ABAF 2015, Queenstown, New Zealand Connection

Discover your New Zealand connection.

Angel investors do business together – we do business together when we invest in deals, when we are looking for follow on funding rounds and when we are looking for in-market opportunities. We do business together when we are looking for acquirers and we do business together when we are celebrating exits. We are a collaborative group of professionals who acknowledge and appreciate each individuals unique experience and expertise.

The Asian Business Angels Forum being held in Queenstown at stunning Mount Soho Winery is in keeping with the nature of our community.

It is the Angel Association of New Zealand’s desire to keep this event an angel-centric, intimate gathering, this terrific venue has limited capacity so we advise that you register quickly to avoid missing out.

This summit will focus on providing delegates with practical insights on how to build and execute successful, capital-acquisition strategies from the first round through to exit.

You will hear from seasoned practitioners about the importance of a capital strategy in angel venture success, about board stewardship and alignment, how to successfully court acquirers internationally and how to manage market disrupting intellectual property for commercial success across the globe.

With delegates coming from across the Asia Pacific, Europe and North America we are going to dig into how to do more cross border deals and work on live examples of deals which have the potential to be exactly this while having the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of our chosen location – Queenstown.

The stunning scenery, natural beauty and the vibrancy of the region make Queenstown the perfect destination to relax and enjoy sophistication and world-class facilities.


Here’s a list of superb accommodations to make your stay a memorable one:


millbrook_imageMillbrook Resort is a luxury resort only a 20 minute drive from Queenstown. The five star accommodation resort includes three restaurants, a bar/cafe, award winning spa, a 27-hole golf course, health and fitness centre with outdoor hot pool, heated swimming pool, mountain bikes and much more. Millbrook is two minutes drive from the nearby historic gold mining village of Arrowtown. The perfect getaway scenario to energize and relax surrounded by mountain air and open space.


crowneplazaCrowne Plaza is centrally located and a walking distance to everything you need in Queenstown. The hotel offers fine hospitality and a magnificent scenery. This modern hotel provides luxury at its best to make your stay enjoyable and dynamic: an on-site gym, meeting rooms and 24-hour room service. Or relax and invigorate at the in-house spa and wellness centre with a variety of facial and body treatments.


heritageHeritage Queenstown is located just outside the town centre. The hotel offers  alpine-style accommodation with stunning views over Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown. Heritage Queenstown buildings are the typical mountain style accommodation made from centuries-old-schist stone and cedar. The world-class services and facilities feature a heated indoor/outdoor swimming pool, sauna, gym and an elegant restaurant. Great choice for guests interested in experiencing comfort and sophistication.


Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.20.44 amVilla del Lago offers quality self-catering apartments on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, just 2 minutes drive from Queenstown. With stunning views to the Remarkables Mountains and across the lake, the property has its own pebbled beach. Villa del Lago features ski, bicycle and sports storage and is close to all the attractions Queenstown has to offer, from vineyards to ski fields to bungy jump and world-class golf. Impeccable surroundings and quietude by the lakeside Frankton walkway and cycle path, and located only a 20 minute walk from the Queenstown centre.


Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.23.49 amMillennium Hotel Queenstown is located in central Queenstown and only 2 minutes away from local shopping and entertainment areas and close to all ski fields. It features sauna, spa, gym, massage therapist, sightseeing and activities desk. Millennium’s Observatory restaurant speciality is modern New Zealand cuisine and the Club Bar is ideal to relax after a great day outdoors. Millennium Hotel Queenstown offers luxury and elegance committed to minimize environmental impact.


Hotel ExteriorHilton Queenstown Resort & Spa situated on the eastern shore of Lake Wakatipu in the Kawarau village. The Resort & Spa facilities include indoor pool, a fitness centre and the Eforea spa. The rooms offer spectacular views to the lake or mountains and amenities to keep guests focused at work or relaxed in the luxurious bath or in front of the fireplace. At Wakatipu Grill Restaurant guests can sample local seasonal produce while enjoying the scenic views and the Cru Wine Bar & Lounge specializes in local and international wines. Workout in the fitness centre, take a swim in the 25-metre heated lap pool or indulge in a treatment at the Eforea Spa. Pure indulgement for travellers interested in vineyards and fine dining.


(Contact Angel Association New Zealand at [email protected]  to get the promotional code for discounted delegate rates at these hotels).

ABAF 2015, Queenstown, NZ – the Social Scene

Get amongst it!

ABAF 2015 and the lively social scene of Queenstown

The Asian Business Angels Forum being held in the extraordinary scenery and atmosphere of Queenstown will add to a valuable experience. This lake and alpine resort region surrounded by magnific mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu is inspiring and revitalising.

This summit is a wonderful opportunity to connect with the most refined and active angels from around the globe to learn more about exits, the best practices, investing trends, succeding in the changing early-stage investment environment, and how to attract cross-border invetments.

We do hope you enjoy your time and be indulged by Queenstown’s top restaurants. Some of them are listed below:


bbq TSS Earnslaw / Walter Peak – Thursday dinner: The ultimate kiwi experience. Enjoy a lake cruise on board TSS Earnslaw and feel like going back in time. Admire the sumptuous alpine scenery before disembarking on Walter Peak for a gourmet BBQ dinner. Indulge best-quality meats, delicious vegetables, salads and finish with a delightful selection of desserts.



Rata: The award winning restaurant owned by internationally    acclaimed Michelin starred-chef Josh   Emett added to the heritage building and relaxed decor holds all the elements to a top-notch cuisine experience.





Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 10.25.58 am


Amisfield Winery & Bistro: Located in the quintessential building housing the cellar door and bistro offering exquisite selection of seasonal dishes that compliment the fruit purity quality of the Amisfield wines.









