Facebook billionaire NZ citizen, owns Wanaka property

Controversial American billionaire, Trump donor and venture capitalist Peter Thiel has taken New Zealand citizenship and quietly acquired a Wanaka lakefront estate.

Property records show that Mr Thiels’ New Zealand-registered company Second Star bought a 193ha Glendhu Bay farm in 2015 described as a vacant lifestyle block.

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NZ mission to the moon ready for blast off

New Zealand is ready to join the space race, with Kiwi start-up Rocket Lab on the brink of launching a rocket to the moon.

After signing a partnership with United States outfit Moon Express in 2015 on a deal to send three rockets to the moon, Peter Beck – who founded Rocket Lab in 2006, said the last major technical questions had now been answered.

Beck said the ambitious project was almost ready to go and test launches were slated for the coming months from the Mahia Peninsula, on the east coast of the North Island between Napier and Gisborne.

“We recently qualified the first stage of the vehicle – this was the last major technical milestone ahead of the first test flight. We’re currently completing various final checks and working through international launch licensing,” Beck told the Herald from the US, where he is on a routine working visit meeting customers and other industry professionals.

“Rocket Lab has three test launches planned in the coming months followed by several commercial missions – Moon Express is not the first commercial mission. We’ll be making further announcements about this once the test flight phase is complete.

“Dates of the commercial launches will be announced following the completion of the test flight programme.”

Moon Express, a Silicone Valley-backed company which has completed a $28 million funding drive, wants to mine valuable resources on the moon, where it is believed there could be trillions of dollars-worth of precious metals and gases.

The San Francisco outfit is also chasing the extremely lucrative Google Lunar XPRIZE – a competition to land a privately funded spacecraft on the moon, travel 500 metres and transmit high-definition video and images back to Earth.

The competition involves 16 teams from all over the world battling for a $40 million prize purse.

“Moon Express have achieved several significant milestones in the last year. Notably, they have gained permission to be the first private company to travel beyond Earth’s orbit – this enables them, and others, to focus on space exploration – particularly of the moon, asteroids and Mars,” he said.

“Our team is heavily focused on the test flight programme – we have a comprehensive qualification process that each vehicle goes through ahead of a launch. Once that is complete, we’ll look to moving the first vehicle down to Mahia for the test flight.

“It’s certainly an exciting time for not only Rocket Lab but also the growing New Zealand space industry.”

FLY ME TO THE MOON:

• The moon is 384,403km from Earth.
• Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket has a range of 500,000km.
• Electron costs $6.8m.
• The components of Electron’s engine are all 3D printed.
• The world-first, battery-powered rocket engine is named the “Rutherford” engine – named after iconic Kiwi physicist Ernest Rutherford.

First published NZ Herald – 19th January 2017

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More Than Money: How the Right Investor Can Add Lasting Value to Your Startup

In the third quarter of 2016, nearly $600 million was invested in 45 digital health startups alone. That’s a lot of dough, but money isn’t the only necessary ingredient when it comes to cooking up a successful startup.
Entrepreneurs from Nigeria to Palo Alto dream of welcoming top angel investors and world-class venture capitalists to their cap tables. But an investor should represent more than an overflowing purse.

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Postr raises $3 million from NZVIF

Jan. 17 (BusinessDesk) – Postr Media, an ad-tech company which has contracts with Skinny Mobile and Optus in Australia, has raised $3 million from investors including the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund in its first significant raising.

The company builds branded white-label apps, where users hire out their Android lock screens for advertising in return for mobile data or airtime from major mobile carriers. In 2016, it created Skinny’s first white-label app, Skinny Collect, and developed an app for pre-paid Optus customers. There have been more than 60,000 downloads of Postr’s Skinny Collect app and its own direct-to-consumer app, the company says.

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McKenzie to drive new VC fund

This year is shaping as the year women become a part of the mainstream in the venture capital industry. There are two aspects to this – the number of female investors is increasing, and the number of companies they invest in that are founded by women is growing.

