Orion hires US sales star as CEO shows no sign of switching roles

Health software exporter Orion Health is banking on the appointment of a new sales head to put a spring back in its step.
That follows a profit warning and a 25 per cent slide in its share price last week.
Teri Thomas was a vice president at United States rival Epic Systems until she stepped down a year ago.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

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.
Please follow and like us:

Upside Biotechnologies raises $2.3 mln in funding round

Upside Biotechnologies, a regenerative medicine start-up, said it has successfully raised $2.3 million in its Series A funding round.
The Auckland-based company is developing an advanced, world-class skin replacement treatment for patients suffering major burns. The capital raised will be used to complete development of the product, demonstrate proof of concept, ready the product for its first human trial and forge links and explore market opportunities in the US, chief executive Robert Feldman said in a statement.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

CropLogic prepares for ASX listing

CropLogic, a Christchurch-based developer of technology, allows farmers to more accurately control inputs such as fertiliser and water by modelling plant growth by gathering field data and making crop prescriptions and management recommendations. The company has already raised just over $1 million including $512,000 via crowdfunding platform Equitise, plans to raise AUD$3 million in an initial public offering and list on the ASX.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

Rocket Lab’s value shoots past US$1b after capital raise

The value of Kiwi satellite launch company Rocket Lab has rocketed past US$1 billion (NZ$1.42b).

The company said on Wednesday it had secured another $105m of investment following a funding round by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Data Collective.

Sir Stephen Tindall’s K1W1 investment firm, as well as Promus Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Khosla Ventures all invested, bringing total investment in the company to $210m.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

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

Please follow and like us:

Global Survey Rates NZ Start-up Ecosystem

New Zealand start-ups have the highest percentage of offshore customers when measured against their counterparts from 50 other ecosystems including New York, Moscow, Beijing and London.

For the first time over 100 kiwi start-ups have taken part in the Compass Start-up Genome’s Ecosystem Ranking Survey. The Compass Start-up Genome project team is based in San Francisco and benchmarks start-up ecosystems from around the world.

The 2016 survey results have just been released at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Commenting on New Zealand’s performance AANZ Chair, Marcel van den Assum said he was pleased to see “NZ Inc” on the world map.

“Start-up eco-system inputs such as volume of deals, number of angel investors and investment levels have grown consistently, and position New Zealand as a highly credible performer on a per capita basis,” said Mr van den Assum.

“I am particularly pleased to see our founders and start-ups leading the charge when it comes to engaging globally. To generate the level of value we hope our start-ups will deliver for New Zealand and their shareholders, we have to think and sell globally from day one. And our companies obviously are.”

New Zealand start-ups also ranked among the highest, at 5th, when it comes to positively interacting with corporates.

“The extent to which our companies are garnering interest from corporates bodes well for their success. New businesses need customers and investment and corporates are a great source of both,” said van den Assum.

Another important insight revealed by the survey is New Zealand entrepreneurs’ lack of experience. Less than half of our start-up growth teams have had more than two years previous entrepreneurial experience.

While this concerning, Mr van den Assum said this finding should provide a high degree of confidence to those supporting the growth and professional development of founders and start-ups.

“The challenge for New Zealand is to apply higher levels of capability, capital and connections to those businesses that have real potential to scale and deliver a return on investment to all eco-system participants. This is fundamental to longer-term sustainability. Those running start-up weekends, government incubation and accelerator programmes and the Seed Co-Investment Fund now have a clear evidence that these programmes are vital and much needed,” he said.

The survey was led by the Angel Association NZ and carried out with support from NZX, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment and Callaghan Innovation.

“Lifting and supporting our high growth tech companies requires a NZ Inc approach so we are pleased that acquiring this data reflected that,” said Mr van den Assum.