Botswana Butchery: The restaurant offers a diverse menu with a speciality on fine cut beef and local organic foods accompanied by the perfect wine from the impressive private 1800 bottle cellar.



Early-stage board governance

Improve your chance of success with AANZ’s governance course!

A board is a valuable asset to any company. In the development of early stage, high growth ventures the board is critical.

On Monday 30 March, 9.30am to 4.30pm the AANZ are running the second iteration of a course we are building to build governance capability.

There will be a charge of $350+gst per person to attend the course. This compares to the usual IoD course charges of around $800 for full day courses!

The board is one of the most useful mechanisms through which angels can help founders navigate risks. Particularly those inherent in a period of extreme uncertainty where the customers, business model (and more) are being validated.

At an earlier iteration of the workshop Marcel van den Assum explained, “boards in angel backed companies are navigating the ledge… constantly! So its about bringing some discipline to how the company grows without moving away from where the excitement is.” Drawing on his experience in growing and selling Greenbutton he went on to say “during the early stages when the activities of the business are about discovery not execution a level of intellectual engagement and willingness to use your own resources and networks is necessary.

“It’s all about managing risk, which includes finding mentoring for special elements of the business and so much more…it’s complex! But it is extremely rewarding when an early-stage board is operating effectively” he concludes.

Recognising angel investors have an important part to play on these boards and that they should be willing to roll up their sleeves and get involved with the executive team, the AANZ will work with the Institute of Directors to develop a specific early-stage board directors’ course.

Designed to up-skill angels and assist our investee companies to grow faster, stronger and more successfully the course includes information on how to;

  • give founders the confidence to move forward
  • manage the “softer side” of a high growth company, including making sure that the founders don’t burn out
  • introduce the company to sales channels and resources.
    manage the cadence and speed of business development.
    devise frameworks for making tough calls with imprecise information
  • define leading indicators; and,
  • govern according to the requisite legal structures

If you would like to take part (and in turn contribute to its development) the AANZ has some capacity to support angels who need to travel to Auckland. Email [email protected] for more information.

Tom McKaskill talks Angel/Founder alignment #AANZSummit14

Angel Association New Zealand Summit 2014

Each year’s Angel Association New Zealand Annual Summit brings keynote speakers from around the world to share their knowledge and networks.

In 2015 we will hold a special Summit, merging it with 2015’s Asian Business Angel Forum and welcoming Angels who are looking for opportunities to do business with New Zealanders.

In 2014 we welcomed Australian entrepreneur and Angel investor Tom McKaskill as guest speaker and panel member. Tom McKaskill has some pithy advice for angel investors and angel backed companies. He encourages us to build ventures that acquirers can exploit quickly on a global basis and create alignment early on.

Read more from Tom here

To view this video on youtube click here

ABAF2015, NZ

John Huston: Knowledge and Insights #AANZSummit14

Angel Association New Zealand Summit 2014

Angel Association New Zealand Annual Summit 2014 welcomed leading American Angel John Huston as keynote speaker and panel member to share his knowledge and insights with the New Zealand Angel investing community.

Read more from John Huston here:



Download resources shared by John Huston here:



To view this video on youtube click here

ABAF2015, NZ

Marcel van den Assum’s Intro #AANZSummit14

Angel Association New Zealand Summit 2014

Review some of the greatest moments from AANZ Annual Summit 2014 in Auckland.

We have prepared a selection of videos from some of our notable speakers. This first one features Suse Reynolds’ opening and introduction to the Angel Association New Zealand Annual Summit 2014 from Chairman, Marcel van den Assum and guest Hon. Stephen Joyce, MP.

Read more from Marcel van den Assum here


To view this youtube video click here

Jim Connor talks Acquisition Strategies #AANZSummit14

Angel Association New Zealand Summit 2014

Angel Association New Zealand Annual Summit 2014 welcomed Jim Connor, Board Director and founder of Californian Sandhill Angels to speak about how to find and engage with acquirers, all the elements needed and how to obtain information in the process of planning acquisition strategies.

Read more from Jim Connor here


To view this video on youtube click here

Hon. Stephen Joyce introduces #AANZSummit14

Angel Association New Zealand Summit 2014

In Auckland, New Zealand, October 2014, over 120 Angels, members of networks and funds across New Zealand, along with international guests from the United States, Australia and Singapore came together for 2 days of mind sharing, networking and collegiality.

The event was introduced by AANZ Chair Marcel van den Assum followed by Minister Stephen Joyce who gave an opening address acknowledging the special role angel investors play across the country. The work they do, by choice, contributing to building the confidence, capabilities and capacity of entrepreneurs, investing in them to achieve success was recognised as bringing significant benefit to New Zealand’s economy and its positioning as an innovative and future focused country.

To view this video on youtube click here

ABAF2015, NZ

Angels & equity crowdfunding

The oldest equity crowdfunding market in the world is the UK. That market began in 2011, and has grown with an average annual growth rate of 410%.

It took until 2013 for angels and VCs to take much notice of equity crowdfunding in the UK. Now it is commonplace to see co-investment. In the UK 43.3% of angels invested through equity crowdfunding in 2014. 30% of seed investment in the UK was sourced through equity crowdfunding platforms in 2014. That figure is estimated to be 50% in 2015.

We’ve seen the first publicly listed company raise funds through equity crowdfunding. Currently we’re watching the first offer from a company that intends to list immediately after the offer closes.

We’re keen to shortcut the time taken to get angel / VC buy-in to equity crowdfunding in New Zealand.

Here are my thoughts on how angels and equity crowdfunding can benefit from working together in 2015.

Inspiring new angels

The AANZ and angel networks across the country do a good job of shining a spotlight on funding early stage businesses. However general awareness is still low, and angel networks can appear exclusive or inaccessible to many investors eligible to participate.