It’s a double whammy.

There is a good reason for this, says Laura McKenzie, CEO at Scale Investors, a female focused angel investor network. Ms McKenzie will speak at the InnovationAus.com Women in VC event in Sydney on 23 February.

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UK Department for International Trade launches gamified pitching event Startup Games in Sydney

Looking to uncover the most outstanding startups across Australia and New Zealand, the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) will be hosting Australia’s first Startup Games in Sydney on February 28.

Having emerged through the UK DIT’s Global Entrepreneur Programme, the event will reward one early-stage business with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the UK’s startup ecosystem.

Honouring its name, the event gamifies the pitching process by having investors award participants virtual seed capital using the Startup Games app as the contestants pitch.

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New York Has Opportunities for Tech Investors

Investors are taking note: New York City is in an unofficial race to become the new Silicon Valley of tech startups.

The state’s tax policies allow new businesses to operate tax-free for 10 years. Investors who want to give seed money to New York businesses are able to observe start-ups through the city’s many incubators, which foster business growth. Larger tech companies are creating strong pools of tech talent, while the city’s wonderland of activities lend themselves toward enticing the younger workforce.

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New Zealand’s biomedical sector to benefit from Australian Government initiative to make Australia a global leader in life science research commercialisation

Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) creates fourth and largest fund
Wellington, 15th December, 2016 – The Australian Government’s launch of the AUD$500 million Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF) this week, an initiative to make Australia a global leader in the commercialisation of biomedical discoveries, will benefit New Zealand’s biomedical sector, says Dr Chris Nave, Managing Director of venture capital firm, Brandon Capital.
The BTF is a pool of public and private capital which will be managed by three venture capital fund managers who were announced this week. Brandon Capital has been allocated to manage the largest fund of AUD$230 million comprising AUD$115 million from the Commonwealth government matched with AUD$115 million from private investors.

The new fund, the MRCF BTF, is the fourth and largest investment fund of the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF). Brandon Capital manages the MRCF, a unique collaboration between over 50 of New Zealand’s and Australia’s leading medical research institutes and research hospitals. These organisations contribute biomedical investment opportunities to MRCF funds as well as their expertise to support the development of these discoveries.

In April this year New Zealand joined the MRCF, enabling New Zealand research organisations to become members of the fund and seek investment support for emerging technologies from the third MRCF fund, MRCF3, an AU$200 million fund. Currently six New Zealand research institutes are members of the MRCF*.

“This is a bold and visionary initiative by the Australian Government to ensure Australia reaps the benefits from our world-class medical research,” says Dr Chris Nave, who is also Principal Executive of the MRCF.
“On all measures, Australia and New Zealand produce some of the world’s leading biomedical research, but unfortunately, too often, we see promising discoveries leave our shores early in development, with little value returned. The size of the MRCF BTF provides the opportunity for these technologies to be developed to much later stages in Australia, and in some cases through to the market and importantly patients, retaining greater value and leading to the creation of new jobs and income. The BTF program will be transformative for local industry, providing the ability for research discoveries to be developed from concept to commercialisation in Australia.”

While New Zealand member institutes will not be able to participate in the MRCF BTF, the new fund significantly deepens the pool of investment capital under management by the MRCF, with the advantages that brings to all members. Promising early stage medical discoveries from New Zealand member institutes can continue to seek investment from MRCF3 and follow-on funding.

Duncan Mackintosh, Brandon Capital New Zealand’s Investment Manager says the new fund means there is now AUD$430 million investment capital available for promising biomedical research, giving the MRCF real scale. “The MRCF is the largest life science investment fund in Australia and New Zealand by quite some margin. We are now competing at a global level and this will benefit our New Zealand investments by getting them greater attention internationally. It will also help us to attract offshore capital for New Zealand discoveries, attention from strategic partners and will mean we can attract and retain talent to run New Zealand investment companies.”