 

For more information, please contact:

Suse Reynolds, AANZ executive director
mob: 021 490 974 or email: [email protected]

Marcel van den Assum, AANZ chair and 2015 Arch Angel
mob: 021 963 459 or email: [email protected]

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

The Compass Start-up Genome

The Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking is the definitive resource for founders, investors and other leaders to understand entrepreneurial vibrancy in 50+ leading cities. It was been published at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa last week in front of policymakers from 160+ countries. It will be read by approximately 500,000 people (25% founders, 25% investors, 25% policy makers, 25% other). A full copy of the report can be found at  https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/52927-startup-ecosystem-report-2017?locale=en

New Zealand Venture Investment Fund

The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund invests with venture capital funds and alongside angel investors to support New Zealand technology companies with start-up and growth capital. The NZVIF was established by the New Zealand government in 2002 to build a vibrant early stage investment market in New Zealand. We have $300 million of funds under management which are invested through two vehicles: the $250 million Venture Capital Fund of funds and the $50 million Seed Co-investment Fund. All our investments are made either through privately managed venture capital funds, or alongside experienced angel investors, who we partner with to invest into New Zealand-originated, high-growth potential companies.

Callaghan Innovation

Callaghan Innovation is the government’s business innovation agency. Its purpose is to grow New Zealand’s economy by helping businesses succeed through technology. It delivers innovation services to businesses and build New Zealand’s innovation capability, including supporting a network of incubators and accelerators across New Zealand. It also provides technical and scientific expertise, impartial advice, skills development, access to industry networks, and grant funding. www.callaghaninnovation.govt.nz

 

 

Please follow and like us:

Wellington company Eight Wire wins contract to build government data-sharing platform

A Wellington start-up company has won a major contract to roll out a system that will share personal details of New Zealanders on a large scale.
Eight Wire secured a five-year contract to build a data exchange platform that will allow government agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to exchange information.
The firm will work with the social investment unit, which was set up to provide evidence-based information to agencies to help inform their investment plans. Prime Minister Bill English was instrumental in the establishment of the unit when he was Finance Minister.
Please follow and like us:

NZ start-ups strong in foreign markets, survey shows

New Zealand start-ups have the highest percentage of overseas customers when measured against their counterparts from 50 other “ecosystems” including New York, Moscow, Beijing and London, according to the Compass Start-up Genome’s Ecosystem Ranking Survey.

The Compass Start-up Genome project team is based in San Francisco and benchmarks so-called start-up ecosystems from around the world. More than 100 Kiwi start-ups took part in the 2016 survey, according to the Angel Association of NZ. In New Zealand, the survey was led by the Angel Association with support from NZX, NZ Trade and Enterprise, the NZ Venture Investment Fund, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Callaghan Innovation.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

More money for entrepreneurial women

A government-backed investment fund has gone into partnership with ArcAngels, a group of private individuals focused on investing in female-led business start-ups.
The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) will invest dollar for dollar alongside ArcAngels through its Seed Co-Investment Fund (SCIF).
ArcAngels chairwoman Cecilia Tarrant, a director of Fletcher Building and former Morgan Stanley managing director, said it approached NZVIF to form the partnership on the back of other relationships the fund already had with angel networks around the country.
Tarrant said the deal means it would have access to more capital than the size of its membership suggested.
“That makes us more attractive for entrepreneurs.”
ArcAngels was launched in 2014 and has around 30 members although Tarrant said it hoped that would grow to around 40 by mid-year.
So far it has invested $1.6 million in eight transactions including into Pictor, Fuel 50, Acuite and Engender.
Tarrant said with the NZVIF partnership it would hope to increase its investments to around 10 per year both through new companies and follow-up investments.
NZVIF investment director Bridget Unsworth said the ArcAngel partnership was the 17th it had entered into through its SCIF.
To date NZVIF and its angel partners had co-invested around $142m into more than 150 companies.
Unsworth said the ArcAngel partnership would double the capital available to companies.
“The past year has seen continued healthy investment activity across New Zealand with more than $60 million invested by angel funds and groups.
“There is a healthy level of syndication of investments among different angel groups meaning they are likely to invest in opportunities throughout New Zealand. Early stage investing is a high-risk investment class and so diversification is important.”
Tarrant said around one-third of start-up companies in New Zealand were led by women or had a major female component but the number of female-led companies which attracted investment was lower.
At the same time the number of women angel investors was also lower.
Tarrant said the group hoped to replicate the success of the New York-based, women-led angel group, Golden Seeds, which has invested more than US$80m ($114m) in more than 76 women-led companies.
“Our principal aim is to make successful investments. But we also want to empower more women entrepreneurs, strengthen their competitiveness and maximise the success of New Zealand’s small business engine for greater economic growth in the long term.
“Many of our members are experienced angel investors with the capacity and capability to be able to provide mentoring and ongoing support to the female-led ventures the group invests into.”
Please follow and like us:

Robotic apple packing developed by NZ company Robotics Plus ready to go offshore

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.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

CropLogic hires Novus Capital for A$3M IPO prior to ASX list

CropLogic, a Christchurch-based developer of technology that allows farmers to more accurately control inputs such as fertiliser and water, plans to raise A$3 million in an initial public offering and list on the ASX.

The company, which has already raised just over $1 million including $512,000 via crowdfunding platform Equitise, says it hired Sydney-based Novus Capital to lead manage the IPO. CropLogic’s biggest shareholder is Christchurch-based, ASX-listed technology incubator Powerhouse Ventures, with about 43 percent, while government-owned NZVIF Investment holds about 17 percent.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

Tech innovators pitch their wares at agribusiness showcase

Agritech innovators bathed in the spotlight at the latest Agribusiness Showcase near Palmerston North as they pitched their wares to investors looking for the next best and most profitable thing.

The occasion marked the fourth year of the showcase, sponsored by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the ASB, this year with a focus on 12 companies working on environmental and precision technologies.

“These companies show tenacity and courage, it’s been quite inspirational to work with them,” said NZTE investment leader Quentin Quin.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

Bay of Plenty investors take control of Rockit apple company

An argument over the ownership of the high-profile company responsible for producing the miniature Rockit apples has been resolved, with Bay of Plenty-based Oriens Capital and Auckland’s Pioneer Capital buying out company founder Phil Alison.
The Havelock North Fruit Company had been producing the apples, which are marketed in plastic tubes as a high quality snack food in New Zealand and internationally.
Mr Alison, who controlled a 49.5 per cent share of the company, originally wanted to buy out the remaining shareholders, which included a number of prominent Bay of Plenty investors. The disagreement went to the High Court last year after the parties failed to agree on price.
However, the company announced yesterday that an agreement had been reached by the shareholders under which the two experienced private equity companies would acquire all of Mr Alison’s shareholding. The transaction was also significant in being the first investment by Oriens Capital, the regions-focused Tauranga private equity firm launched last year.
Mr Alison has sold all his Rockit-related interests and would no longer be involved with the company, its subsidiaries, or related orchard suppliers of fruit.
Effective immediately, the company would begin trading as Rockit Global Ltd. Acting chief executive Austin Mortimer has been appointed chief executive of Rockit Global.
Chairman John Loughlin said the value of the transaction remained confidential.
Rockit snacks were now grown in seven countries and sold through partners in 22 countries, he said. In 2016, the company exported 77 containers of fruit and earned its maiden profit.
“With only 3 per cent of Rockit apple snacks sold in New Zealand, our sales and marketing focus is on key international markets,” Mr Loughlin said.
“We have strong growth plans for 2017 and the years ahead. The new shareholders have experience in growing New Zealand export businesses. They will contribute governance expertise and additional capital to help the company deliver on its ambitious growth plans.”
The Rockit Global board will include four members of the previous board – Mr Loughlin, plus well-known Tauranga investors Murray Denyer, Steve Saunders and Neil Craig. They would be joined by Oriens Capital chief executive James Beale and Pioneer Capital investment director Craig Styris.
Mr Loughlin said Mr Alison had made a huge contribution in recognising the potential of the fruit, then establishing and leading the business toward building the Rockit global brand.
“We will always be greatly appreciative of the work he put in to creating the international platform for the business,” he said.
Mr Denyer, a partner with Cooney Lees Morgan, Steve Saunders, founder of the Plus Group, and Neil Craig, founder of Craigs Investment Partners, are all Tauranga members of the Bay of Plenty’s Enterprise Angels start-up funding group.
“This is a major milestone for us,” said Mr Denyer.
“Bringing Pioneer and Oriens Capital into the business strengthens our share register enormously, and gives us access to their business expertise and experience,” he said.
“It’s also a success story for Enterprise Angels. Steve, Neil, John McDonald and myself all invested into this business back in 2011 when the founder first sought to raise capital. We’ve worked very hard to get the business to where it is today – to a point where it has gained the attention of and attracted investment from private equity players. It has graduated out of the angel investment space – something that few start-ups ever manage.”
Mr Mortimer described Rockit as significant New Zealand success story.
“It clearly demonstrates how high-quality fruit can be positioned as a premium, value-added product through a robust brand strategy. Rockit Global is now well-positioned to continue its rapid growth and capitalise on the substantial grab and go, healthy snack market.”
Rockit Global
– Rockit are miniature apples (1.5 x the size of a golf ball) with a sweet flavour, thin skin, and distinctive bright red blush.
– North Havelock Fruit Company worked with Plant & Food Research, together with Hawke’s Bay company Prevar, to develop the apple.
– Rockit Global now has the exclusive international licence to grow and market the PremA96 apple variety.
Please follow and like us:

NZ early stage investors have eye on global prize

Entrepreneurs are being encouraged to chase global markets if they want to win backing for their early stage ventures, with investors having their eye firmly set on international markets with little regard for domestic sales.

Massey University Master of Management student Hattaf Ansari worked with the university’s start-up incubator – the ecentre – to investigate the criteria of investors in early stage ventures in New Zealand and compared that with similar US data.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

New Zealand Mergers and Acquisitions – Trends and Insights

Chapman Tripp Corporate and Commercial News
Mergers & acquisitions volumes are holding up both internationally and in New Zealand despite an unexpected period of geopolitical and economic volatility, according to our annual Mergers & Acquisitions – trends and insights report released today.
Expected M&A trends in 2017:
 *   A gap between the number of cashed-up investors and the availability of good quality New Zealand assets will see a sellers’ market in 2017, resulting in strong price expectations, but without a return to the irrational exuberance of 2007
*   Robust private equity (PE) interest driven by cashed up PE firms on both sides of the Tasman
*   An improved Overseas Investment Act consent process will result in less competitive advantage for domestic buyers in contested transactions as shorter timeframes reduce the regulatory hurdle of gaining Overseas Investment Office (OIO) consent
*   Iwi will be more active dealmakers as they look to diversify their investments, and
*   A slow-down in activity as the New Zealand general election, scheduled for 23 September, nears, with a potential burst of post-election activity to follow.
Please follow and like us:

Exiting the Exit

Below please find a guest column that Nino Marakovic and Elizabeth Clarkson contributed to Fortune Term Sheet, in which they debate what makes for a better exit — an IPO or acquisition?

Everyone in the venture-backed technology industry — entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and limited partners — can probably agree that a healthy exit market is critical. Without sufficient exits, there would be a liquidity gap, which would negatively impact everyone. Yet not all “successful exits” affect all the players in the venture world the same way. Accordingly, there are different views on the best path to liquidity.

Take IPOs. They’ve historically generated amazing returns for employees and investors — more than M&A exits.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

More money, more problems – Kiwi craft beer growing pains

What happens when your hobby and passion become your business? And what happens when business booms?

The incredible growth of craft beer in the past decade has created a difficult dilemma for many of the nation’s craft brewers, who suddenly find themselves running multimillion-dollar operations.

The craft beer boom has transformed the industry.

Statistics released today show total beer consumption is growing again for the first time in years.

The high alcohol category – which tends to reflect the craft beer end of the market – has doubled in the past five years and rose 17 per cent last year.

But some breweries have been growing much faster.

Take a look at the Deloitte Fast 50 index – which tracks New Zealand’s fastest growing companies.

Panhead – which has been snapped up by Lion for $25 million – was fourth on that list in 2016 with revenue growth of 925 per cent.

