New Zealand Innovation Awards celebrates most successful homegrown trailblazers

The New Zealand Innovation Awards 2016 winners were announced last night, recognising the cream of the crop across 11 industry categories and 10 business disciplines including technology, science, marketing and agri-business.

The Awards attracted more than 700 entrepreneurs, innovators, businesspeople and investors at the SKY City Convention Centre last night. 21 winners and 19 highly commended awards were handed out on the night to companies creating the most ‘game-changing’ innovations.

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Snowball Effect – the first 2 years!

New Zealand’s first equity crowdfunding offer kicked off on 11 August 2014. Below we’ve compiled an infographic showing some of the key statistics from the first 2 years of offers through Snowball Effect.

The NZ market started with public offers to retail investors through the new equity crowdfunding regulations. Over the last 2 years, the capital raising options have quickly evolved to include:

   Public offers: An offer which is available to all Kiwi investors, and publicly visible.

   Private offers: An offer which is restricted to an audience selected by the issuing company, and not publicly visible. The company can still make the offer to retail investors without a costly “product disclosure statement”.

   Wholesale investor offers: An offer which is available only to people who meet the “wholesale investor” criteria. Wholesale investors are investors that are legally able to invest in any type of security on offer. This is an important aspect to our offering as it enables us to facilitate a wider range of deals (such as offers of instruments like convertible notes, raises of more than $2m, and private brokering).

   Rights issues: Online facilitation of rights issues, including taking care of electronic signing of legal documents, payment collection, verification of wholesale investors, and anti-money laundering obligations.

We’re really happy with how the market has developed over the first 2 years. New territory is being broken again right now. G3 Group was the first company to list on NZX’s new junior exchange, the NXT Market, when it launched 15 months ago. G3 is now raising up to $3m through Snowball Effect. This is the first time that a listed company has used an “equity crowdfunding” marketplace to raise funds in New Zealand. We’re also starting to see more private broking of deals. The demand is coming from companies who are seeking capital but would prefer to keep the business tightly held – seeking a small number of large shareholders rather than a crowd of minnows. Snowball Effect has recently recruited former capital markets lawyer and entrepreneur Cowan Finch to lead this part of our offering.

There’s a long way to go before we make the impact that we want to make, but it’s been a great start.

Thank you to the entrepreneurs, investors, and partners who have helped to make the first 2 years of online capital raising in NZ a success. This is only the beginning – we’re excited about bringing a wider range of investment opportunities to investors, and continually improving access to finance for Kiwi companies.

The most pleasing result for us is the expansion of our offering as described above. This allows us to serve a broader part of the market, and tailor our services to meet the particular capital raising objectives of each client.

There has been 35% growth from the first year in terms of capital raised. There has also been a significant increase in the average size of investment, and the number of investors making multiple investments – metrics that we monitor closely as proxies for whether the right types of investors are being attracted to the marketplace.

We hope you find these numbers interesting, and feel free to contact me if there’s other information that you’d like to see – [email protected]

snowball

 

 

 

 

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Powerhouse makes first investment post-ASX listing

Christchurch-based Powerhouse Ventures has already made its first investment since listing on the ASX last week – taking a stake in a cancer diagnostic system.

It invested A$500,000 (NZ$514,880) in Ferronova’s system developed by Victoria University of Wellington and the University of South Australia.

Magnetic probes allow surgeons to more accurately assess the spread of cancer throughout the body.

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Mahuki – bringing innovation to the global GLAM sector

Te Papa launched its first acceleration programme, Mahuki, in August. The programme is now nearing the half way mark.

There are ten start-up teams focused on innovating the GLAM sector (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums). It is an in-residence programme and the Mahuki hub is located within Te Papa. The teams are working closely with museum experts, museum visitors and other cultural institutions to validate their ideas and build sustainable global businesses.

Given the size of the New Zealand market and our distance from bigger economies, Mahuki aims to take a ‘global from day one’ approach. To explore market opportunities, Mahuki will take these teams on a two week trip to the US towards the end of the programme.