The BTF will see $250 million of Commonwealth government funding matched with private sector capital, creating $500 million for investments in companies with medical research projects at advanced pre-clinical, Phase I and Phase II stages of development.

The MRCF BTF private investors include CSL Limited, Australia’s largest and most successful biotechnology company, and the leading superannuation funds, AustralianSuper, Hesta, Statewide and HostPlus.

Brandon Capital is ranked as one of Australia’s top performing venture capital firms**. MRCF BTF will focus on supporting later stage opportunities, with the MRCF3 continuing to seed promising early-stage discoveries.

CSL Limited will be the only biopharmaceutical investor in the fund and will provide both investment capital and later-stage development and commercialisation expertise.
“CSL is a strong supporter of the need for a greater focus on translational research in Australia. The opportunity for the BTF to support the development of promising discoveries, onshore, is very exciting,” says Dr Andrew Cuthbertson, Head of Research and Development, CSL.

“The MRCF-BTF will not only have access to the pipeline of opportunities and capabilities of its member medical research organisations, it will also have access to the global medical research development capability and expertise of CSL,” says Dr Stephen Thompson, co-Managing Director at Brandon Capital.

It is anticipated the MRCF BTF will begin making its first investments in early 2017.

*New Zealand MRCF members: Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, University of Auckland; Institute for Innovation in Biotech, University of Auckland; Brain Health Research Centre, University of Otago; Malaghan Institute of Medical Research; Ferrier Research Institute, Victoria University of Wellington; Callaghan Innovation.

**In an Australian Financial Review ranking of Australia’s top performing venture capital and private equity funds (31 August 2016), Brandon Capital’s Brandon Biosciences Fund 1 was ranked second.

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Skin is the game for Kiwi regenerative medicine spinoff

AUCKLAND: Patients suffering major burns may eventually benefit from the launch of a new regenerative medicine company, Upside Biotechnologies, which is developing an advanced, world-class skin replacement treatment in Auckland.
Regenerative medicine develops methods to regrow, repair or replace damaged or diseased cells, organs or tissues to restore or establish normal function. The global regenerative medicines market is projected to reach US$30 billion by 2022.

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Hawkes Bay Angel Summit deemed a success for national and international attendees

The Angel Association of New Zealand’s annual Angel Summit in Hawke’s Bay last week was “brilliant” in every way, says executive director Suse Reynolds.
“The weather was gorgeous, the food was gorgeous and the people were wonderful,” she said.
She said it was a very productive two days for the 120 delegates, with some of the key issues being collaboration, the importance of New Zealand Inc and balancing investment with return – the conflicting need for return on investment with wider economic/social goals.
She said the Black Barn venue helped foster good relations between attendees.
“Business is all about people and it is important to build the foundations of trust.”
Angels flew in from throughout New Zealand and overseas.
“The New Zealand Angel Summit has a reputation for being the world’s best angel conference destination. Last year when we had it in Queenstown we had 50 international visitors from a dozen different countries. We didn’t quite manage it this time around because last year’s was the Asian business angels forum and this year we were back to our New Zealand Angel Summit, but we still had Australian’s Chinese, Americans, Canadians and one Skyped-in from Zurich.”
Summit activities included an address from Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce, a visit to Rockit Apples’ packing shed and a dozen investment-related presentations.
One of New Zealand’s most prolific angel investors, Trevor Dickinson, was awarded the prestigious Arch Angel Award in Hawke’s Bay, which recognises individuals who have “steadfastly championed the cause of angel investment and investors”.
He has made more than 50 investments in early-stage and startup companies – the vast majority of which are angel-backed firms from throughout the country. He is on the board of Wellington-based angel investor network Angel HQ, and received the organisation’s first lifetime membership based on the value of his investments made through the group.
Angel HQ manager Dave Allison said his contribution to the angel investment community was marked.
“The energy and enthusiasm he brings is extraordinary, whether it’s on the boards of companies, or advising entrepreneurs, or making deals happen by bringing people together,” he said.
The English-born former geologist worked in the UK oil and gas industry before mortgaging his house to develop state-of-the-art measurement-while-drilling technology.
GeoLink success allowed him to retire to New Zealand where he was a founding investor in startups including Lightning Lab, Wipster, HydroWorks, Nyriad, Cloud Cannon, 8i, Flick Electric and Times-7.
Former Arch Angel winners also include The Warehouse founder and long-time angel investor Sir Stephen Tindall and Andy Hamilton, chief executive of Auckland-based incubator and business educator The Icehouse.
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Theresa Gattung Venture Capital fund

