AANZ 2020 Summit

We are holding it near Auckland at the beautiful Hunting Lodge Winery in Waimauku on Thursday 5 and Friday 6 November.

It will be anchored in the theme Being the Best Kiwi Angel Investor You Can Be 

We are all kinds of excited about the speakers and sessions we are lining up. Cute story… Bridge and John O’Hara were flying back from Dunedin, sitting together chatting about the summit programme and a head popped up from the seat in front. Animation Research’s Ian Taylor apologised for eaves dropping but wondered if he could help!! He was just fantastic at the Waiheke Summit in 2017 so we’ve asked him back and he’s going to talk to us about why “this is the time to be thinking differently”.

Of course we caveat our excitement with the acknowledgment that holding the summit in person is dependent on keeping that gnarly virus in check. Should things go pear shaped and we have to pull the pin, then we will go virtual.

Register here

 

Angel Association welcomes NZGCP’s expanded Aspire mandate

New Zealand Growth Capital’s (NZGCP) announcement today that the mandate for the Aspire programme has been expanded has been welcomed by Angel Association New Zealand (AANZ).

The expanded mandate, to apply until 30 June 2021, does the following:

• Raises the annual investment cap from $12m to $20m,
• Raises the per company maximum investment from $1.5m to $2.5m,
• Relaxes 1:1 matching government to private capital to 2:1, and
• Allows Aspire to co-lead deals.

AANZ Executive Chair, Suse Reynolds, said New Zealand’s high growth startups are in the midst of challenging times but that recessions are precisely when we should be doubling down on investment in the “job creators of tomorrow”.

“Not only are recession vintages some of the best when it comes to the financial returns generated from early stage venture investment, but World Bank and OECD research tells us that these
businesses create most of our net, new job growth,” said Suse.

“We acknowledge that there might be some concern about crowding out private sector investment but the ongoing requirement that Aspire match private sector funding ameliorates this and these are unique circumstances.”

“Early stage investment is a legitimate and financially rational asset class but it is high-risk in very uncertain times. The expanded mandate helps to shore up private sector confidence. It is part of
work we are all doing to at the very least maintain, and maybe even grow the number of deals supporting high-growth, kiwi tech companies.”

Commenting on the co-lead component of the expanded mandate, Suse noted the importance of trust and transparency in early stage venture investing and said this should help increase levels of
syndication and deal success.

–Ends–
For more information, please contact:

Suse Reynolds, AANZ Executive Chair
mobile 021 490 974 or email [email protected]

The Angel Association of New Zealand (AANZ)
The Angel Association is an organisation that aims to increase the quantity, quality and success of angel investments in New Zealand and in doing so create a greater pool of capital for innovative
start-up companies. It was established in 2008 to bring together New Zealand angels and early-stage funds. AANZ currently has 40 members representing over 900 individual angels associated with New Zealand’s key angel networks and funds. AANZ works closely with NZTE, NZVIF and Callaghan Innovation and a number of private sector partners including Jarden, PWC, Avid Legal, Baldwins, KiwiNet, Uniservices, BECA, BNZ and Amazon Web Services.

For more, please visit: www.angelassociation.co.nz

Hillfarrance Venture Capital launches a scout fund

New to the kiwi market, the scout fund is a part of the main Hillfarrance Venture Capital fund and consists of a one million dollar side fund which will be distributed among up to 10 scouts, each investing up to 100 thousand dollars each in businesses of their choosing.

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What’s happening to venture investment in the US

With thanks to US Angel Capital Assn’s Ron Weissman, a super experienced angel, we share his slides on the state of venture investment in the US and his guidance to angel venture directors.

Slide deck

NZ startup gets Sydney Angels support!

Congratulations to JNRY for securing their recent funding round and especially for attracting the investment from Sydney Angels. Great stuff!

In the early days of Australia’s COVID-19 lockdown, we spent a lot of time considering what the economic crisis would mean for startups, and especially for those seeking funding. In particular, the concern was that seed and early-stage funding could be under threat, as individuals became more cautious, and VCs focused on supporting their portfolio companies.

But, this brave new world is never short of surprises. Since then, we’ve reported on a string of investment rounds of all shapes and sizes, including for startups at the earlier end of the scale.

Preezie secured just over half a million in seed funding for its e-commerce tech, and just this week, Antler announced the 13 startups that have secured $100,000 apiece in initial capital and a place in the second stage of the startup’s generator program.

Read more

 

 

Supporting Movac Fund 5

Movac is launching their Fund 5 this week pointing out that recessions create great venture vintages.

This week we start our contribution to the rebuild of the Aotearoa New Zealand economy. Movac’s part is to accelerate the launch of our fifth technology investment fund, Fund 5. There is much work to do and we’re incredibly motivated to play a significant part working alongside New Zealand’s outstanding technology founders and our committed group of investors to help define and shape our collective future.

This has been an incredibly disruptive and challenging time. Lives and countless jobs have been lost in New Zealand and around the world. We’ve all had to learn how to work and live differently, but now is not the time to pause but to find the opportunities in those changes. We need to get busy redefining and growing the next wave of tech businesses in New Zealand.

History tells us that it in periods of significant disruption we see the most significant technology innovations. We launched Movac Fund 3 during the Global Financial Crisis and had the privilege to invest in companies like PowerByProxi, sold to Apple in 2017, and GreenButton, sold to Microsoft in 2013. Vend and Unleashed were created during the GFC and our 4th fund has subsequently invested in those business. Xero, RocketLabs and PushPay started just before and grew up through the GFC. Trade Me started at the beginning of the dot.com boom survived the dot.com bust and thrived subsequently.

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Covid advice for angels

Seattle’s Alliance of Angels Dan Rosen – super experienced angel – provides some terrific advice for angels in his recent post.

After publishing my companion piece, “How Startups Survive the COVID-19 Economic Crisis,” I have received a number of comments about how this impacts angels and angel investing. Here are my thoughts.

Unlike VCs, who have a fund to invest and collect a management fee for investing their fund, Angel Investors invest their own money and are under no pressure to invest in any company or at any time. Our decisions to support a startup are totally our own. As in previous market downturns, there will be some themes that help us through our investment decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis.