Equity crowdfunding inspires new angels in a number of ways:

  • Accessibility: Investment opportunities are broadcast widely, reaching many who would otherwise not hear about these opportunities.
  • Small investments: Most equity crowdfunding offers have a small minimum investment amount, such as $500 or $1000. This enables people to start investing in this asset class earlier in their lives. You can easily diversify $10,000 across a range of investments.
  • Learning: One problem with growing the number of angel investors is education. People will be reluctant to invest if they don’t feel that they know enough about the space. Equity crowdfunding gives newbies access to the same offer information, Q&A, and commentary as experienced investors. So everyone is part of the same conversation about an opportunity.

Many future members of angel networks will first invest in unlisted equities through equity crowdfunding. Angel networks should look at this future state identifying ways to use equity crowdfunding platforms as a feeder for their membership.


Equity crowdfunding is carving out its space in the funding ecosystem. It will never replace angel investment or the other funding sources. That’s because some businesses are simply better suited to private angel investment or other channels.

At Snowball Effect we’ve had expressions of interest in equity crowdfunding from nearly 600 Kiwi companies. We always ask ourselves what value the company should be trying to capture alongside the cash. If that value is deep domain expertise from experienced individuals, for example, we’ll discuss whether introductions to suitable angel investors is the better path.

Further, we believe that very early stage businesses are generally not suited to public offers. Companies best suited to funding through convertible notes are not right for equity crowdfunding (the regulations don’t permit offers of convertible securities).

Companies should be aware of the range of funding options, and they should pursue the option which provides most value to their business. We’re committed to referring companies elsewhere if appropriate, and hope angels acknowledge and understand the equity crowdfunding option and can provide the same guidance to companies.


Each offer through Snowball Effect has attracted multiple individual investments of $50,000 or more. Private investors are using this channel, and we’ll continue to build that part of the market.

2015 will be the year where we see the first official co-investment between equity crowdfunding investors and an angel group.

The benefits are clear:

  • For angel networks, it provides an efficient way to top up a funding round.
  • For equity crowdfunding investors, it provides comfort that sophisticated investors have assessed the opportunity and have committed.
  • For the company, it’s an opportunity to harness the benefits of wide brand exposure and shareholder advocates that come with a public offer.

We’d love to hear your feedback on these collaboration opportunities.

Please get in touch with any thoughts or comments at [email protected]

This is a guest post by Josh Daniell who blogs regularly here.

Grow your wings!

If you are a successful, exited entrepreneur who is looking to re-invest some of your returns and share your knowledge and skills with new entrepreneurs who are starting up, commercialising new ideas then Angel Association Summit 2014 is for you. #AngelSummit14:

• Meet members of Angel Groups and funds from all over New Zealand
Get to know those that run the private funds, investment groups. Learn how they work and what they are interested in.

• Get connected with the activity in the entrepreneurial eco-system
See evidence of the deal-flow. Meet people behind some of New Zealand’s most exciting and promising startups.

• Build your capacity
Gain relationships with a range successful people, understand how deals come together and strategic partnerships add the most value.

• Build your capability
Acquire contacts with a wealth of experience and knowledge who build substantial enterprises across multiple industries and markets.

• Learn about risk-mitigating government co-investment tools
Know what’s available to seed and early-stage investors.

Come to the Angel Association Summit which has been called:

“One of the TOP angel summits in the WORLD,”
– Bill Payne, US Angel Capital Association Hans Severiens Award Winner

Find out more about the Angel Association Summit 14.

Book one of the remaining tickets to the Angel Association Summit 14. 


Guest post: John Huston, Keynote Speaker, AANZSummit#14

Tags: Angel Summit

“Having previously visited your gorgeous country I’m excited about returning, but this trip will be even more fun because instead of being a tourist I’ll be getting to interact with your innovation community and business angels.

I very much look forward to comparing and contrasting your angel investing strategies and tactics with ours.

Over the last 15 years that I’ve been investing in early stage ventures, I’ve been quite fortunate to have interacted with many angels and angel groups outside the U.S.

I’m always interested first in learning about the various types of governmental programs aimed at fostering the country’s entrepreneurial spirit. Then I like to understand how the angels’ optimize the impact of these programs. And, naturally, I like to compare notes on what is working in each locale to build entrepreneurial wealth.

It seems that in every country I leave with a few more “best practices” to add to my inventory and I’m confident that will be one of the pleasing outcomes of my visit.

I’m less confident I can provide much wisdom to reciprocate, but I can share some of the approaches we’ve tried that have not worked. Candidly, I think the 340 members of my angel group feel that sometimes knowing what to avoid doing has more value than thinking there is one silver bullet in this angel investing realm. We do think there is some silver buckshot, however, and I can’t wait trade buckshot stories with your angels.”

John Huston, Ohio TechAngel Funds

Find out more about the Angel Association Summit 14.

Book one of the remaining tickets to the Angel Association Summit 14. 


How Are We Doing? Early-stage Investment Portfolio’s revealed

Facilitated by special international guest Tom McKaskill, this session of the Angel Association Summit 14 will deliver a glimpse of the portfolio’s of some of NZ’s most significant Funds and Networks. Each presenter will speak for 5 minutes and give delegates and exclusive inside view of their portfolio.

This level of intel is not available publicly and will see delegates to the Summit walk away with a significant increase in their understanding of portfolio management and the role of a strategic approach to building a portfolio. Each presenter will detail the number of deals in each portfolio, how these deals were sourced and over what period, then touch briefly on the approach taken to deal acquisition and success. And finally, in general terms, address how their returns are tracking.