ArcAngels and Angel Association New Zealand today welcomed the launch of Theresa Gattung’s new Venture Capital fund which aims to raise capital from women, for women entrepreneurs.

“Boosting the pool of capital for entrepreneurs is vital for New Zealand’s ecosystem of start ups to grow,” said Cecilia Tarrant, Chair of ArcAngels, a New Zealand based angel organisation focused on funding women entrepreneurs.

“As an organisation, focused on women-founders, we are delighted to hear Theresa Gattung, one of New Zealand’s preeminent business leaders has launched an initiative to fund women entrepreneurs, supported by women. Having a Venture Capital fund will help expand the capital and mentorship female entrepreneurs need to develop their businesses,” Tarrant said.

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Movac Fund 4 reaches first close at $105 million

MEDIA RELEASE

Movac Fund 4 reaches first close at $105 million

Movac Fund 4 has raised $105 million to invest in the next generation of iconic Kiwi technology companies.

The Fund is underpinned by $75m in investment commitments from institutional investors including Ngāi Tahu Holdings, with the balance coming from the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, leading New Zealand family offices, community trusts, and private investors.

Movac Fund 4 will be investing in established New Zealand technology companies that are seeking capital to accelerate their growth.  These are companies with an established track-record of sales, a team in place to grow the business, and the ambition and potential to scale their business internationally.  This is a later stage fund than Movac’s previous funds.

Phil McCaw, Movac Managing Partner, commented: “We are really encouraged by the commitments from all of our investors, and in particular our new cornerstone investors who have recognised the significant investment opportunity that exists in the New Zealand technology sector right now.”

“Importantly, we have a strong pipeline of potential investments for Movac Fund 4.  We have already been meeting with and conducting due diligence on various opportunities, and are very impressed by the quality of the companies that we’re seeing.  We anticipate that we will make Fund 4’s first investments prior to Christmas.”

Ngāi Tahu Holdings Chief Executive, Mike Sang, commented: “Ngāi Tahu Holdings is excited about the addition of Movac Fund 4 to our portfolio.  We are looking forward to our new partnership with the Movac team and the added diversity the investment brings us from its focus on investing growth capital in the technology sector.”

Mr McCaw added: “As a team, we have 55 years of collective investment experience and we believe that we are uniquely placed to invest in and help accelerate New Zealand technology companies.  Our Fund 4 investors include a number of highly successful founders and business builders, experienced investors, as well as family offices and investment funds.  We also have a number of investor migrants investing in Fund 4.  We would like to thank them for their commitments, and look forward to working with them to grow the next wave of iconic Kiwi companies and delivering an outstanding investment return.”

Movac Fund 4 remains open for eligible investors until its final close in April 2017.

ENDS
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Man of science honoured for service to Manawatu business industry

Chemist, businessman, and philanthropist Dr Richard Garland has been awarded the 2016 Lifetime Service Award at the Manawatu Business Awards. Reporter Paul Mitchell spoke to him about his long career at New Zealand Pharmaceuticals (NZP).
NZP is, in many ways, Dr Richard Garland’s life’s work.
One of the company’s first employees, he rose through the ranks to become its managing director, and was integral in guiding NZP into the Manawatu success story it is today.