Angels have limited funds. And many of us already have extensive portfolios. We quickly will be (or already are) in the position of getting funding requests from many of our portfolio companies for new rounds of funding. Some will make it, and some won’t – even great companies with fabulous ideas will fail when the cash dries up, and sometimes Angels alone can’t provide sufficient cash to carry them through.

For Angels, this is a good time for both investing and tough love. Great companies are often started in market downturns. I believe this is because only the most dedicated entrepreneurs (the ones that feel absolutely compelled to create their new company) will leave a stable, good-paying job in the middle of a downturn.

My friend and colleague, John Huston of Ohio TechAngels, commented on the last two recessions: “One strong recollection I have of those periods is that CEOs (with a strong BOD) who most effectively & frequently communicated their parsimonious plans to use the emergency funding were helped and survived.” An inexperienced entrepreneur might neither have the experience nor the tools to manage their impending company crisis; we as knowledgeable Angels and mentors and board members can draw on the experiences we have faced as investors in those previous cycles. It is our hour to shine and help our startups survive and thrive!

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NZ startup submission to government

Startups will play a critical role in New Zealand’s economic revival.

Kiwi startups are our country’s powerhouse of problem solvers.

 

Startups are responsible for at least half of all new jobs created and in some economies, up to 90% of new jobs created. They are a source of incredible inspiration and are executing on a vision of New Zealand as a world leader creating a sustainable economy generating exponential value and impact.

The submission sets out how the startup community believes it can help with New Zealand’s economic revival.

So many people provided help and support, advice and insight. Over 50 organisations were part of the collaboration!! And how wonderful that there are so many people who care about making our world hum.

And of course the submission is really only the start in lots of ways. It reflects lots of conversations we have been having, and will have, in the coming months. It’s a catalyst for discussion and debate. The Startup Leadership Group provides a great forum for this and so do other forum’s like the Global Entrepreneurship Network, Startup Weekends and others.

Onwards!

Submission

Randy Komisar speaking about insights from the investment landscape in times of uncertainty

Check out this terrific interview with Kleiner Perkins’ Randy Komisar. Randy has spoken at two of our recent angel summits and compares the impact of the pending Covid recession to past recessions and makes some interesting observations about how this one will differ from others. It’ll be more like those generated by the world wars he believes. He also provides some wonderful insights on how VCs will behave and has some super practical advice for founders.

View here

 

Startup Investment Magazine April

The sun always comes up.

Providing articles to read Suse Reynolds, Anand Reddy, Bruno Bordignon, Dana McKenzie and Debra Hall.

Read here

Messaging for founders and investors

The AANZ have put together below a few pithy points about what it’s important to remember in the current challenging climate. Feel free to lean on these, use them in your own coms or let us know if you think we’ve missed anything critical.

Suggestions for right now for all portfolio founders to help them focus on the right things to protect their venture

  • Engage customers … be proactive in supporting them to ensure best chance of being paid. Engage with the CEOs of those customers. Churn costs more than lost sales. Segment your customers. Who is likely to be in business in six months and who isn’t? It’s harsh, but invest in those likely to survive
  • Retain staff … both for the company and wider society it is critical we keep people in work. This needs to be a balanced approach and effort that is shared by shareholders, the government and the company. But look to reduce hours or find other ways to reduce staffing costs
  • Extend cash … develop tactics to reduce costs as well has accessing funding to bridge from survive to sustain to thrive. The sustain piece is important. This will pass. And companies that get out the other side will be a in powerful position.
  • Preserve value … weigh up short term loss versus long term gain with a view to leading the recovery. Out of chaos comes opportunity – every time there has been an economic downturn (1929, DotCom bust, GFC) some massive companies have been created including Xero, Lanzatech and Vend.

Suggestions for founders who are thinking of raising or who will need to raise in the next six months

  • research and know your investors – it’s all about relationships, now more than ever
  • so reach out personally and individually – offer vidconf updates, be authentic, be empathetic
  • if you were thinking of using a convertible note, SAFE or KISS then switch to equity
  • think about valuation resets – but be sure it’s in the context of your (revised) capital strategy and ensuring that when you get to a liquidity point you still have 30-40% of the cap table
  • think about what investor friendly terms you can offer – but give more emphasis to economic terms (eg full ratchet anti-dilute and preference shares) than control rights (eg letting the investor director be totally in control of hiring and firing or imposing unreasonable limits on how and when the company makes expenditure decisions)

Suggestions to investors

  • the rationale for angel investment remains as valid today as ever – from a head and heart perspective. From a ‘head’ perspective valuations will be down and the ROI that much higher out the other side. From a ‘heart’ perspective you are helping to grow businesses that are creating great jobs and making the world a better place.
  • be aware of emotion overriding reason – don’t feelings of scarcity chew you up
    that said, angel investment should only ever make up 5-10% of your NET wealth
  • review your portfolio to assess which ventures have the best chance of surviving, sustaining and thriving
  • make value based decisions – back founders growing ventures which are truly additive to the world, which are developing products and services people genuinely want and which have sound business models
  • support the founders you’ve backed – say yes or no quickly, even small(er) cheques can make a difference
  • be generous with contacts, intel and emotional support
    • you’re an angel investor, now is the time to act angelically !!

COVID19 Package – application to startups

COVID-19 – Government Stimulus Package – Guidance and Comment
Important update 31 March 2020.

Thanks again to the team at Avid.legal for pulling this together.

On Friday 27 March 2020 the government announced:

1. significant changes to the Wage Subsidy, and
2. that it has ended new applications under the Leave Payment Scheme.

On Saturday 28 March 2020, the government published a further clarification to the changes it introduced to the Wage Subsidy.

These changes render some of the information in our 24 March 2020 update (further below) void for new applications.

