Kiwi tech company raises millions for expansion

Kiwi technology company Feijipiao is expanding across New Zealand and eyeing other markets after closing a multi-million dollar angel investment round.

The company, founded in 2016 by Peter Li, is a Chinese language online travel business, offering flight bookings across multiple airlines in Chinese.

The website offers competitive fares and multiple payment solutions, in either Chinese yuan or New Zealand dollars, through automated search, booking, and ticketing processes.

The investment was headed by The Icehouse and Chinese-led angel fund Eden Ventures – its first investment.

Led by Chinese venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, Eden Ventures focuses on high performing start-ups, with specific interest in serving Chinese in New Zealand or enabling New Zealand founders to launch into the Chinese market.

The funding values Feijipiao at between $5 million and $10m, and would be used to hire staff, open its first New Zealand office in Auckland and fund further growth, as well as prepare the business for expansion into Australia and other markets.

The company was already bringing in revenue of about $900,000 per month, with Li saying he expected this to hit $1m in the coming few months.

Icehouse fund manager Jason Wang said both groups had invested based on Feijipiao’s growth in the five months since it launched, as well as the potential they saw for it.

“In three months, feijipiao.co.nz have transacted millions of dollars without a physical office, it’s all in the cloud.

“The results speak for themselves – this is a group of the right people doing the right thing in the right market.”

The company’s success had been helped by millennials influencing the purchasing behaviours of their parents, who tended to use more traditional travel agents Li said.

The investment would enable the company to continue its expansion as well as providing strategic value for the firm.

“Our team has built a strong foundation in New Zealand to prepare ourselves for expansion into global markets with established Chinese communities, and international students from China.

“By partnering with Eden Ventures and The Icehouse, we can tap into their expertise of forming long-term growth strategies for global expansion, and supporting technology driven companies.”

First published on nzherald.co.nz on 15 Sept 2017

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MEDIA RELEASE: AANZ supports Government Changes to Startup Investment

Angel Association NZ welcomes the changes the Government has announced today to the Seed Co-Investment Fund mandate outlined in SCIF 2.0.

Early stage investment has established itself as fundamental to New Zealand’s future economic and social wellbeing. It is a key contributor to the growth of New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem.

“Recognizing that building momentum is the first step in generating value, the changes to the New Zealand Investment Fund’s seed co-investment reflect the maturing of the early stage investment industry in New Zealand,” said Angel Association Chair, Marcel van den Assum.

“As an industry we are moving from prioritizing the number of deals we do, to prioritizing the value of the ventures we have invested in. We are pleased to see the investment cap lifted from $750,000 to $1.5m; doubling down on companies that are performing improves the odds of a rewarding return.”

Mr van den Assum also added that it was good to see NZVIF sending a clear message about the importance of well executed due diligence and active investor engagement.

“Quality due diligence improves the odds of success,” he said noting that it was also critical that ‘in-flight due diligence’ was regularly carried out to ensure the funds are being deployed effectively and strategically with a view to the return on that investment.

“As angel investors we have limited capital and time. We must be more diligent in our assessment both of a venture’s ability to scale and in assessing which companies we will retain in our portfolios,” he noted.

Angel Association New Zealand also welcomed the announcement as an indication of the Government’s ongoing commitment to the early stage ecosystem.

“Creating a self-sustaining, innovation ecosystem is a 20-30 year exercise and it’s pleasing to see the Government continue to support the early stage kiwi companies who are part it,” he concluded.

Ends

For more information, please contact:

Suse Reynolds, AANZ executive director
mob: 021 490 974 or email: suse.reynolds@angelassociation.co.nz

Marcel van den Assum, AANZ chair and 2015 Arch Angel
mob: 021 963 459 or email: marcel@angelassociation.co.nz

The Angel Association of New Zealand (AANZ)

The Angel Association is an organisation that aims to increase the quantity, quality and success of angel investments in New Zealand and in doing so create a greater pool of capital for innovative start-up companies. It was established in 2008 to bring together New Zealand angels and early-stage funds. AANZ currently has 27 members representing over 600 individual angels associated with New Zealand’s key angel networks and funds. Recent NZ Venture Investment Fund data revealed angels have invested more than $NZ437m in over 928 deals and 296 companies in the last 10 years. For more, please visit: www.angelassociation.co.nz

 

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2017 Angel Summit focuses on next 10 years

The tenth Annual New Zealand Angel Summit will be held at Cable Bay Winery – Waiheke Island from 1 – 3 November 2017. It’s theme; “Doubling down on success… the next ten years!”