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Man of science honoured for service to Manawatu business industry

Chemist, businessman, and philanthropist Dr Richard Garland has been awarded the 2016 Lifetime Service Award at the Manawatu Business Awards. Reporter Paul Mitchell spoke to him about his long career at New Zealand Pharmaceuticals (NZP).
NZP is, in many ways, Dr Richard Garland’s life’s work.
One of the company’s first employees, he rose through the ranks to become its managing director, and was integral in guiding NZP into the Manawatu success story it is today.

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Minister Chagger issues a call to action on women entrepreneurship in Canada and announces $50 million to help businesswomen access capital

Women entrepreneurs from across Canada gather to talk about growing their businesses and accessing new markets
November 9, 2016 – Toronto, Ontario – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Today, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, is hosting the Canadian Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference in Toronto. The Minister invited businesswomen from across the country to come together to share ideas on how more Canadian women business owners can be globally successful. Addressing a crowd of over 200 inspiring women entrepreneurs and the organizations that support them, the Minister issued a call to action to increase the number of women starting and running their own businesses.

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Labour targets ICT as second largest economic contributor

A Labour-led government would target the ICT sector to be New Zealand’s second largest contributor to the economy by 2025, believing it is a job-rich source of growth for a nation of small businesses.
While the precise definition of what constitutes ICT is up for debate, the party believes it currently sits somewhere between the third and fourth largest sector, behind tourism and the dairy and wine industries.
The party’s finance spokesman, Grant Robertson, unveiled the target when launching the results of the party’s two year ‘Future of Work Commission’ at its annual conference in Auckland over the weekend, unveiling a raft of proposals to improve intellectual property protection for small and medium-sized tech businesses, infuse schools and communities with digital learning opportunities, and a shake-up for innovation, science, and university research funding.

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The pitfalls of asking an investor to sign an NDA

There’s one way to lose a potential investor before you even start: demand that they sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
It happens all the time. Someone thinks they have a great idea but won’t send the pitch deck without an NDA first. They’re terrified that the “billion dollar blueprint” will be stolen by some unscrupulous VC guy.
It’s a classic amateur mistake. It means you probably have no knowledge of how the startup ecosystem works. Worse, it means my first impression of you is that you’re an idiot.

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Simon Brown: Entrepreneurs and investors descend on Hawke’s Bay

For two days last week the Black Barn Winery in Havelock North was the focus of the world’s venture capital and angel investor communities.
Entrepreneurs and investors from New Zealand, Canada, North America, China and Europe spent last Thursday and Friday at the 2016 NZ Angel Summit discussing investment strategies, sharing their expertise and creating opportunities for innovative Kiwi start-ups in need of early stage finance.
These were some of the most successful investors in their field. People like North American business and equity finance consultant Ross Finlay, who has come to New Zealand with the support of Callaghan Innovation to help local businesses understand what Angel Investors expect from them, to show them how to establish relevant relationships and introduce them to North American and NZ Angel networks.
Ross has secured 35 Angel investment deals in recent years and has assisted in the development and review of countless business plans for start-up companies.
He has extensive networks within the world of international finance and he knows how to leverage them for the greater economic good.
Hawkes Bay’s stunning environment was a bonus for local and international financial high flyers like Ross but they weren’t here primarily for the scenery. These were all seasoned and experienced business people who have made their money in a range of sectors.
Naturally, they’re looking for a return on their investment but they’re also motivated by a desire to help others with the same drive and ambition they have and, crucially, to do their bit to grow the New Zealand economy.
Government ministers and officials, colleagues from Callaghan Innovation and the nationally located business incubators also attended the summit.
They came away with re-enforced enthusiasm and confirmation of the optimism and dynamic evolution in this fast growing sector of our economy.
Last financial year was a record breaker in terms of deals made with Kiwi start-ups and dollars invested.
Deals worth a total of $61.2 million provided 92 creative and passionate New Zealand entrepreneurs with the kick start they needed to get their great idea off the ground. In addition to this investment, Callaghan Innovation supported 152 start-ups through incubators.
That’s an unprecedented deal flow and a strong indication that NZTE’s Investment Showcase events and Callaghan Innovation’s incubation funding and accelerator programmes are bearing fruit.
New Angel regional networks are forming. Syndicated Angel funds are proliferating and long standing networks are experiencing a surge of interest. Wellington’s Angel HQ, for example, has gained 30 new members in just the last six months.
Increasingly businesses are successfully exiting the start-up phase of their journey but still face challenges in accessing growth capital and appropriate commercialisation expertise. International capital exists but the New Zealand eco-system is looking at how it can work better together to facilitate the access to it.
We’re doing great but we can do better. Investment in research and development in New Zealand still lags behind OECD countries. Areas like SaaS, FinTech, AgriTech and other areas of the digital sectors are doing well but there are also great ideas brewing in MedTech, BioTech and food and beverage production.
A few of those could well be the disruptive industries we need to take New Zealand and the world into a healthier and wealthier future.
– Simon Brown is general manager accelerator services of Callaghan Innovation

