scheme.

what does this mean in practice?

For share purchase schemes caught by the new rules, employees will be required to pay tax on gains made between the date of purchase and the share scheme taxing date.  This is the date at which the shares cease to be subject to contingencies such as vesting or put/call arrangements (excluding vesting/put/call arrangements at fair market value).

The IRD provides a bunch of examples of how this will work in practice at http://taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/publications/2017-commentary-areiirm-bill/employee-share-schemes.

how will this affect Kiwi tech companies?

We think the Bill will increase the popularity of share option schemes and reduce the use of share purchase schemes.

Share option schemes are simple to implement and carry no risk of capital loss for employees.  They also the norm internationally, whereas share purchase schemes require some explanation when dealing with international VC’s and acquirers.

For companies that wish to offer the opportunity for tax free capital gains to employees, purchase arrangements will need to ensure that employees bear the full risk of loss of value in the shares up to the point that the shares cease to be subject to any vesting/put call arrangement and beyond.  This is likely to be most suitable for senior hires, or where the shares have a very low initial market value so the amount of capital at risk is low.

Because the new rules apply to any purchase of shares by an employee, not just to formal schemes, tech companies (and companies generally) are going to have to take considerable care when documenting share purchase arrangements when bringing new partners or senior-hires into the  business.

This will be particularly so for services companies, who in the past haven’t had to worry about the tax treatment of share buy back arrangements that apply when/if that partner or senior hire leaves the business.  Unfortunately, these new tax rules may force companies into market value buy out arrangements when buy-out at entry price or on some other formula would make more commercial sense.

The IRD’s initial consultation paper on these rules suggested that founder vesting arrangements would result in the taxation of gains made by founders up to the point of vesting.  However, the IRD appears to have has listened to our submissions on this issue and founder vesting will now fall outside of the definition of employee share schemes whether or not the founders are employed by the company.

what happens to existing share purchase schemes?

The Bill does not apply to shares issued to employees prior to 12 May 2016.  Also exempt from the new rules are shares issued after that date but not later than 6 months after the new Bill comes into force, as long as the share scheme taxing date is no later than 1 April 2022 (as long as the shares weren’t issued with the purpose of avoiding the new rules – although it is hard to know how this would be proved or disproved).

by .

Filed under: News

Taxation of employee share schemes for start-ups

The IRD has released its much-anticipated issues paper on taxation of employee share schemes for start-ups.

This is the third part of a substantial review undertaken by the IRD of the rules governing the taxation of employee share schemes.   The first two parts involved:

  • introduction of reporting rules, requiring employers to advise the IRD when shares and options are issued to employees, and when options are exercised; and
  • a Bill, currently before Parliament, that treats conditional employee share purchase schemes as if they were options for tax purposes. This means that employees will pay tax on the gains made through share purchase schemes in the same way that gains are taxed with option schemes.

The IRD’s paper addresses a problem that employees of start-ups encounter when they come to exercise their share options.  This problem will also arise with share purchase schemes once the new Bill comes into force.

Currently, an employee becomes liable to pay tax at the time a share option is exercised, with tax being payable on the amount of any gain made.

With listed companies, it is easy for the employee to work out the amount of any gain made because the shares are publicly traded, and it is also easy for the employee to sell the shares in order to crystallise their gain and to pay the tax that becomes due.

However, with start-ups, it is usually much harder for employees exercising options to determine the value of the shares purchased and thus the amount of any gain made.  It is also difficult, if not impossible, to sell those shares in order to crystallise the gain and pay the tax that may be due.  This leaves employees in an invidious position – paying tax on a notional gain, that may or not materialise many months or years down the track if/when the company is ultimately sold or listed.

To help alleviate these problems, the IRD is proposing that start-ups be given the option, when an employee scheme is set up, to elect to defer the tax date to the earlier of:

  • a liquidity event occurring (e.g. the sale of the company, sale of the company’s business, or an IPO);
  • 7 years from the date of exercise of the option (or in the case of a share purchase scheme, the shares ceasing to be held subject to conditions); or
  • the employee ceasing to be a New Zealand resident.

We think this deferral option will provide a material benefit to employees of New Zealand start-ups.

The event that most commonly triggers a decision to exercise options is an employee leaving the start-up.  Usually, the employee will have a short period in which they can exercise their options (commonly 3 months) otherwise the options are extinguished.  However, the requirement to pay tax on the notional gain made at that point is often very unattractive to the employee, as there is no guarantee that the gain will actually materialise or if it does, it could be many years down the track.

It is not unheard of for the amount of tax payable to be equal to or greater than the exercise price of the options.  While an employee may be willing to take a punt on buying the shares and sitting on them in the hope that a liquidity event will arise, this is a much riskier decision when that tax burden is taken into account.  This deters employees from exercising their options in some cases, particularly more junior, less well paid, employees.

The IRD’s proposal will make it more attractive for all employees to exercise their options, not just senior, well off, employees.  We think this will particularly benefit younger employees and those with lower net wealth behind them, as people in this category find it harder to get the money together to pay tax lump sums under the current regime.

By Andrew Simmonds. (See original article here)

*Andrew was engaged by the IRD to undertake a review of an earlier draft of the IRD’s paper to provide input from a start-up sector perspective.

Filed under: News