The GLAM sector represents prestigious customers and large markets (it represents 4.3% of GDP in the US – larger than the construction industry). There are more museums in the world than MacDonald’s and Starbucks combined. There are in fact an estimated 75,000 of them, with 35,000 located in the US.  And while numbers of museums are still modest in China, that market has developed rapidly with a new museum opening every day.

The cultural sector is ripe for transformation – but entrepreneurs don’t necessarily know how to access the sector, how to best meet its needs or even recognise it’s potential.  At the same time, the experience economy is booming. However, no matter how large or attractive a market is – this means nothing if you don’t know how to access it.

The Mahuki programme has been designed to build the capability of businesses to deliver effectively to this valuable sector. Some of the key innovation trends and opportunities being seen in the sector include things such as augmented and virtual reality, gamification, location based services, mobile and BYOD, natural user interfaces, personalised goods and services, and wearable technology.

Mahuki can be translated as “perceptive” and it relates to the “wellspring of inspiration”. The Mahuki.org website provides more details about the programme, and you can get a small taste of the ten teams here –  http://www.mahuki.org/about/participants

Te Papa will host a Mahuki showcase event on Monday 5 December and an invitation will circulate Angel groups soon.”

 

 

 

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KPMG to drive economic growth through support of entrepreneurism across Indigenous communities

KPMG has today launched a series of proposals aimed at spurring the economic growth of the Australian Indigenous community. To encourage further involvement in business and entrepreneurship, KPMG has developed 20 recommendations in conjunction with Indigenous thinkers to focus on areas of innovation, education and the Empowered Communities reform.
The Igniting the Indigenous Economy report, conducted by KPMG revealed that the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is now showing some signs of closing in key areas. While this gap may be closing, the progress of employment for the Indigenous community is still poor. KPMG acknowledges that the employment gap for Indigenous Australians vanishes for those who attain a high level of education.

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Upcoming BIS Workshop

Lowndes is pleased to invite you to the fifth workshop in the 2016 Business Intelligence series, Growth Companies: Capturing the Synergies between Entrepreneurs and Smart Capital, an evening to meet and hear from four highly regarded specialists in this field, and network with a range of senior business people.

This evening event offers you a unique opportunity to share ideas with a panel of International and New Zealand experts and your peers. Lowndes has hosted this well regarded event for 5 years and welcomes your participation in the discussion and pre event networking.

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Ubco and Balex Marine turn to Snowball funding platform for next phase of growth

Ubco, the Bay of Plenty-based electric bike maker, is transitioning to managing its manufacturing with Yadea, China’s leading electric scooter manufacturer, as it increases its focus on finalising a road-legal version of its off-road farm bike.

In addition, having raised $1.8 million in its latest funding round, it will launch an offer on Snowball Effect later this month targeting up to a further $700,000. Ubco will be the second Bay company to go to Snowball Effect for additional funding, with Balex Marine also currently seeking capital on the crowdfunding platform.

Ubco raised its initial capital through a combination of Enterprise Angels member commitments, EA Fund 1, and the NZ Seed Capital Investment Fund, plus existing and private investors.

The company, which has an established supply chain in China, is now transitioning to a new manufacturing arrangement with leading Chinese electric scooter maker Yadea.

Working with Yadea would make it easier to meet higher compliance levels required as it continued its push to create a road-legal version of the electric bike, said chief executive Tim Allen.

“Moving to a road-legal product is quite a big exercise,” he said. “It means we will be pushing though to the next level of quality control.”

Mr Allen said Ubco now believed it could sell a lot more than it originally estimated, and Yadea had the capacity to produce on a much bigger scale than the current arrangements.

However the company would be continuing to sell the original off-road model, was now beginning to make inroads into b-to-b areas, and is currently filling an order for 15 off-road electric bikes for Real Journeys, operating at Walter Peak in Queenstown. Ubco has also successfully sold bikes to the Department of Conservation.

Deion Campbell, who joined the board in his capacity as a private investor in Ubco and now serves as chairman, said the focus was on path to market. Mr Campbell is general manager generation for Trustpower.

“There are a lot of interesting opportunities in the market, like the conservation groups and tour operators,” he said.