First published – NZ Herald 6 November 2016

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Meet the Kiwi whiz kids running a $200 million education empire

WHILE other Gen Ys are still finding their feet, these Kiwi whiz kids are running a global company worth more than $205 million.

Jamie Beaton, 21 and Sharndré Kushor, 22, have just closed a $39.5 million capital raising for the global online education business they started on Facebook and Skype. And they’re looking to expand their reach even further.

It all started when a teenaged Mr Beaton, whois academically gifted, realised that there was not enough support out there for kids who wanted to get into the world’s top universities.

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‘The jockey’ key for angel investing

Investing in high growth companies is like a long horse race and understanding the jockey you’re betting on is key for angel investors, says veteran Canadian angel investor Ross Finlay.

Finlay, co-founder and director of the First Angel Network Association in Atlantic Canada, is one of the international speakers at the annual Angel Summit in New Zealand underway in Napier.

He said before angels commit their money they have to pick the right jockey and the earlier stage the company is, the more that matters.

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Trevor Dickinson named New Zealand Arch Angel 2016

One of New Zealand’s most prolific angel investors, Trevor Dickinson, has been awarded the Angel Association of New Zealand’s (AANZ) prestigious Arch Angel Award at the 2016 NZ Angel Summit in Hawke’s Bay.

The Arch Angel Award is the highest honour in New Zealand’s angel investment community, and recognises individuals who have steadfastly championed the cause of angel investment and investors.

The award highlights the work of angel investors who give a significant amount of their time and money to help startups and early-stage companies – as well as their founders and teams – to reach their potential.

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Tech incubator Powerhouse Ventures makes two new investments

ASX-listed Powerhouse Ventures has committed to invest up to $450,000 in a new ed-tech software company spun out of Victoria University’s Faculty of Education in Wellington in conjunction with Macleans College Auckland, as its share price languishes 30 Australian cents below its market debut last month.

The deal comes as it’s also about to announce its first ever investment into a spin-out from the University of Auckland – Objective Acuity, that has developed a revolutionary eye technology.

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Kiwi Landing Pad Spreads it’s Wings

New Zealand’s tech community – Kiwi Landing Pad – is on the move in San Francisco.

Set up in 2011 with funding from the New Zealand government and private investors, the Kiwi Landing Pad (KLP) has already helped hundreds of innovators keen to break into the highly competitive United States start-up scene.

The non-profit organisation caters for high growth technology companies. As well as reducing the risks and time involved in setting up an office, KLP also offers valuable access to necessary business information and networks.

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CropLogic latest Canterbury tech startup to seek ASX listing

Christchurch-based CropLogic​ aims to list on the Australian stock exchange early next year.