Tuatara, which was purchased early this month by DB for an undisclosed sum, made the list for three years in a row from 2009 to 2011.

In 2015 Garage Project topped the list with 664 per cent growth and fellow Wellington brewer ParrotDog saw 263 per cent growth that year.

It’s reminiscent of the tech boom – although beer brewing is one of the oldest of industries.

It also has much more onerous capital requirements. And relatively low margins.

“It is very difficult,” says Tuatara founder and brewer Carl Vasta. “Especially if you are doing it yourself. You run out of stainless steel tanks pretty quickly.”

“When you are producing a high quality beer that requires expensive ingredients, it’s not just the hardware, if you’ve got to buy a million worth of hops for next season and you have to pay for that today.”

Vasta made headlines this month with the sale to DB, a move that will have disappointed some purist independent craft beer fanatics.

“We looked at a few options,” says Vasta, who will stay on with Tuatara and is excited about putting his focus back on the beer making.

Those included crowd-funding, more private equity (Tuatara already had some investment from PE fund Rangatira) and even a stock market listing.

“We talked about it with the private equity company when they came in. That we could grow the business and then look at listing.”

But after doing some research, he decided the costs of listing were too daunting.

“We’d still have been running the company too … so if we were looking for help in running the company then listing didn’t really help.”

The corporate side of the business, let alone private equity, exit strategies and the rest doesn’t sit naturally with many brewers.

It is an industry that has been built largely on passionate beer lovers scaling up their home brew operations.

Matt Stevens at ParrotDog – which completed New Zealand’s most successful crowdfunding round last year – was a chartered accountant in his previous life.

But despite some experience on the financial side, he says he has never really considered what the exit strategy might be.

“We get asked all the time and none of us really have any idea what the end game looks like,” he says. “We’re just passionate about being in the moment. We get to turn up to work with our mates every day and make beer … which is one of the funnest industries to be in.”

Growth was initially debt funded by the founding shareholders, but they were keen to leverage their popularity and needed a new, bigger brewery.

“A large buyout was not really something we were interested in, stock exchange was too big … so it [crowdfunding] was kind of between.”

ParrotDog raised the maximum legal amount for a crowdfunding initiative, $2 million, in just 48 hours last August.

It is one of three breweries to go down this path, including Yeastie Boys and Renaissance.

The success of the crowdfunding round “was a flattering affirmation”, Stevens says.

But it did mean that ParrotDog suddenly gained 792 new shareholders. It now runs its own share register, including a platform to facilitate share transactions.

ParrotDog went to the public with a nominal valuation of just under$10 million. That was based on an earnings multiple they felt was in the middle of the range for comparable businesses.

But that valuation might have been squeezed down by the market if it had been a full public offer, he says.

As it turned out, the strong demand meant they achieved a post-crowdfunding valuation of more than $11 million, even though shareholders were offered no prospect of dividends in the immediate future.

Vasta’s not sure how much weight investors were putting on that valuation anyway.

“I like to think they all understood what they were buying but if you had the institutions scrutinising you, you just need that much more data about the business which is just more work than we wanted to go through … less time making beer.”

That beer-first philosophy is very much shared by Garage Project’s Jos Ruffell.

Despite huge demand for its beers, which regularly sell out, Ruffell says he has resisted the temptation to dramatically expand production.

“We’ve had times where we’ve expanded and we’ve known that the expansion is not enough to sate the demand,” he says. “When you are doubling and quadrupling in size, to say ‘we need to go tenfold’ is a pretty scary proposition.”

Chasing volume has never been a focus, he says. Instead, Garage Project produces a huge variety of experimental beers.

It started out with just a 50 litre brewing system and produced 24 different beers in 24 weeks.

Those beers were a hit and proved there was a business model, says Ruffell.

So they did an angel investment round which included friends, family and some mentors who had been advising them.

Garage Project has since produced hundreds of beer varieties and has been able to fund further expansion with operating earnings, including a big move, just underway, to start producing at a new brewery in the Hawke’s Bay.

Even that expansion is about creating the opportunity to do more experimental things, Ruffell says.