“But to get the scale the business needs we really need to get offshore. The team is working on following up the leads we’ve had over the last year, which have come from distributors around the world.”

Preparations for the Snowball Effect launch were in the final stages, he said, and interest had been high with 90 responding to the platform’s initial announcement.

The company will be targeting an additional $700,000 to complete its round.

Balex Marine, manufacturers of the Automatic Boat Loader (ABL), launched its Snowball Effect offer on September 26, which will remain open until October 17. The offer was targeting $300,000 to close out the company’s current $900,000 capital round, with provision for over-subscription.

The capital will be used to strengthen the company’s push into new markets in Australia, Europe and the US, said chief executive Paul Symes.

A Hutchison Boat Show award winner, the remote-controlled ABL has aroused strong interest in the marine industry.

“The Snowball Effect round is the first time retail investors will have an opportunity to take a stake in the ABL,” said Mr Symes, a co-founder of the company.

“We have already achieved a number of our key production and marketing targets and are now looking to establish the most effective ways to meet the growing trade and user demand that we are experiencing both in NZ and abroad,” said Mr Symes.

The ABL is in commercial production and Balex has partnered with Gait International to manage all procurement, manufacturing, assembly and testing.

The company has signed up New Zealand’s largest nationwide marine dealer, Boating and Outdoors, with 23 stores, and has partnership agreements with four major trailer manufacturers and five NZ boat manufacturers. The company has also signed an exclusive distribution agreement for the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa with Forge Group (UK).

Balex Marine also has sponsorship deals with two of New Zealand’s leading TV Fishing Shows – Big Angry Fish and Fishy Business.

Snowball Effect
Launched NZ’s first equity crowdfunding offer in August 2014, and now claims a 70 per cent plus share of the crowdfunding marketplace.

First published-NZ Herald 4th October 2016

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ABAF 2016 Trip Reports

Every year the Angel Assn supports some of our lead investors to attend key international events. We see this as an investment in the growth of “great angels” as these people learn about best practice approaches to angel investment and even more importantly make the sorts of connections that are vital to the success of their angel-backed ventures. Lead investors Brian Steele, Simon Swallow and Dana McKenzie recently attended this year’s Asian Business Angels Forum in Seoul. You can read their report and check out the connections they made here

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Angels propose dance with wholesale investors

New Zealand’s latest crowdfunding venture should benefit from the wide definition of ‘wholesale investor’ under the Financial Markets Conduct Act (FMC), according to founder, Bill Murphy.

Murphy said the FMC expanded the number of potential NZ wholesale investors – who are not subject to the stricter, and more expensive, retail disclosure regime – opening up a broader target audience for the AngelEquity investment platform that launched last week.

In a statement he said: “We’re not just talking about banks or institutions. Many high net-worth individuals, or people with sophisticated knowledge and experience of financial markets are now considered wholesale investors.”

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New Crimson capital values founder Jamie Beaton’s stake at $73m

Education consulting firm Crimson Consulting appears to have raised $US30 million in its latest capital raising round, largely from US billionaire Julian Robertson, according to Companies Office filings.

Mr Robertson (who has an honorary New Zealand knighthood) and his investment vehicle Tiger Global Private Investment Partners contributed $US29.5 million while other supporters included former Seek executive Jason Lenga ($US150,000), Ice Angels ($US218,195) and Guy Wallace ($US98,530), according to a director’s resolution issued this morning.

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Edmund Hillary Fellowship Set To Deliver Global Impact Visa

The Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF) is thrilled to be named the implementation partner to deliver the new Global Impact Visa programme for New Zealand, as announced by Minister of Immigration Hon. Michael Woodhouse this morning.

“EHF offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for high-calibre entrepreneurs, investors and startup teams to come to New Zealand to create scalable, global impact,” says Yoseph Ayele, Chief Executive of EHF.

“Aotearoa New Zealand has a unique opportunity to be a world leader in developing transformative solutions for humanity’s most pressing economic, social and environmental issues. Visionary entrepreneurs with fresh new ideas and different ways of doing business can help New Zealand get there.”