There will also be an opportunity for delegates to ask questions and in the ensuing discussion Tom will explore questions such as:

  • Has the approach to deal acquisition and management changed over the years?
  • What are the significant lessons learned from the deals that work and the deals that don’t?
  • What methods are used for tracking portfolio performance? And
  • How to extract yourself from deals that are not performing

With this level of information the Angel Association of New Zealand is aiming to empower delegates with the ability to make comparisons with their own portfolios and improve their awareness on how to measure portfolio performance, and increase their returns.

To get access to this session, the discussion and meet the presenters Angel Investors need to register to attend the Summit.

Find out more about the Angel Association Summit 14.

Book one of the remaining tickets to the Angel Association Summit 14. 


Angels seek new investments

Angel investors are still investing in New Zealand start-ups, pouring $23.1 million into new companies in the first half of the year and showing more appetite for new rather than follow on funds, as measured by the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund’s Young Company Finance Index.

That’s slightly down on the record $23.7 million in the first half of 2013 but shows that angel activity in the early part of the tech company pipeline is in good health, said NZVIF chief executive Franceska Banga, releasing the latest index update.

A trend this half year has been a shift back to new investment rather than follow-up money. Of the $23.1 million invested in the last six months, 53 per cent was follow-on investment and 47 per cent new compared to 80 per cent follow-on and 20 per cent new in the same period in 2013.

Angel Association chairman Marcel van den Assum said it was a little early to tell if it was a sustainable shift but could be a sign the market was maturing with investors saying ‘no’ to follow on investments when companies don’t meet milestones.

Read more at TVNZ OneNews Business Desk

For the latest from NZVIF download Startup here


Who will buy your Angel backed company?

Tags: Angel Summit

The importance of understanding a potential acquirer’s acquisition strategy can not be understated for Angels who want to maximise their portfolio’s. Ascertaining the acquirer’s budget, their ability to resource the acquisition and whether they have the right people to leverage their acquisition is essential before approaching the valuation discussion.

Jim Connor presenter at the Angel Association Summit of New Zealand 2014, a Board Director and founder of Sandhill Angels in California will discuss these elements and how to obtain this information in the process of planning acquisition strategies during his session on day one of the highly praised early-stage investment conference. He has enormous experience with emerging technology companies, including starting them, building them and selling them.

For twenty years Jim has been active in financial software applications – most recently the President of JPMorgan SymPro the leading provider of Treasury Management software to the public sector, specifically focusing on investment management, bond issuance/debt management and the integration of treasury and liquidity operations.

With this vast wealth of experience, insight and knowledge Jim’s 20-minute presentation on how to woo an acquirer is an essential session for Angel’s who really want to drive satisfying returns. Jim will cover how to find acquirers, what are they looking for and elaborate on some of the nitty gritty of negotiating and closing a deal.

Following his presentation, in conversation with John Huston, keynote speaker at the 2014 Angel Association Summit, Jim will discuss how to begin engaging with acquirers, where, with whom.

Having been embedded in financial services and software and the early-stage investment eco-system in the USA for many years the pair will share what they know about acquisition deal sizes at the moment, how they compare with NZ and give a clear understanding of the key things that can derail a deal.

Of particular interest will be their views on the variance across sectors and the nuances of ensuring your investees existing contractual relationships allow for acquisition. The role IP play’s in an acquisition is a subject on which both are experts and they will give examples so delegates to the Angel Association Summit will get a clear understanding of the path to acquisition and what motivates acquirers.

The Angel Association Summit 2014 is in Auckland at stunning Orakei Bay, October 15-17. It is New Zealand’s only angel-centric gathering with members of the Angel Association Council, Lead investors, Fund and Group Mangers from around the country in attendance. The line-up of valuable sessions along with the terrific venue makes this AngelSummit#14 a special event and as always a high point on the early-stage eco-system calendar.

Note: There is limited capacity at the venue so register now to avoid missing out!
Find out more about the Angel Association Summit 14. 

Book one of the remaining tickets to the Angel Association Summit 14. 



Strong early-stage board’s are a must

I am looking forward to my fireside chat with Dr Tom Mackaskill and digging into the details of board stewardship for success at this years Angel Association Summit in October. So much of what we do as Angel Investors is about the people and strategy, it’s important to know what conversations should take place and with whom in the companies we invest in.

Tom is a good overseas friend of the Angel Association of New Zealand, a global serial entrepreneur, educator, author and successful angel investor. An authority on how entrepreneurs start, develop and harvest their ventures, Tom has become one of the world’s experts on exit strategies for high growth enterprises.

Our session on the first day of the Summit will begin with a 20-minute presentation from Tom on the importance of alignment between the board and the founder in particular. Drawing on his experience with multiple start-ups in the UK and USA, raising venture capital twice, undertaking two acquisitions and strategic trade sales of three businesses, Tom will also share the benefits of getting aligned with other shareholders and employees to give ventures the best chance for liquidity success. Then together we’ll dig into some detail around the complexities of young company governance in a ‘fire-side’ chat.

We will explore the most important things for founders to be aware of, and share some lessons learned where things have gone horribly wrong. The difference between a financial exit and a strategic exit is a critical distinction we aim to clarify, along with highlighting the importance of maintaining an inventory of strategic exits and capability.

We also aim to cover off how the deal documentation can best reflect alignment and international trends NZ angels should be aware of when putting together boards and getting alignment.

My goal is that you will have a clear understanding of the key components of aligning for liquidity success and how to operationalise these by the end of the session. You’ll have a checklist to take away with you to use in the future.

The Angel Asociation Summit #14 is just one, but an important part of the work the Angel Association does to improve the quality of early-stage investments and capability of investors in NZ. It is a great event, which over its seven year history has grown to become one of the leading Angel events in the world. This year our AngelSummit#14 is being held at the beautiful Orakei Bay venue in Auckland which has a limited capacity so registering now is a good idea. It’s a once a year opportunity to get this kind of insight first hand.