New Zealand is now decade in to formal angel investing in New Zealand and has amassed some impressive statistics for a nation of our size. Over $500m into nearly 1000 deals in the more formal part of our market. Ten years ago there were 4 clubs and 100 or so angels. Today there are 10 clubs and over 650 angels. All this activity has delivered hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of revenue. It’s this value creation we want to continue to accelerate.

Ten years ago there were 4 clubs and 100 or so angels. Today there are 10 clubs and over 650 angels. All this activity has delivered hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of revenue. It’s this value creation we want to continue to accelerate.

The 10th Annual NZ Angel Summit is being held back where it all started at Cable Bay Winery on Waiheke Island. The choice of the small intimate venue continues the deliberate approach by the Angel Association to ensure it creates the right atmosphere for relaxed and informal conversations between active angel investors. The last two summits have sold out and it unapologetically prioritises attendance for those who are ‘doing deals’.

On the first morning the Summit will celebrate our community of investors and founders and their achievements in the past decade. There is so much to be proud of. The rest of the event will be spent digging into what we need to do to double down on our successes based on stories and insights from New Zealand’s heroes. International speakers, carefully vetted for their ability to both understand New Zealand’s unique circumstances and our aspiration for outcomes and success are flying in to present.

Showcasing Angel Investor Backed Ventures

The Showcase event which kicks off the event will include up to 10 venture in three tiers; seed, first formal round, last raise with a clear exit path. Each group of ventures will be introduced by an experienced angel investor who will talk about the investment opportunity, the return profile, valuations and potential acquirers.

New Zealand Investor Keynotes

Key Note sessions will include deep insight into what we can be proud of and what’s next. Stalwart investors will share memories of getting started – what was their vision and what inspired them, their challenges and what we need to do in the next decade to ensure value is delivered. These sessions will explore why our environment looked as it did 10 years ago, how far we’ve come and how we build on what we’ve created and set the vision for the next 10 years.

International Angel Investors

International special guests include Justin Milano (Good Startups, San Francisco, USA) who will explore the role of fear in the early-stage space. A veteran of Silicon Valley, Mr Milano has worked with angels and entrepreneurs to use cutting edge psychology and neuroscience, including emotional intelligence skills to help entrepreneurs and angels create break-throughs and unlock potential. Ron Wiessman (Band of Angels, San Francisco, US) will deliver a dose of reality exploring the critical the role of capital strategy and how tough it can be to source and entice an acquirers.

Actionable Insights

The extensive programme includes gritty content which covers; building strategic value, actively managing your portfolio for returns, Government’s role – identifying the right policy levers, the role of NZ corporate venture, and deep dives into term sheets – how have they have evolved and what role do they play in venture success lead by AANZ Expert Partner, Avid Legal’s Bruno Bordignon. Insight into which industries and technologies are going to irrevocably disrupt markets in the coming decades and make the best investment opportunities round out the valuable programme.

Finally, the event will also include the presentation of Arch Angel Award and two inaugural awards “Contribution to the industry” and “Lead angel and best venture award” – celebrating a great angel/founder collaboration.

To book your seat (preference is given to active angel investors) click here.

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Angel Investment – why it matters

I am often asked to explain what angel investment actually is, how the work that angels do differs from the work of venture capital funds, private equity brokers, investment bankers or even New Zealand’s government agencies who support business growth.  This paper provides a quick, but deeply informative guide to the high growth startup investment in New Zealand. To explain why it matters and what success will look like if we do it right.

It is also important to set out how high growth startup investment differs so fundamentally from other equity investment disciplines. At its heart this is about the extremely risky nature of this investment that is matched by the scale of returns. Returns New Zealanders need for our future economic and social wellbeing.

Click here to download. Please forward your comments or questions you might have to me here.

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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.
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Apple robot up for angel investment

A Tauranga company is ready to take its apple packing robotics offshore and help remove the headache of finding staff to do mundane work.
The automated apple packing machines place apples in trays ‘‘colour up’’ with the stems aligned, using sensors, software and electromechanical technology, and are expected to remove some of the monotonous work that apple packhouses find difficult to staff.

View article

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Bay of Plenty angel investors facing challenges

Experienced American angel investor Brian Cohen has warned the New Zealand industry that the local capital cycle is stunted.

“You’re not in the investment business – you’re in the exit business,” he said, in comments delivered at the recent Angel Association of New Zealand annual Angel Summit. “Your job is to make money, stop being so nice.”

Bill Murphy, executive director of the Bay of Plenty’s Enterprise Angels, the country’s biggest angel group, said the warnings were well taken by the local industry.