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NZ-born LanzaTech makes biofuel breakthrough for Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic

New Zealand-born company LanzaTech has made an aviation biofuel breakthrough with partner airline Virgin Atlantic.

The company has produced nearly 5700 litres of low-carbon ethanol produced from waste gases for the airline, founded by Sir Richard Branson.

The company was founded in New Zealand 11 years ago and the parent company remains New Zealand-registered while its headquarters have moved to Illinois.

LanzaTech and Virgin Atlantic say they will work with Boeing and others in the aviation industry to complete the additional testing that aircraft and engine manufacturers require before approving the fuel for first use in a commercial aircraft.

“Assuming all initial approvals are achieved, the innovative LanzaTech jet fuel could be used in a first of its kind proving flight in 2017,” LanzaTech and Virgin Atlantic say.
The two companies have been working together since 2011.

The Lanzanol fuel was produced in China at the RSB (Roundtable of Sustainable Biomaterials) certified Shougang demonstration facility. The alcohol-to-jet process was developed in collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Lab with support from the US Department of Energy and with the help of funding from HSBC.

Sir Richard Branson said: “This is a real game changer for aviation and could significantly reduce the industry’s reliance on oil within our lifetime.”

In 2008 Virgin Atlantic was the first commercial airline to flight test bio-fuel flight – derived from coconut and babassu oil.
“We chose to partner with LanzaTech because of its impressive sustainability profile and the commercial potential of the jet fuel,” Branson said.

The airline’s understanding of low carbon fuels had developed rapidly over the last decade.

The company, which has received more than $14 million in New Zealand Government funding, shifted much of its previously Auckland-based research and development workforce to Chicago in 2014.

LanzaTech has raised more than US$200m from investors including Silicon Valley-based Khosla Ventures and the NZ Superannuation Fund, which has invested US$75m. Other investors included Sir Stephen Tindall’s K1W1 fund and Mitsui.

Its technology is based around steel production, which produces waste carbon monoxide (CO) gas, frequently flared to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

The process involves capturing carbon from the waste gas via fermentation to ethanol, which is recovered to produce ethanol feedstock for a variety of products, including aviation fuel.

Other airlines have trialled biofuel made from waste cooking oil, and in the case of Air New Zealand the Jatropha plant.

 

First published – NZ Herald 15 September 2016

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MEDIA RELEASE: Angel Association commends initiatives like AngelEquity

The Angel Association today welcomed the launch of AngelEquity, a new equity crowd-funding platform leveraging deals from New Zealand’s formal angel networks such as AngelHQ, Ice Angels and Enterprise Angels.

“Early stage, high growth companies are always looking for capital. Without capital the growth path is exponentially slower,” said Suse Reynolds, AANZ Executive Director.

The Angel Association exists to support those investing in these companies and welcomes any initiatives to help broaden and deepen the pool of capital available and raise the profile of the ventures they are funding.

Angel Association members include the networks or clubs, early stage funds, investor-led tech incubators and equity crowd funding platforms.

Suse Reynolds said she believed there is still plenty of room for growth and specialisation in this end of the capital markets.

Early stage, high growth companies are highly risky investment prospects but they are absolutely vital for NZ’s future economic and social wellbeing. The companies our members are backing are the Xero’s, F&P Healthcare companies of the future.

In order to give these companies the best chance of success what they need, along with the capital, is the exposure and support to the expertise and connections the capital can help deliver.  AngelEquity provides a link between the angel networks and individual high networth investors improving the prospect of those synergies being created.

–Ends–

For more information, please contact:

Suse Reynolds, AANZ executive director on 021 490 974 or [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; to support the angel networks and help create new networks; to promote the growth of angel investment in New Zealand by encouraging and educating entrepreneurs, new angel investors and angel groups; and to ensure the ongoing success of the angel movement through developing industry strategy, encouraging collaboration and educating the wider New Zealand public about the importance of angel investing in growing our economy.  AANZ currently has 20 members representing more than 550 individual angels associated with New Zealand’s key angel networks and funds. Recent NZ Venture Investment Fund data revealed angels have invested more than $NZ438 million in over 680 deals in the last 9 years. For more, please visit: www.angelassociation.co.nz

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Government signs contract with Rocket Lab permitting commercial rocket launches

The government has authorised the first commercial space rocket launches from New Zealand.