I look forward to meeting you there.

Find out more about the Angel Association Summit 14

Book one of the remaining tickets to the Angel Association Summit 14


The Money’s In… Now What? 

Taking place 15 – 17 October 2014, the Angel Association Summit’s goal is to answer the question “the money’s in – now what?

This summit will focus on providing Angels and those who are considering early-stage investing practical insights on managing your angel venture to best ensure success after the first round of funding has been secured.

You’ll hear from seasoned investors and top advisers about the importance of a capital strategy, about board stewardship and alignment in a high growth company.
An important highlight will be the sessions on how to successfully court acquirers and how to manage market disrupting intellectual property for commercial success.

Brian Casey, Ice Angels Chairman commented about previous Amgel Association summits that “ the highlight for me was the caliber of speakers at the Angel Association conference. I would strongly recommend our members consider attending for the valuable insights gained.”

This year the Angel Association have raised the bar further with four “walking Wikipedias” of Angel Investment and success as our guest speakers.
John Huston is the founder of Ohio Tech Angels,
Catherine Mott is a former chair of the US Angel Capital Association,
Jim Connor is the former President of Sand Hill Angels; and
Australian Angel Tom McKaskill who is renowned for his work on liquidity success.

The Angel Asociation Summit #14 is being held in Auckland at stunning Orakei Bay, October 15-17. In keeping with our desire to keep this event an angel-centric, intimate gathering, this terrific venue has limited capacity so register now to avoid missing out!

Find out more about the Angel Association Summit 14

Book one of the remaining tickets to the Angel Association Summit 14


Smart IP strategy… simple or not?

Day two of the Angel Association Summit 2014, in Auckland, October 15-17 features a presentation from Agricultural technology entrepreneur Greg Mirams who has worked with many angels across the New Zealand, and received investment from Enterprise Angels in his two interrelated companies.

Greg will share personal experiences and views on the role of intellectual property in angel deals. With a particular focus on life science ventures, an important sector of New Zealand’s growing start-up eco-system, this session promises to provide valuable insights to Angels.

Those who participate in the discussion following the presentation will deal with questions key to the success of life science ventures including how to use IP to create investment and acquisition tension.

Greg and Angel delegates will also address the issue of Angels simplifying their approach to IP and protection strategies, including answering the question: how important is it that the company owns the IP? And, can an exclusive license suffice?

This important session will deliver Angel investors with a better appreciation of how to leverage intellectual property and the complexities and role of this asset at every stage from valuation to exit.

Delegates will also have a better understanding of the right questions to ask their IP lawyers and advisors including strategies around deal terms that vest the IP with the investor in the event of the venture’s failure.

For Angels who understand it is important to build a clear picture for themselves of forming IP strategies for use in deals they will make in the future this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity.

Find out more about the Angel Association Summit 14.

Book one of the remaining tickets to the Angel Association Summit 14.


How do NEW Angel investors know how to really help entrepreneurs?

View from the other side:

Delegates to this year’s Angel Association Summit, Auckland, 16-17 October, will have the opportunity to formulate some answers to this question. The comprehensive Summit programme, full of crucial information for Angels to apply in their investment activities, gives Angels a rare opportunity to “walk in the founder’s shoes”.

During the session on day two they will gain some understanding of “the other side of the deal” from three of New Zealand’s brightest founders. Marie-Claire Andrews from ShowGizmo, Paul Cameron from Booktrack, and most recent investee Rachel Lacy from Drikolor will tell their investment story. They will explain what they loved and loathed about the process and the changes it’s meant for them and their businesses.

In part two of the session John Huston, special guest and keynote speaker at the Summit will lead a discussion around founder-friendly vs investor-friendly term sheets, the role of angel investors in explaining deal terms, setting expectations, aligning for exit and follow-on funding.

The session, conceived by Robbie Paul, Startup Funding Manager from Ice Angels and Suse Reynolds, Executive Director, Angel Association of New Zealand gives an opportunity to understand from the entrepreneurs perspective, what executing for success might look like.

An important addition to the Angel Association Summit’s two day networking, intel and insights experience. This is the first in a series of initiatives with the aim to improve founder/investor relationships and communication.

A critical element of the Angel Association of New Zealand’s work is to increase the quality and quantity of early-stage deals the majority of which require close collaboration including shared understanding and language in order to set the right milestones, deal with missed and unexpected opportunities.

Find out more about the Angel Association Summit 14.

Book one of the remaining tickets to the Angel Association Summit 14.


New Tech Incubators – addressing the scarcity of great angel food?

Angels are always looking for great deals.

Great deals have three key characteristics – a really clever product, a lucrative addressable market, and a smart team of people who have the skills and experience to deliver that product to the market.

Last week the Minister of Science and Innovation, Stephen Joyce, announced the successful candidates for the government’s new tech incubator programme. This programme aspires to get more of the wonderful products being researched and explored in New Zealand’s Crown Research Institutes and universities commercialized and into global markets.

“Commercialisation” means different things to different people. To an angel investor it means the relevant intellectual property is owned by a commercial entity they can invest in – a startup company.

New Zealand’s record of generating successful startups from publically funded research is patchy. To be fair, government’s around the world grapple with this. It’s difficult and costly. A huge funnel of opportunities is needed to find the tiny proportion of ideas that will kick on to be profitable companies and substantial sums of venture funding are usually needed.

Angel investors are willing the winning tech incubators – PowerHouse (an Angel Association member), Astrolab and WNT Ventures – to succeed.

A key motivator for angel investors is their desire to lift New Zealand higher – economically and aspirationally. They are keen to see innovative opportunities coming out of as yet largely untapped deal sources. And they are keen to help with their money, their expertise and their networks.

Collaboration will be vital – nationally and internationally.