 

Most significantly, a revised declaration now applies to the Wage Subsidy for applications made after 4pm on Friday 27 March 2020. You can review the revised declaration here: https://workandincome.govt.nz/online-services/covid-19/declaration-wage-subsidy.html

These changes will have a significant impact on how some businesses may use the Wage Subsidy and how it fits in with wider coping strategies compared to businesses who applied before the cut-off. Changes include (but are not limited to) applicants agreeing to:

  • not make any changes to any obligations under an employment agreement (e.g., remuneration, hours of work and leave entitlement) without the written agreement of the employee;
  • retain the employees named in the application as employees for the period the employer receives the subsidy in respect to those employees;
  • not unlawfully compel or require any of the employees named in an application to use their leave entitlements for the period the applicant receives the subsidy in respect of those employees;
  • only use the subsidy for the purposes of meeting the named employees’ ordinary wages and salary (and the employer’s obligations in relation to the subsidy);
  • remain responsible for paying named employees’ ordinary wages and salary for the period the employer receives the subsidy;
  • for the period the subsidy is received:
    • use best endeavours to pay at least 80 per cent of each named employee’s ordinary wages or salary; and
    • pay at least the full amount of the subsidy to the named employee; but
    • where the named employee’s pre COVID-19 remuneration was ordinarily less than the subsidy (i.e. less than $585.80 or $350), pay the named employee that amount.

Other new aspects of the declaration include some strict requirements about:

  • needing to discuss the application with named employees before making the application;
  • obtaining named employees’ consent to including their details in the application for MSD to use and share (ideally in writing); and
  • advising named employees that they have the right to request access to all information held about them under the Privacy Act, and that they can contact [email protected] to make a request.

Maintaining good processes and record keeping will be critical. The increased requirements in the declaration must be carefully worked through before submitting an application. Businesses should pause and ensure they can established that they comply. Businesses may be subsequently audited. If a business cannot establish that it was eligible, or that it adhered to the conditions set out in the declaration, the business risks being required to repay the subsidy and potentially criminal sanctions.

Lastly, payment-processing times have reportedly slowed. If your claimed amount has not been paid within a week, it is worth calling MSD.

Read More

Investing in challenging times

Avid Legal’s Bruno Bordignon shares some key considerations:

Start-up world is often counter-cyclical when it comes to the financial markets – let’s not forget many of the current cohort of successful starts-up were born out of the 2009 GFC.

So what makes them more attractive in challenging environments? Here are my thoughts:

(1) pain has a price – most start-ups evolve out of some pain point that they have found an innovative way to solve, however trying to get market traction and people valuing that “pain” in good market conditions is difficult. We see many great start-ups with killer solutions, but when faced with selling that solution are hit by organisations who would rather status quo (even if it costs more!) than solving their pain. Times like these force people to rethink the status quo.

(2) agility is priceless and even better creates time – the fact that start-ups have never been comfortable and always cash-poor means that they keep iterating on themselves and are agile in their approach to knowing their business and understanding their market. This gives them the opportunity to be smart with cash, and run small iterations (or tests) on the market in an efficient manner – being able to rapidly iterate in this way extends their runway and time – where larger businesses and competitors sometimes don’t have the luxury (with their locked in cost structures).

(3) control over destiny – often investors will revert back to investing more in start-ups in times of unstable financial markets as they feel that they have more control over their investment. Now we aren’t talking about veto rights at a board level, but knowing that they are involved in a start-up that they can directly impact and influence through their thinking – and being part trying of a team executing on a vision. When combined together with the right set of people can be immensely powerful. There are plenty of investors out there right now looking to have a direct impact on start-ups lives – in more halcyon times, it is often difficult to get the full attention of investors, so now is the time for start-ups to truly tap into smart money.

While all of the above represents a significant opportunity to start-ups, challenges still remain. The key ones from my perspective are:

(1) team attrition – behind every great start-up there is a great team, and retaining that team will be critical. In recent discussions with Phil McCaw he was already cognisant of the “flight to safety” reaction experienced by start-up teams where people are tempted to go back to a perceived safer corporate job. Start-ups will need to work on ways on keeping their team tight and revisit how much they have allocated in ESOP as part of looking at ways to retain that talent.

(2) being heard – with all of the noise in the market around COVID-19, most corporates tend to be focussed on the immediate problem and not some of the solutions waiting to emerge. Getting to get to the right people within organisations to sell has always been difficult, and now if you manage that, getting that persons attention will be the next challenge. Perhaps the sometimes unconventional sales approach of start-ups might just win out here!

(3) telling the story – with so much disruption in markets, it can also sometimes be difficult for start-ups to articulate their proposition – too many opportunities can be as much as a curse as too few. Start-ups now more than ever will need laser focus on their story, purpose and proposition – this is not just limited to customers, but also to investors. Start-ups will need to be using every piece of data on their business (and their market) and demonstrate the learnings from their iterations to show how they will emerge as a lead player in their market.

While cash is always king, we have seen from previous experience in the 2009 GFC that investment runs counter-cyclical and there will be investors looking for a home for their cash. Expect to see a return to syndication, and people sharing a lot more for the collective good – this can’t be a bad thing, right? So let us all practice more random acts of kindness and work together to seize the opportunities ahead!

Beca and Angel Association NZ (AANZ) announce a partnership to make a difference to startups and their investors.

This partnership will create a dynamic pathway for innovative startups to carry out proof of concept projects with Beca, New Zealand’s largest professional services consultancy.

This collaboration combines the strength of AANZ’s network and robust deal flow with Beca’s enviable client base and deep technical expertise that touches virtually every part of the economy.

Startups can use the momentum of a successful proof of concept to keep running forward, proving their technology has a market need and works at scale.

Recognising the important role that startups play in fostering a culture of innovation within the business community, this partnership aims to enhance cooperation and facilitate deals between innovative startups and Beca.

Jeannine Walsh, Beca’s Head of New Ventures says

We are delighted to announce this partnership with AANZ that is designed to connect startups with our clients through proof-of-concept opportunities.

Beca has a 100-year history of delivering innovative solutions for our clients; the next century will be no different. But as the rate of change in society accelerates, we must keep pace with it. Startups are an excellent source to solve some of the key challenges our clients face. Together AANZ and Beca will help startups turn into scaleups, to ultimately make every day better for our clients and communities.

Through this partnership, we are greatly looking forward to working with founders and their teams to bring ground-breaking ideas to market.

Suse Reynolds, Executive Director, Angel Association of New Zealand says

We are very excited to be working in partnership with Beca to support and contribute to building a world-best angel investment environment for the benefit of investors and entrepreneurs in New Zealand. In the same way that it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a whole country to scale a startup – angels, professional service providers, government and corporates. We are delighted to have Beca on our wing.”

We would like to see far more corporate engagement with venture-backed startups. Not only can corporates like Beca help validate new products and services but they can also help with connections to larger international markets. We would love to see other New Zealand corporates follow Beca’s lead.