CropLogic​ is commercialising technology developed over decades by Crown research institute Plant & Food Research.

It provides farmers with a computer modelling system to determine best times to apply nutrients and water for maximum crop yield.

Initial trials in the United States, New Zealand, China, and Australia indicated crop yield improvements of more than 6 per cent, delivering higher profits.

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On the Grid: Weirdly don’t care about your $500 CV

There’s a revolution underway. Deep within the Auckland Viaduct lurks the beginnings of our own tiny Silicon Valley. At GridAKL, more than 50 startups, in industries as diverse as medicine, robotics and augmented reality, are running the entrepreneurial gauntlet looking to build a high-growth business – or at least a get a second funding round.

In On the Grid, a sponsored series with Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), we tell their stories. In this, the third instalment, recruitment revolutionaries Weirdly.

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MEDIA RELEASE: Canterbury Angels flying with new partnership

The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund is partnering with the newly formed Canterbury Angels to invest into start-up companies. The Christchurch-based angel investor group was formed in 2015 and now has 35 members, most of whom are experienced investors or have been involved in establishing businesses previously.  Its leadership includes chair Ben Reid, who chaired the Canterbury Software Cluster, Shane Wakelin, Joan McSweeney, Ria Chapman, Mark Cathro, Raphael Nolden, Ian Douthwaite, and SLI Systems co-founder Geoff Brash. Canterbury Angels chair Ben Reid said the partnership will bring more investment into innovative companies in the Canterbury region and around New Zealand. The new investment partnership with NZVIF means that when Canterbury Angels invests into a new company, NZVIF will match investments dollar-for-dollar giving both investors and entrepreneurs confidence that the investment round will be successfully completed. Our focus will be on new companies emerging in Christchurch and nearby.  But our members will also invest in syndicated opportunities throughout New Zealand to ensure we have a broad portfolio of companies. “Based on our experience to date, we expect to see a healthy deal flow.  There are a lot of innovative ideas in Christchurch that are seeking capital.  We have two universities which produce high quality research.  We work closely with other parts of the innovation ecosystem in Christchurch, such as EPIC, Lightning Lab, Greenhouse and the newly-opened Vodafone Xone.  As new startups emerge from the ecosystem, this partnership will help to provide some of the early stage capital to meet their needs. “Our expectation is that the partnership will run for around four to five years, investing into around 10 to 15 young companies during the first 12 to 18 months. With NZVIF committing on a matching 1:1 basis with Canterbury Angels investors, it doubles the capital available to a company than would be the case if we did not have the partnership.” This is the sixteenth partnership NZVIF has entered into through its Seed Co-Investment Fund and the second in Christchurch, having previously partnered with Powerhouse Ventures.  To date, NZVIF and its angel partners have co-invested around $142 million into over 150 companies. NZVIF investment director Bridget Unsworth said that the new partnership is needed to keep up the momentum in the angel investment sector. “The past year has seen continued healthy investment activity across New Zealand with over $60 million invested by angel funds and groups.  Christchurch sees around 10 percent of angel investment activity.  With Canterbury Angels now actively investing alongside other early stage investors, it provides another source of capital for entrepreneurs in Canterbury. “There is a healthy level of syndication of investments between different angel groups meaning they are likely to invest in opportunities throughout New Zealand.  This allows groups like Canterbury Angels to diversify their portfolios beyond just the local opportunities.  Early stage investing is a high risk investment class and so diversification is important. “Current investment activity is healthy and there is a good pipeline of young technology companies needing investment capital to develop.  Since NZVIF began collecting the data in 2006, angel groups have invested over $400 million into young technology companies.” BACKGROUND INFORMATION Canterbury Angels Canterbury Angels is a new angel network and was established in 2015.  It aims to be a broad-based network drawing in investors from throughout Canterbury.  It currently has 35 members and has made four investments in its first year. NZVIF’s Seed Co-investment Fund NZVIF is involved with angel investors through its Seed Co-investment Fund (known as SCIF).  SCIF was established in 2005 to catalyse the growth of angel investment and has now invested into over 150 companies.  Its portfolio includes Christchurch companies like Hydroworks, Crop Logic and Invert Robotics.