“The most experienced investors in this space are getting more and more discerning about what they invest in and in ensuring everything is in place to make that investment a success,” he said.

“It’s getting more difficult to raise money for investment opportunities, which reflects that. But it’s also a reflection of where the industry is at here – we’ve only really had an angel community for the past decade or so, whereas they’ve been going for twice as long in the US and Europe.”

Mr Murphy said because so far there had been relatively few liquidity events from very early stage investments, it was not yet clear whether there was an additional challenge and risk for those investing in New Zealand companies, compared to the risks facing American or European investors operating in their home markets.

“In our case we invest in these companies and then we have to take them into the international market. And we’re just not sure how much risk that adds.”

Enterprise Angels provided a copy of remarks made by Mr Cohen – chairman of New York Angels, the world’s biggest angel network, who was one of the international keynote speakers at the summit.

Mr Cohen said New Zealand appeared to have a great angel ecosystem

“It’s full of enterprising people, there is a good level of government funding into universities, centres of excellence and crown research institutes producing great intellectual property,” he said.

“And ‘top of the pipe’ activity, including incubation and acceleration, seems very active – your entrepreneurs do more with less. They are working hard to succeed despite the gaps in your system.

“What’s missing, and crucial to your future as a globally attractive incubation nation, is the depth of capital to grow New Zealand companies to a size where they are attractive and competitive in international markets. Your capital life cycle is stunted.”

Mr Cohen told delegates at the event that they were responsible for this, and must get serious about fixing it. Promising companies which are being seeded and started would wither and die if they didn’t, he said.

Mr Murphy said the New Zealand Angel environment was dynamic, with a lot of investing going on.

“But there are still lessons to be learned about backing the best investment opportunities and then being able to take those companies them right through the cycle. The critical stage for all parties is the liquidity event.”

Anne Blakeway, investor relations manager for Enterprise Angels and its recently created online investor platform AngelEquity (see box), said the Mr Cohen’s comments aligned with those heard from founders and business angels.

“They need follow-on capital to address the market opportunities they are developing,” she said.

“If we don’t get more investment into them, by making it possible for more investors to get into this space, we’ll limit their chances of success. They’ll miss out, and so will New Zealand.”

First published NZ Herald – 11 Feb 2017

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New Zealand’s need for growth capital

As early stage investors we need to start getting real about the wisdom of our backing early stage, high growth ventures without far more consideration being given to where we source follow-on growth capital.

Even if we only look at last year’s New Zealand Venture Investment Fund’s seed co-investment data where about $50million was invested in early stage companies, the growth capital required for this cohort of companies is likely to be 10x this figure. So we are talking about finding $500m.

This is not just a problem for the investors in these companies; it’s a problem we need to grapple with in partnership with the government and the institutional investment community. These high growth companies are the engines of our economic growth. We can’t afford to drop the ball.

The development of an innovation led economy is widely accepted to take place over three ten-year horizons. We are coming to the end of ‘horizon one’ where the focus has been on inputs. New Zealand has done well here. The number of startups, early stage investors and dollars being invested has trended upwards over this period.

In the second ten-year horizon we should start to see outcomes from these innovation led companies in the form of jobs, export and tax revenue. But to generate these outcomes and see the true benefit of this investment, we need growth capital. Only then will the third horizon truly deliver in the form of financial returns and recycled capital and ultimately higher standards of living.

As I’ve just mentioned, there is no shortage of deal flow. The quality of that deal flow is improving every year too. This is in large part due to Government support for initiatives such as the Lightning Lab and the investor-led Tech Incubators. It is also a result of work others have done to upskill our entrepreneurs and angel investors.

To date, angels and other early stage investors have been able to fund the early growth of the companies meeting their criteria. We have been investing in startup, high growth ventures in a targeted sense for about 8 years but the really exponential upswing in investment has taken place in the last 3-4 years.

Quite logically, there is therefore an increasing and pressing need for growth capital in New Zealand.

This is illustrated in the recently released NZVIF data showing most investment is into existing deals. Angels are having the stay the course longer and dip back in their pockets for capital it could be argued should be coming from deeper more experienced pockets.

We need to give credit to those venture capital firms raising funds to meet the need for growth capital such as Movac’s Fund 4, the $40m fund GD1 is working hard to raise and the $40m fund raised by Oriens Capital. But it is not enough.

Closing the “growth capital gap” is going to need New Zealand’s pension and other institutional funds to broaden their investment mandates to allocate at least 3-5% to the growth needs of our high growth, early stage companies. We must support work Immigration NZ is doing to inject capital from experienced high network migrants into these companies. We need to tap into our rural and regional wealth more effectively. We have therefore been delighted to see angel networks forming in Taranaki and Marlborough reflecting an increasing awareness that high growth, tech based companies can be the source of future jobs and social and economic wealth in the regions. The banks also need to come to the party.