We all have a stake in seeing this initiative work.

Company incubator network expands

Tags: Incubator

New Zealand’s nationwide network of business incubators is being expanded, with the introduction of a new type of technology-focused incubator designed to get more high-growth start-ups off the ground, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

The list of incubators approved by the Callaghan Innovation Board includes three of the new technology-focused incubators and five founder-focused incubators, previously known as Business Incubators. The technology-focused incubators will have access to the pilot repayable grant programme announced in Budget 2013.

“The response from the market has been really positive, with a considerable number of high quality applications from across New Zealand,” Mr Joyce says.

“It has been encouraging to see a number of new applicants entering the incubation space and the keen interest in the new technology incubators.”

After a rigorous assessment process and a final recommendation from an independent panel, the Callaghan Innovation Board approved the following applicants:

Technology-focused incubators:

  • PowerHouse (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin)
  • Astrolab (Auckland)
  • WNT Ventures (Tauranga)

Founder-focused incubators:

  • The Icehouse Ltd (Auckland)
  • The Bio Commerce Centre (Palmerston North)
  • Creative HQ Ltd (Wellington)
  • eCentre Ltd (Auckland)
  • Soda Inc Ltd (Hamilton)

Callaghan Innovation and the successful applicants are now in contract negotiations.

Mr Joyce says there was a high rate of collaboration between parties on proposals, especially within regions.

“Collaboration bodes well for developing and growing new companies in our high tech sector, which is crucial to growing our economy. If we can work smarter across industries and improve our access to innovation we will have a competitive edge in this dynamic and challenging sector,” Mr Joyce says.

The Incubator Support Programme from Callaghan Innovation offers support and funding to two types of business incubator companies, the existing founder focused incubator model and the new technology focused incubators.

Technology-focused incubators are privately owned businesses that will focus on commercialising complex intellectual property primarily sourced from publicly funded research organisations, such as universities and Crown Research Institutes.

Technology-focused incubators will be able to access a new repayable grants tool on behalf of the start-up companies they incubate. These grants will be administered by Callaghan Innovation. The Government will contribute up to $450,000 over two years to eligible companies resident in technology-focused incubators, matched 1:3 with incubator owners contributing up to $150,000. The Government grants will be repayable out of the company’s revenue. This pilot repayable grants programme has been allocated $31.3m over four years.

First published on beehive.govt.nz on Friday July 9 2014


Seed co-investing critical to early-stage environment

As NZVIF celebrates its 100th investment in early stage ventures through the SCIF fund, the government is casting a critical eye over its future.

In my view, SCIF contributes a lot more than capital.

It enables Angel investors and companies to go further.

Since its inception in 2006 it has been instrumental in establishing crucial, professional, early stage investment disciplines and process that added credibility to an evolving sector.

The 100 investments it has made to date have provided a goldmine of early-stage benchmarking data that otherwise would not have developed.

And, having SCIF as a shareholder investor has given additional credibility to New Zealand start-up deals because it only co-funds with certified angels (with established professional disciplines).

It is too early in the life of SCIF to draw any RoI conclusions from current performance, which is indicative of any portfolio of high risk / high reward companies. Another 3-5 years of sustainability is critical to enable the portfolio to achieve its full potential. SCIF has extended the capital angels could put into deals, and like the members of the Angel Asociation’s groups and funds, being consistent with its support will help it realise greater returns.

Further more, growing the number of NZ angels requires certainty in terms of government policy levers. Our’s is an environment that by its very nature is dynamic, the support SCIF has provided thus far has helped New Zealand’s early-stage investment community to flourish.

I applaud the recent media profile through articles in Business Day by Andrew Duff and Fiona Rotherham in support of the significant value SCIF has generated for the NZ start up eco-system.

I look forward to reading more from the members of AANZ groups and funds providing their views.

SCIF crucial to co-invest with Angels

A seed fund that has proved critical for co-investing with angel groups in promising Kiwi start-ups is close to running out of money and is asking for a government top-up until it becomes self-sustaining.

Already the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund’s (NZVIF) Seed Co-Investment Fund is facing constraints in who it now partners, given it has only enough cash to last less than another two years if it continues investing at its current level of $5.4 million a year.

NVIF established the seed fund (SCIF) in 2006 to support the development of formal angel investment – the next step beyond family, friends and high-net-worth individuals – in New Zealand. The way it works is angel groups apply to partner with SCIF and any private capital investment is then matched dollar for dollar by the government-funded SCIF, up to a half-million-dollar limit per company.

The fund has invested in 116 companies and spent a total of $29.93m of the Government’s $40m establishment capital.

Returns to date from the five companies it has exited – which include HaloIPT and Green Button – have brought in $3.6m. Although the fund is allowed to recycle those returns into new investments, it’s not likely to generate enough in the next two years to keep going without a further capital injection or a government underwrite.

NZVIF chief executive Franceska Banga said they were talking to the government now about further funding of about $20 million to $25m by 2016.

The fund should be on track to become sustainable from its returns by 2018 or 2019, said fund investment manager Chris Twiss.

“We have to get some certainty around the funding as we’re hamstrung at the moment in forming new partnerships and it’s impacting on our operations,” Twiss said.

The seed fund’s portfolio ranges from hi-tech robotics to healthcare, agri-tech to paint tinting technology and more than 40 per cent of investments are software related.

Banga said it was too early to predict overall investment performance as most of the companies were still at an early stage – averaging three years of investment. It takes on average seven to eight years for returns to come through.

As of last year the fund had about 20 per cent of companies that had failed or were no longer having additional funding by its investors, which is in line with the experience of overseas seed funds. Twiss said about 10 had been liquidated and a further 20 had just gone dormant, with investors deciding not to throw good money after bad.