Media contacts NZVIF: David Lewis, m: 021 976 119, [email protected]

Canterbury Angels: Gabby Addington, [email protected]

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Angel investors need help to get young businesses to full potential

Angel investors shelled out a “solid” $23 million in the first half of the year but Angel Association chairman Marcel van den Assum said five to 10 times that sum would be needed to help the country’s young businesses reach their full potential.

The level of investment was up from $20m in the same period last year, but down on the $26m invested in the first half of 2014.

Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) director Bridget Unsworth said only $5m of the total went into new businesses.

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Canterbury Angels flying with new partnership

The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund is partnering with the newly formed Canterbury Angels to invest into start-up companies.

The Christchurch-based angel investor group was formed in 2015 and now has 35 members, most of whom are experienced investors or have been involved in establishing businesses previously. Its leadership includes chair Ben Reid, who chaired the Canterbury Software Cluster, Shane Wakelin, Joan McSweeney, Ria Chapman, Mark Cathro, Raphael Nolden, Ian Douthwaite, and SLI Systems co-founder Geoff Brash.

Canterbury Angels chair Ben Reid said the partnership will bring more investment into innovative companies in the Canterbury region and around New Zealand.

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MEDIA RELEASE: Angels solid during first half

Angel fund investment was solid with $22.9 million invested during the first six months of the year, according to the latest Young Company Finance Index. The result was $3.3 million (or 17 percent) higher than the same period in 2015, although below the strong first half year periods seen in 2013 and 2014.

New Zealand Venture Investment Fund investment director Bridget Unsworth said the $22.9 million was invested across 46 deals, of which 78 percent ($17.9m) was follow-on investment and 22 percent ($5m) was new investment.

“This split was similar to the first half of 2015 and shows that investors were primarily supporting existing investments rather than funding new companies, following a period of much larger investing into new deals in the second half of 2015.”

Forty-six percent ($10.3 million) was invested into software and service companies, continuing that sector’s strong performance.  The next most active sector for investment was pharmaceuticals and biotechnology with 20 percent ($5.6 million) of investment.

Local early stage companies continue to attract overseas investors’ attraction. In addition to the $22.9 million of local investment, the angel-backed companies attracted a further $8.5 million from international strategic investors.

Angel Association chair Marcel van den Assum said it was great to see continued strong commitment from angel investors.

“We all know that angel investment stands or falls on the quality and volume of deal flow. There is no shortage of either at the moment with good opportunities also emerging from accelerators. This is very positive but it does create ‘pipeline’-pressure. Great deals will only be sustained with deeper pools of non-angel growth capital as angel-backed companies develop and need new capital to continue to deliver on their potential.

“Follow-on rounds continue to dominate, reflecting an appetite to realise business potential and generate returns.  Pleasingly, we are now seeing angel groups distinguishing between follow-on for companies meeting milestones and targets, rather than follow-on to keep investments alive.

“Emerging angel networks in Canterbury and Taranaki will gain confidence from this level of activity and their addition to the sector will support the increasing demand for capital and capability.

“It is pleasing to see the growing trend towards biotech investment, which should be an area of real strength for New.”

After a very busy period at the end of 2015, the 12 months to 30 June 2016 saw $64.5 million invested into young companies, continuing the strong trend over the past few years.  Cumulatively, $438 million has now been invested into young companies by angel funds and networks since the Young Company Finance Index began measuring activity in 2006.

Three angel-backed companies launched crowdfunding rounds and raised $1.87 million (all from Equitise).

 

 

 

 

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