Rocket Lab, which operates a private satellite launch site on the Mahia Peninsula between Napier and Gisborne, intends to start launch operations later this year, Minister for Economic Development Steven Joyce said in a statement. The contract is an interim measure, preceding the Outer Space and High Altitude Activities Bill which will be introduced to Parliament this month to provide a regulatory regime for space launches from New Zealand.

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Caldera says third study of PSA-test alternative shows high ability to spot Prostate cancer

Caldera Health, a New Zealand biotech company working on a gene-sequencing replacement for the world’s most widely used prostate cancer test, says its third clinical test has shown a strong ability to identify prostate cancer and screen out those who test negative.

The company is working on a replacement for the widely used PSA blood test with a simple “pee in a pot” test, using RNA biomarkers. In 2012, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommended against mass PSA screening because it threw up both false positives and negatives, didn’t distinguish between aggressive cancers and benign strains or even other prostate conditions, and led to over-diagnosis and unnecessary prostatectomies.

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MENTORLOOP RAISES $300,000 IN SEED FUNDING

MENTORING is acknowledged as a vital part of career development, but even some of the most well-run businesses struggle to do it right.

This was an issue that long-time Melbourne-based friends Heidi Holmes and Lucy Loyd identified, and then targeted with a new cloud-based software offering named Mentorloop.

Having recently raised $300,000 in seed funding, which valued the business at $2 million, the pair’s idea to creating a mentoring management system has clearly taken hold.

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NXT-listed G3 Group uses equity crowdfunding marketplace to raise funds

The Angel Association has been encouraging investors to manage their angel portfolios more actively for returns. Workshops have focussed on the acquisition process – looking at aspects like working with investment bankers, positioning companies effectively, and setting up quality deal rooms.

IPOs are another liquidity option, and there have been some developments recently in the New Zealand market (with the launch of the NXT Market) and the Australian market (with ASX preparing to introduce more stringent criteria around the listing of early stage ventures).

G3 Group was the first company to list on the NXT market 15 months ago, is now raising up to $3m, primarily to fund further acquisitions.

The offer at $0.75 per share went live yesterday at at 6.25% discount to the last traded market price, and is being made available to the public through AANZ member Snowball Effect. This is the first time that a listed company has used an “equity crowdfunding” marketplace to raise funds in New Zealand.

This is an interesting development for New Zealand’s capital market, especially given the importance of the listing pathway to angel investors, and the ability for young listed companies to raise capital efficiently and fund further growth. Here’s a summary of the key details and parties involved.

Background to G3

G3 assists businesses, including a growing international customer base, to manage their data, documents, and customer communications, deploying new technologies for maximum reliability and efficiency.

G3 began life 10 years ago as a small domestic provider of business mail services under the New Zealand Mail brand. Through a series of acquisitions, including Pete’s Post and Fastway Post, it now commands annual sales of over $40m and across its chosen markets of NZ, UK, and Australia.

Since listing on the NXT market 15 months ago, G3 has done what it said it would do – achieve growth targets, expand via acquisition into document and data management, and expand into Australia. In its recent 2016 financial statements, G3 reported an increase in revenue of 8.4% to $43.95m, and an increase in profit before tax of 12.2% to $2.14m.

G3 has completed 8 successful acquisitions in the past 4 years, and is currently looking at a number of new acquisition opportunities. Acquisitions will be focused on businesses which complement existing operations, and data management technology companies that enable G3 to leverage the strong revenues and customer base from its traditional operations towards emerging digital opportunities.

G3’s growth strategy responds to increasing global trends for compliance and chain-of-custody around managing business documents. “Document management affects all businesses large or small” comments G3 CEO Mark Brightwell. “The cost and effectiveness of document workflows is critical to all businesses, and compliance is becoming increasingly complex especially as businesses attempt to run traditional paper based workflows in tandem with new digital systems.” G3’s service expansion strategy is designed to help businesses with this transition from old to new technologies.