“Then if our customers respond to that, it creates a virtuous cycle and allows us to grow,” he says. “We have beers that have become very popular and the traditional wisdom would be for us to devote 60 or 70 per cent of our capacity to them. But we’re not willing to do that, we want to keep doing the things that people love about us.”

But the fiercely independent approach doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of ambition for the business.

Ruffell cites family business Whittaker’s (whose chocolate Garage Project uses for some of its specialty beers) as a role model for the kind of business he’d like to create.

Eventually, a stock market listing could potentially be an exciting path to take, but that is a long way off, he says.

“If we got to a point where our fans and drinkers could come along for the ride, that would be really rewarding.”

For now, though, New Zealand has just one publically listed brewer – Moa.

Chief executive Geoff Ross is a share market veteran, having successfully listed and sold vodka company 42 Below last decade.

“Years ago, both Lion and DB were listed here in NZ … now we’re the only opportunity for local investors,” he says.

He can see why market listing is daunting to many brewers.

“There are pros and cons. There is access to capital. But the cons are a huge amount of compliance and a market which doesn’t like variability and change. When you are in a growth business it’s never a straight line.”

Ross says he’d like to see the New Zealand stock market more open to growth companies.

But he’s not sure the problem lies with the market itself. The challenge is with the broking and advisory community, he says.

“The KiwiSaver and a lot of the bigger funds just don’t look at early stage or high growth businesses. I think it should be a component, even just 5 per cent. I think it should be more than that.”

Ross says being listed works for Moa because it has big aspirations. It is seeking to challenge the distribution stranglehold Lion and DB have on the market.

“So we don’t have a plan to exit now. We have a horizon which is much greater than that.”

He can foresee a time when Moa will look to acquire smaller, more specialist beer brands to leverage its distribution network. He already has a distribution partnership with ParrotDog.

He remains upbeat about the outlook for the craft beer sector even though he can see risks of “gold rush fever” setting in.

“There will be a bit of a shakeout. There’s a lot of brands but there is a lot of growth … the next two to three years will see some consolidation for sure.”

There will eventually be two tiers of brands, he says.

“There will be those that have made a conscious step to capitalise and get capacity and scale up … and those who have chosen a more organic path.”

And you could argue that depending on your aspirations, either route is a good one to take.

Clarification

Garage Project will be the foundation brewer in the new bStudio brewery in Napier. It is not building the brewey itself.

First published – NZ Herald 26 Feb 2016

Please follow and like us:

I Slept With 65 VCs and Learned These Things

Our first suitor called us in the spring. They offered to pay for coffee. It was our first date. I had butterflies in my stomach. They promised they’d done this before and that I shouldn’t be nervous.

I could tell they were experienced. Their smile was soothing.

They looked me in the eyes. They wanted our pitch deck. “Do you use protection?” I asked. “No.” I knew it was dangerous doing it without protection. But it was so tempting. I was excited. I wanted to get in their portfolio. I couldn’t resist. So I took a deep breath and slipped the deck in. “Is it in yet?” I felt naked. I didn’t care. Maybe this was the one, I thought. Maybe they’ll actually call me back after this meeting. Maybe they’ll invest.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

Unicorn Investors: The Top 5 Firms With the Best Record

Unicorn. Few words are as celebrated in the tech world — and few, as hated.

Coined in 2013 by Aileen Lee to describe a private company valued at over $1 billion, unicorn — much like its relatives “growth hacking,” “deep dive” and “making the world a better place” — began with the best of intentions …only to wind up where roads paved that way tend to go.

While no one can deny the unicorn’s past supremacy, a growing minority has begun hailing its “extinction,” and in its place, the rise of the “cockroach.” Dropping IPOs, rumors of tech’s next “burst,” and, of course, good old-fashioned hype all threaten the unicorn’s existence.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

Caldera founder Jim Watson loses cancer battle

Jim Watson, whose personal battle with prostate cancer led him to co-found Caldera Health, has succumbed to the disease but investors are showing confidence in the company’s gene testing technology by converting options into shares.