These funds are inherently high risk, although the seed fund’s risk is lower through being diversified among its partners. Banga said the common thread among the non-performers included technology failing to live up to its initial promise, poor alignment between the founder and investors on the company’s future direction, not having the right capabilities within the company to make it grow, and being too slow to come to market ahead of competitors.

Although the fund kicked off in 2007, it took a while to establish partnerships with angel groups and make investments. It has partnered with 15 angel groups since its establishment…

Read more on Stuff.co.nz


Investment leads to solving dairying dilemma with data

Software gives farmers a simple tool to help keep waterways clean.

Wellington agritech firm ReGen is helping dairy farmers manage a key issue – disposing of the effluent that cows produce.

The company’s ReGen Effluent system uses on-farm hardware that constantly measures soil moisture, soil temperature and rainfall, then transmits that data to ReGen’s servers, where it is processed by the company’s software.

On-farm systems that record such measurements aren’t new, but ReGen’s innovation lies in its software, which turns the data into a simple daily recommendation. This is sent to the farmer by text message, instructing them either to irrigate effluent out on to their farm, or not.

It’s an important daily decision for farmers, says Bridgit Hawkins, ReGen’s chief executive. “Irrigate effluent on to ground that’s too wet, for example, and it can either run off the surface or flow straight through the soil; either way, potentially ending up in waterways.”

There are tools that allow farmers to check via their computers how much rain they’ve had or what their soil moisture is, but the farmer is still left asking “what does that mean for me on my farm for this particular activity today?”, says Hawkins.

“That’s what we feel is really innovative about us, because generating that recommendation is quite a hard thing to do. It’s easy to display some data on a graph, but much harder to decipher what that means, relative to the key activities on a farm.”

ReGen has customers around New Zealand, but is particularly focused on Southland, where the regional council is relatively prescriptive in terms of how farmers manage effluent, says Hawkins.

“Our customers tend to be early adopters of technology, but we’re now starting to see the next wave of ‘fast followers’ come on board. There’s increasing regulatory pressure on farmers to address environmental issues related to a number of different farm activities, and that’s leading to further opportunities for the company.”

ReGen is also developing a service related to water irrigation, and this year launched a product to help farmers make decisions on the use of nitrogen fertilisers for grass growth.

“Again, there’s a real environmental benefit from using the nitrogen tool, because every time a farmer applies nitrogen and it’s not used to grow grass it ultimately ends up being leached,” says Hawkins. “That’s wasted money for farmers in terms of the cost of the fertiliser, but it’s also a part of how nitrogen ends up in waterways.”

ReGen was formed in 2010, but the genesis of its technology stretches back to 2006, when Hawkins was leading the rural development programme at data science firm Harmonic, and doing some work with researchers at Massey University.

One of the researchers’ areas of interest was deferred irrigation – delaying irrigating out effluent until conditions are right. Mixing that with Harmonic’s data-science focus sparked the ReGen Effluent concept, which was subsequently backed by other industry partners and government R&D support.

In 2011 the firm also attracted interest from New Zealand’s angel investment community, led by life-science/clean-tech investors and venture developers Pacific Channel and the Wellington-based angel investment group Angel HQ.

It was novice angel investor Paul Waddington’s first angel investment and he says several things piqued his interest in the company: Hawkins’ track record in the agricultural sector; the relatively large domestic opportunity for the technology; and its offshore potential.

“The other major attraction with ReGen is it’s a decision-support tool,” says Waddington. “It’s doing more than just gathering and displaying data; it’s actually making recommendations, which is the future in terms of technology, particularly with the advent of big data.”

Produced in conjunction with the Angel Association of New Zealand.

First published in the New Zealand Herald on Friday July 4 2014

Govt support accelerates start-up investment

The governments Seed Co-Investment Fund continuing to partner with early-stage investors is important to the growth of the start-up investment activities in New Zealand. Andrew Duff, chairman and co-founder of Sparkbox Ventures explains in Business Day.

Angel investing has gone from pretty much nothing to a decent niche in our capital markets over the past decade.

In 2001, when Sparkbox Ventures was starting out, there were scarcely any other groups on the scene. Stephen Tindall’s prolific K1W1 vehicle was active. Ice Angels, one of New Zealand’s largest angel network groups, didn’t start until 2003. It was a niche area and the concept of angel investing was largely unknown.

Now the Angel Association of New Zealand has active members all over the country. There are around 15 active angel groups. Successful business people and entrepreneurs are joining, investing in and mentoring new companies.

Around $50 million a year is being invested by formal angel networks, with probably as much again by angels outside these groups.

There are a number of reasons why, but an important one is the SCIF programme run by the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, which co-invests alongside 4 angel groups. The government is currently reviewing SCIF and considering whether to commit another chunk of capital to keep the programme going and growing.

It is right to review it.

No programme of this nature is perfect and can always be improved (speed of approvals and flexibility of terms, for example). But if the government considers that professional angel investing is a valuable component in our capital markets, it should approve SCIF mark two.

Lack of capital remains a major constraint on start-up businesses.

Capital is the fuel that keeps early stage companies going and enables them to accelerate quickly to capture a market opportunity. Many start-ups fail, not because they were a bad idea or poorly executed, but simply because they didn’t have enough cash to survive through to the next investment round, let alone break-even.

What the SCIF programme does, by co-investing alongside angel investors who are also committing capital, is it increases the pool of capital. This increases the chances those start-ups have of surviving, accelerating to gain traction in global markets and, perhaps, becoming our next Mesynthes, Booktrack or Xero.

If the growth we have seen in angel investing continues on its current trajectory, then in another decade the sector should be self-sustaining.

I hope we will have a 1000-plus angel investors linked to 20 to 25 angel groups collectively investing over $100 million a year.

