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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