The offer is for up to $3 million by way of new ordinary shares at $0.75 per share listed on the NXT Market. This represents a 6.25% discount to the last traded market price. The capital raised will be leveraged with cash reserves and bank debt (as appropriate) to fund acquisitions in targeted growth markets. Click here to view the offer.

NXT Market

NXT is a stock exchange designed for small and mid-sized companies. It is owned and operated by NZX. G3 was the first company to list on NXT, and is now accompanied by Marlborough Wine Estates Group, Oceania Natural, and Snakk Media.

NXT provides a cheaper and simpler alternative to the NZX main board for growth companies by reducing the complexity of the listing and disclosure rules.

Snowball Effect

Snowball Effect has facilitated around 70% of the equity crowdfunding market in New Zealand, and has amassed an investor audience of more than 10,000 investors in 2 years. The marketplace helps cash-hungry growth companies raise capital from the public, or from its network of high net worth investors, many of whom seek active involvement within the businesses they invest in. This new distribution channel enables companies to raise funds efficiently, and provides investors with a simple way to discover and invest in growth companies.

Snowball Effect last made headlines in April when Squirrel raised over $3.4m through its marketplace – beating the previous record of $2m.

G3’s offer will mark another milestone as the first time that a listed company has used an “equity crowdfunding” marketplace to raise funds in New Zealand.

Why is a listed company raising funds through an equity crowdfunding marketplace?

Listed companies are required to comply with ongoing disclosure obligations, which provide investors with recent information regarding the historic and expected performance of each company. Given the ongoing disclosure, listed companies have much simpler regulatory requirements when offering securities (such as shares) that are the same as its securities which are already listed. This generally makes it easier to raise funds by issuing new shares.

Despite the legal and disclosure obligations being simplified for a listed company, the economics are still difficult for a raise of this size in New Zealand. The large brokers provide the key distribution infrastructure to investors in the capital market, but a raise of this size is too small for the large brokers to participate in. Given the lack of distribution infrastructure to support a small public offer, companies raising small amounts are typically forced to consider private funding channels. They often end up looking for local high net worth investors or offshore investors. The capital raising process can end up being expensive and lengthy, and there is significant opportunity cost as management focus is diverted away from growing the business.

The aim is to use Snowball Effect as a simple and efficient channel for G3 to distribute its offer and tap into New Zealand’s capital market.

Snowball Effect launched the first equity crowdfunding offer in New Zealand in August 2014. Over the past 2 years it has evolved into a marketplace for a range of offers, including public, private, and wholesale investor offers. G3’s offer is not technically an equity crowdfunding offer because it is not relying on the equity crowdfunding regulations. However, it is using Snowball Effect’s marketplace as an efficient channel to reach a wide investor audience.

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How crowdfunding is changing business

Two years after craft beer maker Renaissance Brewery kicked off the first licensed crowdfunding offer, another high-profile brewer – ParrotDog – is tapping the crowd for at least $1.2 million to expand.

However, the platforms haven’t limited themselves to craft beer – among 44 successful deals from 59 offers are the sale of shares in a film production, a hydro-turbine maker and a mortgage broker.

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Governance at the coalface of the future

Hear from our very own Debra Hall (long time AANZ executive committee member) on her thoughts on Governance, the topic she delivers on so well for the AANZ Governance Courses:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

I always knew that when I retired from my day job, I wanted to be a company director.  I never imagined how hard that would be – after all, if governance is at least in part about strategy, and I’d made a very good living shaping strategy for my many corporate and public sector clients, why would I not be highly desirable in the governance pool?

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Investible launches education program for first time angel investors to democratise Australia’s investing community

Australian startup generator Investible has today launched First Angel, a new education program for first time angel investors. The 12 month program aims to fill the knowledge gap of local angel investors in the early stage investing process.
The First Angel program was launched by Investible cofounders Trevor Folsom and Creel Price to democratise angel investing in Australia and generate a more diverse investing community.

