Review: Marcel van den Assum and Dan Khan Events

Marcel van den Assum spoke at an event at the newly-opened Greenhouse on Lichfield St. Marcel gave a presentation of two halves – firstly speaking about the state of angel investing in New Zealand from his position as Chair of the AANZ. Currently investment volumes have recovered back to levels seen back in 2008 and there is a healthy number of deals being closed through various angel groups up and down the country.

Marcel went on to give in-depth insights on his experience as an early investor and executive chairman of Greenbutton – leading to the successful acquisition by Microsoft in 2014, delivering a 10X return for the early investors. It was fascinating to hear first hand the techniques used to grow the business, maintain competitive tension between potential buyers and raising profile with senior Microsoft executives including Steve Ballmer and new CEO Satya Nadella. The other key takeaway was to be ready for exit – always maintain a full collection of up to date due diligence documentation ready to be used at any time, to speed the investment negotiations.

GreenButton was also the focus of Dan Khan’s recent presentation. Dan – a tech entrepreneur, investor and former director of New Zealand’s first tech company accelerator, Lightning Lab, has undertaken extensive research and in-depth interviews to explore the story behind the headlines. Last month, Dan presented his findings to a group of 40 entrepreneurs and investors at EPIC. You can download Dan’s personal Reflections on a successful exit here and in the in-depth GreenButton Story here. One of the take-home messages for Canterbury Angels was the huge role that GreenButton’s investors and board (particularly Marcel) played in pulling in trusting allies, prior co-workers, and team members to fill out the missing governance and operational roles to help Scott make GreenButton a success.

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Lightning Lab Underway

Lightning Lab kicked off in Christchurch on August 17. You may have seen the initial story in the Press, and you can follow the latest updates here.

The programmes capstone event, Demo Day, is scheduled for some time in November and we are working with the Lightning Lab team to see how Canterbury Angels can be involved with that event.

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NZVIF snapshot reveals early-stage landscape

Some benefits of New Zealand Inc’s approach to fostering investment in early-stage companies are illustrated by the timely release of NZVIF’s Portfolio Investment Snapshots Report. (full report – summary press release here).

Not only does it show how efficient the Government’s investment has been in leveraging $9 in private capital for every public dollar invested, but also its dataset of nearly 200 companies provides some real intelligence around the risk/reward dynamics of early-stage investment in New Zealand, beyond the usual “1 in 10 (or 20)” rules of thumb of angel investment.

There are probably few surprises in the main lessons from the report. Early-stage investment continues to be risky business and its rewards may often be more intangible than tangible. There are encouraging success stories but investors need to be prepared for tough times, illiquidity, and losses too. Importantly, investors need to consider a portfolio approach and be prepared for making sustained follow-on investments.

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Marcel van den Assum Presenting on Angel Investing

Canterbury Angels is delighted to invite you to hear from Angel Association NZ Chair Marcel van den Assum.

Marcel’s talk will be of real interest and value to people, especially those new to, or contemplating, angel investment. Please feel free to extend this invitation to people you know who may be interested.

Marcel will be talking about the state of angel investing in New Zealand with particular regard to:
a brief history of the NZ angel eco-system touching on key catalysts and contributors;
an overview of the level of activity including investment levels, deal trends, syndication drivers, portfolio performance, exits;
the role of the AANZ and our perspective on government policy, implications of crowd-funding, capital lifecycle opportunities (eg NZX).
Marcel will also share some of his experiences with GreenButton, including the GreenButton story with an emphasis on key lessons learnt so that we can emulate as well as charting GreenButton’s course from the angel investment through to acquisition by Microsoft within 5 years, at greater than 10x for founding angels.

Thanks to CDC we are also pleased to be hosting this event at Christchurch’s latest addition to the Innovation Precinct, the GreenHouse Innovation Hub on Lichfield St, shortly to become home to the Christchurch Lightning Lab programme.

Because of the venue, please note that – firstly – numbers are strictly limited so please register early. Secondly, we are asking for a $10 donation at the door to cover the costs of networking lubricants.

Time: 5.30pm
Venue: GreenHouse Innovation Hub, Lichfield Street

Filed under: News