For more information, please contact:

The Angel Association of New Zealand (AANZ)

The Angel Association is an organisation that aims to increase the quantity, quality and success of angel investments in New Zealand and in doing so create a greater pool of capital for innovative start-up companies. It was established in 2008 to bring together New Zealand angels and early-stage funds. AANZ currently has 40 members representing over 800 individual angels associated with New Zealand’s key angel networks and funds. AANZ works closely with NZTE and Callaghan Innovation and a number of private sector partners including Jarden, PWC, Avid Legal, Baldwins, KiwiNet, Uniservices, Amazon Web Services, BNZ and BECA. For more, please visit: www.angelassociation.co.nz

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

About Beca

Beca is one of Asia Pacific’s largest independent advisory, design and engineering consultancies. After a century of operation, we have grown from a family-owned business to one of the most progressive, client-centric professional services consultancies in our region. We have more than 3,300 employees in 20 offices around the world and have delivered projects in more than 70 countries. Beca’s professional service offerings span 70+ disciplines across industrial, buildings, government, defence, water, transport and power.

Beca’s Venture team is an innovation and entrepreneurship centre of excellence, focused on rapidly responding to scalable business opportunities through working with startups and the investment community.

www.beca.com

www.beca.com/beca-digital

For further information, please contact:
Glenn Andert – Innovation Portfolio Manager, Ventures Team,
Ph: +64 4 460 1764
[email protected]

New Venture Capital Fund Launched

In great news for early stage investors, Elevate NZ Venture Fund will soon be releasing funds to a new swathe of venture capital providers.

Early-stage companies, who have at times struggled to find local funding, have a new option.

The Crown-backed New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) has officially cut the ribbon on its $300 million Elevate NZ Venture Fund.

Elevate was first flagged with Budget 2019, when then-Economic Development Minister David Parker said his Government would address a “venture capital gap” by diverting $240m of NZ Super Fund money to a new $300m fund, which would also include $60m from NZVIF to create a new fund.

Read more

New Regime at Angel Association New Zealand

As outgoing Angel Association New Zealand Chair, John O’Hara steps down from his two-year term, the AANZ today announced the appointment of the current Executive Director, Suse Reynolds to the role.

“As an active angel, a co-founder of Wellington’s 90-strong AngelHQ and one of the first AANZ Council members, this appointment is not only a natural progression for Suse it also marks the beginning of an exciting new period of activity for the AANZ,” said John O’Hara.

The AANZ is also delighted to announce the appointment of Bridget Unsworth to the position of Operations Director. Bridget brings deeply relevant experience following nearly 10 years as Investment Director of the seed co-investment programme at the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund.

Both appointments will take effect from 31 March.

Suse Reynolds acknowledged the contribution John O’Hara has made to the Angel Association noting he led work to establish Flight, an annual programme of events to support investor directors, instigated The Runway, an initiative to bring together founders and investors, and that he spends countless hours mentoring and supporting founders and investors. John will remain an active and engaged angel and mentor.

In a little over a decade, formal angel investment in New Zealand has grown from three or four networks with about 300 investors to over a dozen networks with nearly 1000 members investing over a $100m per annum. Over 250 start-ups have received angel investment in that time.

Looking to the next decade Suse Reynolds said the industry would double-down on growing angel investment but will also bring a tighter focus to the support being provided to those founders and investors making traction to help them expedite their growth and generate the financial and socio-economic returns expected of the asset class.

“It is important that we continue to grow the pipeline of investors and investment as there is no shortage of deal flow. Literally dozens of incredible start-ups are being generated every year by ambitious, creative kiwis commercialising their own ideas and the stunning IP being generated by New Zealand’s universities and crown research organisations,” said Suse Reynolds.

“It is equally important we expedite the success of the current portfolio of angel-backed ventures. The AANZ is about to put our programme of connectivity and professional development on steroids. We learn best by doing and by sharing the doing – so look out for more events bringing experienced and inexperienced founders and investors together, more governance workshops, more on how to navigate term sheet negotiations and more on how to ensure cap tables are in good shape,” Suse Reynolds pointed out.

Angel Backed JNRY’s Michael Lovegrove

Michael shares some of the journey and motivation for starting his insure-tech startup.

When you’re training to be a swimmer, looking at the black line twenty-five hours a week really makes you mentally tough.

So, when things don’t go your way in business, giving up is just not the way you’re built.

That’s the mindset of Michael Lovegrove, the founder and CEO of JRNY, a New Zealand-based tech start-up with global aspirations.

‘If there is an obstacle in front of me, I work out how we either go through it, over it or around it,’ Lovegrove says.

‘That mentality really helps build a great business and a resilient team.’

 

THE RIGHT INSURANCE POLICY

Funded by multiple parties including the Ice Angels, Enterprise Angels and Angel HQ in New Zealand, plus venture capital fund K1W1 and Artesian Venture Capital in Australia, JRNY has raised $2 million in the three years it has been operating.

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Our own Bridget Unsworth making a difference

Bridge sets out why angel investment matters and the role of governance in this ODT article.

Venture capitalist Bridget Unsworth has tracked back to the city where it all started.

After a stint in London, working with placement agency MVision Private Equity, the former University of Otago commerce student headed back to New Zealand in 2009.

She is now based in Auckland, but retains a strong link to Otago, marking her 10th year back in the country by joining the board of Dunedin-based tracking and communication company TracPlus.
The move followed nine years working with early stage start-ups as an investment director with the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund.

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More deep tech startups for investors

The government has announced the recipients of tech incubator funding.

From next year budding New Zealand startups will have even stronger support to help turn technology and science into successful businesses.

Four tech incubators have been selected for a new Technology Incubator programme, and a new HealthTech Activator initiative is being introduced, Vic Crone, CEO of Callaghan Innovation announced today.

“There are significant opportunities to turn more of New Zealand’s advanced technologies into successful businesses. Many of these technologies start out at our universities and we want to see them thrive,” says Ms Crone.

Read more

Two capital-ivating days in San Francisco – by Katherine Sandford

The best business trip I’ve been on in over five years has left me grappling with how to compile my screeds of notes into a one-pager (well, maybe two or even three) that makes some sense! Oh my goodness – talk about gold! So much insight, so many gems!