There is a great deal at stake here. We can’t afford “a hands off, market forces will deliver” approach. If ever a NZ Inc approach was needed, it is now.

Marcel Van Den Assum
Chairman
Angel Association New Zealand

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Amplifying NZ’s kotahitanga – working together for our people

One of THE best days I’ve had at work this year was the one I spent with fellow judges, Robin Hapi and Ian Taylor, talking to the finalists in the inaugural Maori Economy category of the HiTech Awards.

Without exception these finalists were not only great businesses – spanning startups to mature enterprises – they were also being run by talented, wonderful people.

What excited me though was how vividly clear it was that the values under pinning these businesses were shared by New Zealand’s angel investors.

As I said in my last post, we know angel investors join our networks for the following reasons:

  • To lift New Zealand higher – economically and socially;
  • To be actually involved in doing this – by contributing money, expertise and connections;
  • For the cool company – to be involved with like-minded, positive people; and
  • For the rich rewards – of course they hope for a financial return but the “psychic return” of doing good and contributing to lifting NZ higher is also a key reason why people become angels.

These values align with key values in Maori business such as:

  • Puawaitanga – the best possible return is sought on integrated goals, including but not just financial outcomes;
  • Kotahitanga – unity and a shared sense of belonging to work together for the benefit of your people;
  • Whanaungatanga – acknowledges the importance of networks and relationships, of developing, managing and sustaining relationships; and
  • Kaitiakitanga – which is about guardianship of natural resources but also extends to sustainable enterprise and taking care of assets as kaitiaki or guardians, the owners and trustees of an enterprise are responsible for protecting (and/or growing) resources for future generations.

The call for more Maori engagement in our rock star, high growth businesses and business people is getting louder. The New Zealand economy generally and the Maori economy specifically need more successful entrepreneurs. Did you know that all the net new job growth in an economy comes from new businesses?

Ian Taylor made the point during the day we spent with the finalists that our young people need more successful business role models. So true!!

Many of these budding role models and businesses would benefit from angel support. Providing capital is only a part of what angels provide. The money is just the fuel in the tank. Fuel in the tank means very little without skill behind the wheel and an experienced support crew. Experienced people who’ve been there before, who know who to talk to and where to source the best resources. And like driving a Formula One car, angel investment is not for the faint hearted. It’s a portfolio game with 90% of your returns coming from just 10% of your portfolio ventures.

More Maori engagement in early stage investment, will find the right time and place to come alive and gain momentum but the word is out now … New Zealand’s angel investment community is keen to do as much as it can possibly can to help.

Ends

 

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Help benchmark the NZ ecosystem globally

Maximising the success of New Zealand’s startup ecosystem, and the worldwide ecosystem on which we rely requires input from startups themselves.

If data isn’t collected then how do we know what’s working and what’s not? Where our ecosystem could do with more support and where its doing quite well under its own steam. This is why the AANZ is supporting distribution and participation in the 2016 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (#GSER).

The GSER will include insights from more than 20k executives across the globe which will deliver leaders of all kinds; investors, government and support service providers; with an in-depth understanding of how to best attract, accelerate, and sustain startups.

Conducted by Startup Genome (formerly Compass Research), the report also gives startups themselves a benchmark to measure how they stack up to others across the globe.

By completing this survey founders will enable NZ’s leaders to:
• Assess and benchmark the NZ startup ecosystem across 50+ key metrics
• Accelerate the pace with which NZ ecosystem leaders reach consensus on key issues and develop action plans for change
• Attract a greater share of global resources to our region
• Empower startups everywhere to use data in decisions around raising funds, locating an office, and recruiting top talent
.

The 2015 Global Startup Ecosystem Report helped millions of local leaders globally reach consensus on specific challenges and drive action to improve their ecosystems.

By participating in the 2016 Survey, you will help New Zealand voice to be heard among the voices of entrepreneurs globally and accelerate the global startup ecosystem for hundreds of New Zealand’s entrepreneur’s locally and millions of entrepreneurs worldwide.

*All the information you provide in the survey is confidential. Results are published in aggregate values only.*

To participate in the survey click here and share the link with the founders in your ecosystem.

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Lead Partners

NZTE NZVIF

Expert Partner

NZX AVID AJ Park KPMG

AANZ Summit Sponsors

Calaghan Innovation Venture|360 Kiwinet Vodafone