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READY FOR LAUNCH

SHOWCASING INNOVATIVE NEW ZEALAND COMPANIES THAT ARE SEEKING TO FUND THEIR NEXT STAGE OF GROWTH.

The Investment Showcase is a partnership between NZTE and the Angel Association NZ and will be held on the opening night of the 2016 Angel Summit.

Guests include Angel Summit delegates, local and international investors and other key stakeholders in the NZ investment community.

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Fintech Innovation Challenge is open for entries

If you’re a fintech startup with the potential to transform the financial services industry, then Payments NZ wants to help you.

They want to help you raise your profile in the industry. They’re running a Fintech Innovation Challenge as part of their conference, The Point 2016, in November and the challenge is now open for entries.

It is widely known that fintech is redefining the financial services sector, with startups  gaining momentum and disrupting the traditional value chain. So in the new world of challenger brands and disruption, in order to progress and keep challenging the norm, fintech needs support.

The Fintech Innovation Challenge, sponsored by Paymark, is designed to foster innovation and support Kiwi startups. The challenge gives emerging fintechs the opportunity to present their concepts in front of the entire conference delegation, of around 250 payments and financial services professionals.

Five finalists will compete in a round of quick-fire presentations to win a cash prize of $5,000 as well as mentoring support and associated networking opportunities.

The finalists and runners-up will also have the opportunity to exhibit on the fintech stand at the conference, enabling one-on-one time with key influencers, decision-makers, and potential business partners.

The finalists and runners-up can also attend conference sessions to access global insights and the latest market intelligence from local and international speakers.

How to enter

The Fintech Innovation Challenge is open to new or recently established innovative, technology-enabled startups and entry is free.

So if you’re an innovative fintech startup working in any area of financial services or supporting sector such as cyber-security, digital identity and data analytics, don’t miss the opportunity to expand your network and gain visibility – get your entry in today.

Applications close at 5pm on Monday 12 September 2016.

You will find the application form on the Payments NZ conference website along with further details about the competition.

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Is the tech sector in a (*gasp*) bubble?

With a rise of angels investing in dreams of finding the next great unicorn, Jessica-Belle Greer asks: Is the current tech market too fantastical to be true?
Valencia, Amaro and Willow are filters that add a sense of artistry and nostalgia to the images of 500 million active, monthly Instagram operators. They are also trending baby names, according to the Baby Centre’s latest report. Lux, meaning transforming brightness, from the Instagram culture, had the biggest surge in popularity – 75 percent. In a world inundated by new technologies and smartphone apps, is it so surprising that we are seeing the future with Insta-tinted glasses?
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Project16 / Creativity in Business on Sept.1

Project ’16 will focus on Creativity in Business – how can NZ’s creative entrepreneurs and their companies most effectively start, grow and scale their products and services. Our intent is to help NZ’s go global export focused companies lift their game exponentially and take full advantage of their business potential. On September 1st, twenty visionary thought leaders from New Zealand and around the Pacific Rim will come together to share their knowledge and experience about how to best build New Zealand’s future creative businesses.

So – what’s different about the Project16?

Our speakers stay for the entire day, so they can hear what’s said and build on it. And, they are around during the of the breaks (AM/PM teas, lunch & the networking reception) to answer questions and chat.

Project16’s Creativity in Business program will address:

  • What world-class best practices can help us develop and deliver our innovative creative products, services and brands more effectively?
  • What contemporary information do we need to know to grow our creative businesses as quickly and successfully as possible?
  • How can New Zealand’s best and brightest entrepreneurs better position to raise capital effectively?

Whatever your industry or interest, the 2016 Project program offers a rare chance to meet great minds who think differently and to learn from their successes and their failures. Together, we can make better sense of the shifting economic zeitgeist and how we can compete more dynamically in our continually evolving digital world. Join us to connect the dots. Come be part of building a more creative and prosperous 21st Century in (and from) New Zealand.

See Project16 speaker profiles here:

http://www.the-project.co.nz/project-16#speakers

Register for Project16 here.

http://www.eventfinda.co.nz/2016/project-16/auckland

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What does it take for agritech business to Sprout?