Hosted by the Edmund Hillary Fellowship in conjunction with the Angel Association of New Zealand, I was part of a delegation to San Francisco of NZ companies looking to expand into the US market and/or raise capital there. Our group of ten included founders and investor directors of five very diverse companies, so the networking from that part alone was a great start. We were escorted around the city and the Valley by a couple of outstanding fellows, yes real ones – EHF Fellows, Josh Hannah and David Yuan. Over the course of two days we engaged with a number more Fellows or friends of Fellows – we even had lunch and a chat with EHF Founder and CEO Yoseph Alele, who happened to be visiting from Wellington. Dinner with Silicon Valley Bank was a bonus, but it was the real and honest experience and insights that we heard from Kiwi Founders, including Victoria Ransom, and a broad spectrum of VCs, that really have made an impact – and I’m still pinching myself as I re-read my scrawled notes that I was actually there!

First stop, Matrix Partners where we met Kiwi Founder of Predict HQ, Campbell Brown, who’d relocated his family from NZ to the US in order to test the hypothesis that he was onto something big, and that he could secure US venture capital. He checked out Seattle as a potentially easy landing spot, but ultimately the amount of capital in San Francisco made it a no-brainer.

Campbell is a guy who loves a challenge – he’s a go getter who claims to like a lot going on in his life all at once – yeah right, like moving countries, and growing a business with no local resources and raising money and adding a baby to the family – all at the same time!

Setting himself up in a co-working space, not really knowing anyone, Campbell networked like crazy with founders. He figured that those who had successfully raised capital would be the best connections to make warm introductions to potentially friendly VCs.

And for Predict HQ, Campbell’s hunch was right. On the back of securing Uber among other large enterprises as customers, the company secured US$10M in a Series A round late in 2018. Campbell said it was a warm introduction that landed him a meeting and ultimate VC investment.

From what he’s learned, Campbell says that US VCs are looking for the following attributes in their search for their next investment:

  • A known entity, or at least an introduction from another founder
  • Net new revenue
  • Ability to expand the business – the best investors are looking for $100M potential and the ability to IPO from there
  • Victoria Ransom puts this slightly differently as the need to have a huge nascent
    market, and that you need to think global from day one with your go-to-market
    strategy
  • A solid team and culture
  • US location, preferably San Francisco

So how did this founder-centric shortlist stack up as we met with VCs over the next couple of days? This quote fairly well sums it all up. “We are looking for a kick-ass team, building a kick-ass product in a large-ass market”. And in our final meeting at General Catalyst, Trevor Oelschig’s list of the big pitch mistakes is further confirmation.

The Series A No-No’s (aka the BIG pitch mistakes)

  • Not being able to articulate your go to market motion
  • Not being able to talk about your competitors
  • Inability to attract the right talent at the right time
  • Inability to articulate your path
  • Not knowing your numbers cold
  • Not having spoken to enough customers

And there was even more evidence to show that Campbell’s list is well, pretty much on the money!

A Known Entity
Ultimately it comes down to personal relationships and who knows who. Word of mouth, trust and the network are your friends. Good content will result in VCs following you and reaching out to you, unsolicited. When they’re doing research, investors love seeing logos out there as it shows traction and piques their interest. For GV (formerly Google Ventures), introductions to companies depend on their networks – many Googlers route companies in. Other VCs advised that we should be visiting San Francisco regularly for “pre-meetings” without any investment pressure, to build credibility and relevance – and importantly to build trust over time.

Net New Revenue
The ease with which you raise capital is directly related to the progress you’re making – not with product, but in the market with real customers. Companies need proof that they have (1) product market fit, (2) raving fans, aka referenceable customers, not a team that loves the product they built or are planning to build, and (3) a growing pipeline of real opportunities.

Ability to Expand the Business
Companies need to show repeatability to demonstrate that there is a big business to be built. It really matters what sort of traction you have and whether that’s increasing. One VC even went as far as to say that he finds it difficult to imagine a market that doesn’t exist yet – so we need to be sure that we are clear on the existing problem that we are solving for a proven and potentially massive number of customers. I loved Victoria’s comment about being able to be a salesperson and “make your company seem as big as you can, without crossing the line”.

A Solid Team and Culture
GV uses analytical input into their process, but Graham Spencer, Managing Partner, was hesitant to answer whether GV uses any sort of analytics tool to assess entrepreneurs! An experienced team, who have had prior exits and many years in the target industry reduces VC risk when assessing an opportunity. Transparency is important – and founders must be able to present real candour about the challenges they are going to face – confidence in knowing that there will be obstacles that are going to need support to work through. The ability to recruit and retain people is key, so it’s important to have a unique set of values and attributes that attracts people to your company.
Founders must be likeable – the humble kiwi attitude serves well. And making that first impression is everything – you don’t need to fly to meet in person but make those first few moments on the phone count.

US location, preferably San Francisco
Ramzi Ramsey at Softbank said it well – “US early stage VCs are lazy, and distance is a problem”. He went on to say that the investor’s greatest resource is time and if they are wanting to add value then the more cost/time it takes, that just leads to it being more effective to do it locally.

And there was more support among the VCs we met for a San Francisco location, with them saying things like – Every geography has lost mindshare to San Francisco, so being local is best. Ultimately the US is a giant market and to win there means you need to be there. The more specialized the market, the more important it is to be US-based. On the other hand, if you are building a consumer product for India, then perhaps the US is not so important. Generally, a C-corp in the US is the preference as it’s lower risk. If the company’s NZ-based, but prepared to flip to the US, relocating the founder/CEO and the sale team and leaving the R&D team in NZ, then that would be acceptable.

Some parting thoughts mixed with a bit of advice
So I’ll just say that I think the insight gained in our first tour engagement is pretty much spot-on when assessing what San Francisco VCs are looking for in their investments – known entities, with a solid team and culture, traction in a market with a massive opportunity, and preferably with the founder located or relocating to San Francisco. There are always exceptions, but I reckon that it’s likely much tougher going for those in the minority.

Kiwi founders need very big ambitions and to think global from the outset, then be open to making the move. They need a board that supports that, so be sure early investors are aligned with those ambitions. The brave ones who have gone before have proven and are still proving that San Francisco is where (most of) the action, and (most of) the capital, is.