Watson, who had been a scientific and management adviser up until the end of 2016, died on Feb. 13, Caldera’s chief executive Rob Mitchell has confirmed. Watson co-founded the company with Richard Foster, who had also been diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer and died in January 2014.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

First rocket ready to rumble

Rocket Lab’s first Electron vehicle has arrived at its launch site south of Gisborne in what the New Zealand company says is an important milestone for the space industry.

The historic test launch will take place in ”the coming months”, dependent on equipment testing and weather on the Mahia Peninsula.

Pre-flight checks would now start on the 17m tall rocket – with a call sign chosen by staff: ”It’s a Test.”

Read more

Please follow and like us:

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

Please follow and like us:

24 Hours With….. CEO and angel investor, Bilyana Smith

6:00AM: The day starts with Sasha, our fluffy and enthusiastic border collie jumping on my bed, wide awake and eager for a walk. Every morning, for one hour, seven days a week, regardless of the weather, non-negotiable. I am not a natural early bird, so after four years of endurance, this habit has become a badge of honour.

We skip down 50 steps and a winding path through the reserve to Cremorne Point, along the waterfront, passing the wharf. The first ferry is arriving from Circular Quay. Otherwise it is still and peaceful, with the shimmering city skyline across the harbour. Beautiful and always changing, I never get bored with it. Uninterrupted and without distractions, I let the mind wander.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

Callaghan Innovation Stakeholder Advisory Group reappointments

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith has today announced the reappointment of Claire Robinson, Brett Hewlett, and Suse Reynolds to the Callaghan Innovation Stakeholder Advisory Group.

“The reappointment of Ms Robinson, Mr Hewlett, and Ms Reynolds recognises the valuable skills and insights they all contribute to the advisory group, as well as their work to ensure that Callaghan is connected and engaged with its stakeholders,” says Mr Goldsmith.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

A leading VC partner explains what’s missing from Australia’s tech startup scene

It’s been just over 100 days since I relocated back to Australia to join the incredible gang at Airtree Ventures.

I had previously worked with the London-based Summly until our acquisition by Yahoo (California based), and then as a venture investor at White Star Capital (New York and London based). As a result of these experiences, I was privileged to have an insider view on the growth of the London and New York tech communities.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

Datagate gets capital for North American push

AUCKLAND. New Zealand cloud software start-up Datagate Innovation Limited has raised more than $1m in capital as it gears up to hire salespeople and start selling into the North American market.

For customers including a network of Spark resellers and one of New Zealand’s largest IT services companies, Datagate’s cloud billing solution provides online billing, reporting and customer self-service for usage-based services.

Datagate has raised $1,042,794 from new and existing investors, more than double its $500,000 target. The capital raise was originally a rights issue for existing investors, but strong interest saw Datagate extend the issue to include new investors, says CEO Mark Loveys.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

Phitek sold to NYSE-listed Amphenol in $60M deal

Phitek Systems, which supplies noise cancellation and audio enhancement equipment, has been sold to New York-listed Amphenol Corp for $60 million before adjustments.

Connecticut-based Amphenol announced the deal in a statement to the New York Stock Exchange when reporting its fourth-quarter earnings, saying the Phitek purchase was part of a broader acquisition programme, without disclosing a price. However, local filings to the Companies Office show Amphenol agreed to pay $60 million plus net cash, minus the New Zealand company’s indebtedness, the levels of which have not been disclosed.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

Wool a way forward in filter technology

Not-so woolly thinking has gone into developing technology touted as having the ability to improve global health.

Auckland-based Texus Fibre recently signed an investment and distribution agreement with another Auckland company, Healthy Breath Ltd, which would have the wool-based Helix Filter from Texus used in a new generation of urban masks marketed to Asian consumers.

Specifically-bred sheep, developed by Wanaka man Andy Ramsden, would be used to provide the wool.

Read more

Please follow and like us:

Lead Partners

NZTE NZVIF PWC

Expert Partner

AVID “FNZC.jpg”

AANZ Summit Sponsors

Callaghan Innovation “UniServices” Kiwinet “Spark”