If SCIF is abandoned, we would undoubtedly still make progress, but the industry’s development will be much slower – as it is in Australia, whose angels enviously wish their government would introduce a similar scheme.

Some question why the government is involved with angel investing.

SCIF is neither a subsidy, nor a grant.

It is a co-investment programme which seeks to make a return similar to that of the early stage investment specialists it partners with. Angel investors put in their own capital. NZVIF does likewise. If a company invested into goes belly-up, the angels and NZVIF lose their money. If a company does well, both do well.

The SCIF programme should make money for the Crown commensurate with the investment risk, not lose it.

SCIF provides a longer runway of capital for ventures, thereby improving the prospects of success. This in turn enhances the appeal of this higher risk end of the capital markets, attracting more angels to the industry. It also supports syndication and national collaboration, both of which improve start-ups’ prospects of accessing relevant skills and offshore networks, and increases the capital being raised and further rounds of capital being brought to the venture.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce is pondering the future of the SCIF programme. Without it, New Zealand’s transition to a more diverse and innovative economy will be slower and more difficult.

Andrew Duff is chairman and co-founder of Sparkbox Ventures, an early stage investor that has been investing in New Zealand innovation companies since 2001. www.sparkboxventures.com

Read more on Stuff.co.nz



Excellent outcome for New Zealand Angels

The successful sale of cloud-computing company GreenButton to Microsoft is a win for everyone involved in the venture’s journey from a one-man startup to a globally competitive, international company. It illustrates just why angels like me find investing in high growth startup companies so rewarding.

This transaction is an excellent outcome for New Zealand. It’s something we can all be proud of. Another team of smart Kiwis have shown they can create a terrific piece of software which will be used by potentially millions of people.

Its worth pointing out almost all the capital required to create the company came from New Zealand’s angel and venture investment community, reflecting the degree to which this community syndicates deals and supports each other.

Over 20 individual angels from three networks contributed – Angel HQ in Wellington, Enterprise Angels in Tauranga and Ice Angels in Auckland – as did early stage venture funds Movac, Sparkbox and Evander. Almost all the investors have indicated they will reinvest the returns straight back into their startup communities.

Its also important to acknowledge the support the company has had from the Government, including the NZ Venture Investment Fund, Callaghan Innovation and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

These entities were all instrumental in the company’s success and I am delighted this transaction represents a significantly positive return on the Government’s investment.

– Marcel van den Assum


Icehouse targets startups in more focused programme

Tags: Icehouse, Startup

The Auckland-based global business incubator will focus each year on a maximum of 25 small to medium sized enterprises, down from an annual average of 75.

“In the context of what we are trying to achieve, which is ultimately to create more jobs and create more wealth, it is an expansion. It is not really a contraction,” Icehouse chief executive Andrew Hamilton told BusinessDesk. “What we’re trying to do is dial up the startups that have great international potential that we can support with great expertise, networks and funding.”

Tech-based start-ups which can be developed and brought to market quickly will be the main focus for incubator programme, and there will be no requirement for the businesses supported to remain based in New Zealand, although part of Icehouse’s new focus is to create 25,000 New Zealand jobs by 2020.

Read more from Scoop.co.nz

Investment success story keeps staff in New Zealand

Microsoft has bought a Wellington cloud computing business that can trace its origin to the Lord of the Rings movies.

The software giant has snapped up GreenButton, which has 18 staff, for an undisclosed amount. Microsoft would keep all of GreenButton’s operations in New Zealand and all staff would be retained.

GreenButton, whose clients include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Boeing and animated-movie producer Pixar, will be added to the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform.

Using GreenButton’s solutions, applications can be cloud-enabled quickly without recoding existing software – and without a PhD in computer science.

Investment in GreenButton came from the government’s Venture Investment Fund, Movac founder Phil McCaw, and Datacom founder John Holdsworth. Former Sun Microsystems executive Mark Canepa is a shareholder and sits alongside Mr van den Assum and chief executive Scott Houston – once head of technology at Weta Digital – on the board of directors. Microsoft had not acquired any equity in GreenButton as part of its deal.

Read more from Stuff.co.nz

Angel investee has sound impact on literacy

Launched by New Zealand company Booktrack, the education tool Booktrack Classroom sychronises audio with text, and gives students and teachers free access to hundreds of soundtracked e-books, from famous classics to contemporary titles. Students can also create Booktracks for their own writing, and create a soundtrack from over 20 000 professional-quality audio files, and share it with their classmates.

Booktrack Classroom has multiple uses across Years 1-13 in the reading and writing curriculum, and can be used for creative writing, essay writing, literature study and reading aloud.

As Booktrack expands into the education sector, it builds on a recent successful fundraising round where it secured US$3 million in local and offshore investors, led by Sparkbox Ventures. The funding enables Booktrack to build on its recent growth with Booktrack Studio, where self-published writers are able to add soundtracks to their own ebooks. Launched in September 2013, Booktrack Studio has attracted 300 000 users, who have created more than 3600 Booktracks in 30 different languages.

Read more from TechDay

Incubator merges with tech investment firm

Dunedin’s Upstart business incubator has announced its merger with early stage technology investment firm powerHouse Ventures.

The merger will provide seed funding and support for businesses within the research-based technology sector.

It follows a partnership between Upstart and the Christchurch-based powerHouse Ventures, which was announced in November last year.

Upstart, which is jointly owned by the Dunedin City Council, University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic, has been helping high-growth companies get started since 2004, by providing incubation and angel investment services.

It has a network of investors across the country and now has operations in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.

Read more from Otago Daily News

Exploding Crowdfunding myths

Once again, New Zealand is leading the way in business reform. New laws allowing equity crowdfunding fundamentally change the way that private companies can raise funds, and give them a meaningful, cost effective and efficient way of doing so.

Read more from NBR

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