VCs are generally looking for reasons to say “no” and 99% of interactions get that outcome. To stand out, in addition to getting to product market fit and building a meaningful customer base preferably in the US, founders need to be networked in, known in advance and publishing regular content. “Content is a honey-pot for VCs” – one said we’d be shocked at how much they read.

As a founder, be prepared to tell your personal story, in person, not in slides – “the authenticity of the moment you decided [to start your business] is very important. This is VC Candy”.

When at the point of taking on a VC, or any investor for that matter, ensure they have the same stomach for risk. In the words of Ling Wong, EHF Fellow and General Partner at Sealane, regarding risk appetite, “Past behavior is a great indicator of future behavior in that case. When things go bad, as they invariably will, then you want them to work through that with you.” So, be thorough in your VC due diligence before accepting capital into the company and know what sort of relationship you’re getting into.

Relationships are everything. Common sense really, but it is important to cultivate them, building interconnected and robust networks. These take time and effort to develop, but this is one of the most important things for a founder to be able to do. So, find ten founders that are one step ahead of where your company is at and engage with them. Their knowledge, insights and connections will help you to take that next leap – chances are each of them can introduce you to a whole bunch of VCs.

And finally, at yes, the end of page three – if anyone reading this has the opportunity to participate in a future delegation of this nature, I cannot recommend it highly enough. I’m guessing I won’t be allowed on the next one – but I’d certainly go again, given the chance. Thanks EHF and AANZ for a truly capital-ivating tour.

Words by Katherine Sandford
November 2019

Scott Gilmour named New Zealand Arch Angel 2019

Scott Gilmour has been awarded Angel Association New Zealand’s (AANZ) Arch Angel Award today at the 12th New Zealand Angel Summit in Christchurch.

Scott is an experienced high-tech company founder and director and an active Ice Angels member and former board member. In 2002 he founded the first I Have A Dream project outside the USA to help kiwi children.

The Arch Angel Award is the highest honour in New Zealand’s angel investment community, given to those who best exemplify the quintessential angel and who are champions for the endeavour making a significant difference to New Zealand’s start-up ecosystem. As well as their personal capital, Arch Angel recipients share their time, insights, deeply relevant skills and their networks with high growth start-up companies.

The recipient is chosen by the previous years’ winners.

Scott Gilmour has over 35 years experience in the high tech industry, including 12 years with Intel in the United States and New Zealand. He co-founded a successful enterprise software company in the United States in 1989, ABC Technologies Inc., which was sold to SAS in 2002. He served for seven years on the NZ Trade and Enterprise Beachheads Board. And has served as a director and investor in a number of New Zealand tech companies, including Jade, Nextspace, ResourceWare, ViFX and Winscribe.

In 2002 Scott founded and funded the first “I Have a Dream” project outside the United States to “inspire dreams and enable futures” for kiwi children who are living in material hardship.

As a super active angel investor, Scott has invested in over 60 ventures. He is a founding member of Auckland-based Ice Angels, having joined the network at its inception in 2003 and served on the board for four years between 2006 and 2010.

Current Angel Association Chair and fellow Ice Angel, John O’Hara, says Scott has been a lynch pin of New Zealand’s first formal angel network.

“As a founding member of Ice Angels, I doubt there are many, if any, other Ice Angels members who have been such passionate and committed champions of angel investment. Scott has personally introduced and “closed” more new Ice Angel members than any other I can think of,” he said.

Scott received his award at the 12th New Zealand Angel Summit, held at Pemberton in Christchurch and attended by 160 delegates. The annual event provides a hub for angels to learn and network, and is recognised as one of the world’s top angel events. This year’s summit is exploring what it is about scaling an angel-backed venture from New Zealand which gives it a unique comparative advantage when it comes to creating exponential value.

Former Arch Angel winners include The Warehouse founder and long-time angel investor Stephen Tindall; Andy Hamilton, chief executive of The Icehouse and member of IceAngels; US super angel Bill Payne; Movac venture capital firm founder, Phil McCaw; veteran angel investor Dr Ray Thomson; prolific AngelHQ member, Trevor Dickinson, former AANZ Chair, Marcel van den Assum, ardent angel investor, Debra Hall and champion for kiwi start-ups, Dave Moskovitz.

–Ends–

 

For more information, please contact:

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

John O’Hara, AANZ chair
mob: 021 040 3198 or email: [email protected]

The Angel Association of New Zealand (AANZ)

The Angel Association is an organisation that aims to increase the quantity, quality and success of angel investments in New Zealand and in doing so create a greater pool of capital for innovative start-up companies. It was established in 2008 to bring together New Zealand angels and early-stage funds. AANZ currently has 40 members representing over 800 individual angels associated with New Zealand’s key angel networks and funds. AANZ works closely with NZTE and Callaghan Innovation and a number of private sector partners including Jarden, PWC, Avid Legal, Baldwins, KiwiNet, Uniservices, Amazon Web Services, BNZ and BECA. For more, please visit: www.angelassociation.co.nz

 

Angel Awards Announced Suse Reynolds, Katherine Sandford and Tim Allan recognised

At its 10th Anniversary Summit in 2017, the Angel Association New Zealand announced two new awards to augment the Arch Angel Award which was first awarded in 2009 to Sir Stephen Tindall and was today awarded to Scott Gilmour.

The Puawaitanga Award recognises the founder and investor-director who best exemplify what can be achieved when committed people draw on their collective skills and experience. This award celebrates an angel-backed venture achieving world class success. This venture has excellent governance, a compelling business proposition and a well-defined strategy for exponential returns.

Puawaitanga – ‘best return on integrated goals’.

The Kotahitanga Award recognises those people in the angel community who have made an outstanding contribution to the industry. It acknowledges those who have selflessly given personal time and energy for a sustained period and contributed to the professionalism, profile and reputation of angel investment in New Zealand.

Kotahitanga – ‘unity and a shared sense of working together’.