An agritech incubator is back for a second season of growing business ideas. But will they take root?
The problem is well-known: there are more people in the world than ever before, so there’s more need for food than ever before. But more people also means there’s less available land to grow that needed food. What is one to do?
That’s where agritech innovation accelerator Sprout comes in. Working with agritech startups from across New Zealand’s primary industries and boasting a bevy of big-name partners including BNZ, Callaghan Innovation, KPMG, Air New Zealand and Massey University and counting Fonterra as its supporters, the incubator has some serious firepower – or in this case, seeding power – behind it. Programme manager James Bell-Booth says it’s proof there’s a serious appetite for agritech ideas. “We have a lot happening around incubation and acceleration,” he explains. “We’re after ideas from the paddock to the plate.”
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USA ACA trip reports

In May, a “Kiwi Contingent” of about a dozen angels attended the US Angel Capital Association conference in Philadelphia. Five lead investors were awarded an AANZ “scholarship” to support their attendance at the conference. Susan Iorns from AngelHQ, Blake Richardson from Flying Kiwis, George Gong from Ice Angels, Christopher Boyle from MIG Angels and Tina Jennen from Enterprise Angels have all completed reports on the conference. Some of their key insights included; no one ever thinks they changed the management of an angel backed company too soon, company boards must regularly discuss the exit, look for founders who are obsessed with making the business work, the CEO should not lead the exit, there are so many people to learn from at the ACA conference and angel investment is in the best place it’s ever been. You can access all the scholarship recipient’s reports and read more here.

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Startups: How to survive the Gartner Hype Cycle

Off the back of our Exits Strategy workshops, in this article the writer provides some useful advice about how to manage the Gartner Hype Cycle to your best advantage.

If you work for or with startups, you’ve likely been a part of the Gartner Hype Cycle and the sky-high expectations that can come with it. It goes like this: the potential of a new concept gets over-hyped, and then companies in that area get panned when they don’t meet expectations quickly.

Current examples include the Internet of Things (IoT), which is currently on the mean side of the hype cycle for not evolving fast enough. Bots, the new “it-thing,” seemed to have its golden future locked down when Facebook officially got on the bot bandwagon, only to reach what Gartner calls the “Trough of Disillusionment” in record time. Immediately after Facebook’s announcement, images of broken bots cluttered Twitter. And Microsoft recently had a high profile bot-backfire, when it released a Twitter bot that started tweeting racist content within 24 hours of launch.

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Powerhouse seeks up to $A20m in ASX listing to fund new investments

Powerhouse Ventures, the Christchurch-based technology incubator, plans to raise up to $A20 million in an initial public offering on the Australian Securities Exchange to expand its portfolio of investments, including branching out across the Tasman.

The incubator will sell shares at $A1.07 apiece in an offer that opens on August 17, raising $A10-20 million and valuing the company between $A30.8-40.8 million, according to its prospectus lodged with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. The bulk of the funds raised will go to expanding its $NZ20.9 million investment portfolio spread across 19 different early stage companies collectively valued at $NZ133.6 million.

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University Startup Challenge gives chance for student founders to pitch for funding

The University Startup Challenge is back for its second year to give student startups the chance to get funding from investors.

Student-led investment group First Cut Ventures started the University Startup Challenge last year to give university students who have their own startups the chance to pitch in front of investors at the Ice Angels annual showcase.

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Follow These Tips To Get The Best Acquisition Price For Your Startup

As angel investors we always seek ways to improve our investment odds. Through the years I’ve uncovered one sure bet: Invest in companies that bring value to strategic buyers so that the price of the acquisition increases.

To do this, it’s first important to understand what a strategic buyer is. A great person to ask is Craig Mullett, an active Angel Capital Association member and investor with the Angel Investor Forum in Connecticut, and co-founder of AngelHub in his native South Africa. Mullett isn’t your average angel. He’s also founder of Branison Group LLC, which provides buy-side merger and acquisition advisory services to business owners, corporate executives and private equity groups. Mullett says, “The vast majority of startup buyers out there are strategic. They want to buy your company because it can help accelerate their growth and build their own value quickly.”

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