The Puawaitanga Award has been presented to UBCO Bikes CEO Tim Allan and investor-director chair, Katherine Sandford. UBCO has developed all terrain, electric utility motor bikes. Since the concept was launched at the 2014 National Field Days, the company has gone on to refine the bike and is now selling it in Australia, New Zealand and the USA.  Impressively, UBCO has also since won a number of awards including a Deloitte Fast 50 Rising Star award, Good Design and Best Design awards, been recognised as a TIN100 Spark Early Stage Company and last year won an AmCham exporter of the year award. Katherine Sandford has Chaired the UBCO Board for the last two years and is a true champion for the company helping it raise several million dollars in growth capital. Katherine has been a member of Tauranga’s Enterprise Angel network for the last four years, has served on the Enterprise Angels’ board and last year won the network’s investor director award.

In making the award, Angel Association Chair, John O’Hara said Tim and Katherine are exemplars of what investor/founder alignment and mutual support can achieve.

“No one scales value in a high-growth tech company on their own. To get traction both the founder and the investors need to be committed to the same end-point. This is clearly the case with UBCO. Tim and Katherine, together with the rest of the UBCO team, have been working together to generate great progress in terms of revenue generation, customer acquisition and to secure capital to amplify that growth to generate success for investors and just as importantly, for New Zealand as a whole,” he said.

The recipient of the Kotahitanga Award is Angel Association NZ’s Suse Reynolds.

Suse has been supporting angel investors, angel backed founders and the growth of angel investment in New Zealand for over a decade. Suse was a career diplomat before taking the leap to “live the startup dream’’.

As well as providing countless hours of free advice and counselling to angel investors and founders over the years, Suse currently serves on the Board of AngelHQ. Suse has also fronted dozens of workshops on topics such as angel investment, governance and has led the Angel Association’s flight program. Suse has been particularly helpful to establishing a number of regional angel clubs around New Zealand.  Suse is a successful angel investor in her own right and most recently has led a couple of early angel rounds into Press Patron and Narrative Muse.

“Suse exemplifies the values which make angel investment rewarding and successful. Her warmth, generous spirit, ambition, professionalism, depth of knowledge and genuine care for investors and founders alike have imbued New Zealand’s startup ecosystem. We are fortunate to have people like Suse leading our community,” said John O’Hara.

–Ends–

 

For more information, please contact:

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

John O’Hara, AANZ chair
mob: 021 040 3198 or email: [email protected]

 

The Angel Association of New Zealand (AANZ)

The Angel Association is an organisation that aims to increase the quantity, quality and success of angel investments in New Zealand and in doing so create a greater pool of capital for innovative start-up companies. It was established in 2008 to bring together New Zealand angels and early-stage funds. AANZ currently has 40 members representing over 800 individual angels associated with New Zealand’s key angel networks and funds. AANZ works closely with NZTE and Callaghan Innovation and a number of private sector partners including Jarden, PWC, Avid Legal, Baldwins, KiwiNet, Uniservices, Amazon Web Services, BNZ and BECA. For more, please visit: www.angelassociation.co.nz

We need to pull together – Stephen Tindall

In the context of climate change, Sir Stephen sets out why he invests in startups.

Sir Stephen Tindall says New Zealand businesses face an enormous task adapting to the climate-change imperatives that are now upon us.

“But it’s not insurmountable provided we all pull together,” Tindall says. “My personal view is that we’re all going to be liable with what we do in terms of our impact on the environment.”

The Warehouse founder, who has invested in many early stage “sustainable” companies through his K1W1 investment vehicle, reckons there are very few New Zealand companies which won’t be impacted.

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Summit 2019 Introducing Ben Kepes

As a teaser for those of you attending The Runway and Angel Summit events in a couple of weeks time, Ben Kepes, an experienced angel investor who is speaking at both, has thrown down the gauntlet with a really neat articulation below of the conversations we look forward to having with you as we hunt down how to be effective, additive contributors to the businesses we are backing. You can read more of Ben’s other musings on the tech and startup scene here on his Diversity Blog.

Firstly a quick disclaimer: I, like most of you reading this, am an investor. As such, despite any hint of magnanimity in our decisions, our primary driver for investing in early-stage companies is to make money. If our aims were entirely philanthropic, we’d be giving to charity. We can wrap it up nicely and try and avoid the fact but angel investment, while having some good outcomes beyond dollars, is primarily a capitalistic drive.

That said, I wanted to take the opportunity to follow Suse’s lead in theming the upcoming Angel Association conference being held in Otautahi to add my two cents around the topic of expectations – those of us as investors, of our fearless entrepreneurs, and of the ecosystem as a whole.

The financial realities of angel investing in enterprises that fundamentally have a far greater chance of burning out than they do of success means that we do need to make a good return on those that are successful – if all we wanted to do was get rid of some excess cash, there are far more effective ways of doing so than being an angel investor.

But sometimes, in the search for good financial returns, we lose sight of the unique position we’re in as investors and the opportunities it brings us. We have the ability to shape a future on a number of levels – we can help have an impact on whether an entrepreneur’s journey is positive or not, we can encourage the development of businesses which benefit society more wisely than simply through wealth creation and, just maybe, we can vote with our wallets and help more planet-friendly businesses to bloom.

In terms of the “founder burnout” topic – we’ve seen much attention from the industry about this aspect of the startup journey. We’ve had some pretty raw admissions of the pain and angst that goes hand in hand with startup life. But, as the (purportedly) mature and experienced people in the relationship, our job is to navigate this road with a reasonable perspective. The fact of the matter is that for both entrepreneurs and investors to meet their objectives there is going to be a heap of hard work and painful moments – there’s no point sugar-coating that fact. But hard moments are different from bad behaviour or absence of empathy and that’s where we have work to do.

So I’d like to suggest as we spend our time in our roles as angels, that we think about what we and our investee companies can do differently. What is it that we can bring to the world that changes the conversation? What does exponential value creation mean beyond simply financial value?

In practice, what does a more empathetic approach towards angel investing look like? I’d suggest that it means we’re sometimes happy to achieve a good, short-term outcome that meets the needs of founders, employees and investors, society, the planet or any of the other myriad layers of stakeholders that exist in this world. How about we think about limiting the downstream hard times that come from aiming for the moon shot? It’s potentially about not going for the one in ten exits that need to generate 20x returns, but rather a greater number of more modest outcomes. It’s about being honest with ourselves, our leadership teams and our ecosystem about what is realistic. And it’s about finding a uniquely Kiwi way of doing angel investing.

Enjoy the journey!

International investors doing good in NZ

Kiwi angels are benefiting from the connections the Edmund Hillary Foundation global impact visa recipients are providing to offshore investment.

Since the early days of ideation, the Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF) has been committed to the idea that in order to best support the development and growth of an impact-driven entrepreneurship ecosystem in New Zealand, we need to include investors in the community. EHF is unique when compared to similar global impact fellowship programmes, in that around 15% of our Fellows are active investors.

In the past 2.5 years since EHF was launched, $5.3M has been directly invested by EHF Fellows into New Zealand innovation, and they have additionally assisted in delivering investments of $16.5M into NZ entities (In comparison, NZ Venture Investment Fund reported in June 2019 that $110M total was invested by themselves and other angel clubs in pre-seed and angel size deals over a similar time period)

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How to create more NZ unicorns

Callaghan Innovation’s Bruce Jarvis shares some great ideas generated at Southern SaaS.

Sir Paul Callaghan talked about 100 inspired entrepreneurs turning the country around. The ‘how’ of that is harder to pin down.

With a line-up of smart folk in Auckland for Callaghan Innovation’s Southern SaaS event recently, we conscripted an impromptu ‘business brains trust’ to figure out how we can create more billion-dollar unicorns.

Identifying the obstacles and accelerants that can determine success for New Zealand companies is a challenge that has occupied thousands of business leaders, political think tanks and roundtables for decades.

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How to create more NZ Unicorns

Callaghan Innovation group manager of digital Bruce Jarvis

Sir Paul Callaghan talked about 100 inspired entrepreneurs turning the country around. The ‘how’ of that is harder to pin down.

With a line-up of smart folk in Auckland for Callaghan Innovation’s Southern SaaS event recently, we conscripted an impromptu ‘business brains trust’ to figure out how we can create more billion-dollar unicorns.

Identifying the obstacles and accelerants that can determine success for New Zealand companies is a challenge that has occupied thousands of business leaders, political think tanks and roundtables for decades.

Our group of business founders, investors, leaders and mentors was given a couple of hours on a Tuesday. The rule for this meeting of minds was that after sharing their ideas and observations the group had to find points of consensus. A few ideas quickly rose above the rest.

Elite startup academy
There was a strong consensus that New Zealand needs to do more to support and develop the talent it already has – something Sir Paul Callaghan also suggested.

There were two ideas for supporting our existing talent that resonated strongly with the group. The first was an elite academy that focused, funded and coached New Zealand’s top-performing mid-stage startups, providing wraparound support in the same way it’s provided for the country’s elite athletes.

Distinct from incubators that nurture startup companies showing early signs of promise and needing help to commercialise, the elite academy would pick companies with runs on the board and aim to supercharge their success. Entry criteria might include the top 100 companies with up to $10 million in revenue and the fastest quarter-on-quarter growth rate.

The second idea was to give local talent greater access to smart, qualified international advisers, either through a programme that saw global venture capital firms sending their entrepreneurs in residence to do New Zealand tours of duty or by looking for opportunities to plug into the existing Endeavor.orgnetwork of vetted business innovators and advisers.

Improving our attitude to sales
One of the most striking points of consensus was on an unusual roadblock that New Zealand needs to address: a bad attitude toward sales.

The expatriates, visiting experts and Kiwi-based talent all agreed there is a contradictory divide inside most New Zealand businesses – sales is viewed as a ‘dirty word’ and a task that sits solely with the sales team, rather than an integral function of business and a focus for founders and management.

More commercially minded founders with an understanding of sales and marketing were high on the group’s wish list, along with a rethink of the way businesses approach sales into global markets.

“There’s still an idea in New Zealand that, when it comes time to sell things, you give your sales guy a presentation and some supporting material and just send him out. It’s a really strange way to do business and, generally speaking, it’s not successful.”

Outdated business education
Better training and education about sales were recommended as a solution but business education was also seen by the group as an area where New Zealand is lagging, with a curriculum that needs to catch up to the realities of business and innovation.

Getting new course materials into programmes or introducing curriculum changes through NCEA is too slow and arduous according to several of the brains trust with knowledge of the process.

At a tertiary level, with the exception of a couple of specialised offerings, the group saw New Zealand programmes as being slow to shift from a focus on traditional models of business and sales – leaving graduates ready to work in businesses but, arguably, ill-equipped to build one of their own.

Shallow VC market
Surprising no one, there was universal agreement over New Zealand’s “very shallow VC market” and the obstacles presented by a dearth of available capital. A few possible solutions were offered, including more ambitious, coordinated public-private investment partnerships, a fixed 5% of foreign direct investment into risk funds in New Zealand and a regulatory environment that is generally less geared toward property investment. New Zealand startups also need to get better at going out and seeking capital.

Being small has advantages
Awkward time zones, distance to markets and New Zealand’s size all rated passing mentions as both negatives and positives but there was agreement on the advantages offered by such a small market. New Zealand’s “no degrees of separation” makes it easy to get in touch with people and reach out for advice and support from other founders and companies with experience of the same challenges.

People in New Zealand are extremely generous with their time and sharing their knowledge and expertise, it was agreed.

The country’s size also makes it an easy test market, “where people are two calls away from decision makers.” Size, ready access to decision makers and a high standard of living all make it a strong contender as a tech testbed. “I like that New Zealand is an incubation nation where you can test the market without sinking a ship on a global stage.”

With major players such as Pushpay and Vesta already running teams of engineers and developers in New Zealand, while expanding their businesses into the US, the group agreed there is more scope for our companies to attract high-quality talent, and even an opportunity for the country to invest in becoming an exemplar for remote working.

Other big ideas from the brains trust:

• celebrate high-integrity failures and lose the stigma for entrepreneurs who fail;
• be less conservative: less conservative with investment, less conservative about adopting New Zealand-made products and services over international incumbents; and
• think bigger, work harder, aim higher.

Setting out to produce any meaningful answers in a single afternoon was incredibly ambitious but it worked. This was fitting really because the group had one other common conclusion about what New Zealand needs if it’s going to yield unicorns: ambition.

Bruce Jarvis is Callaghan Innovation’s digital group manager.

AANZ members part of HNRY raise

Congratulations to Lightning Lab grad and fintech venture, HNRY for being oversubscribed on their recent raise.

Hnry, New Zealand’s fastest growing tax agent, has closed their latest investment round at $2.15 million, over-subscribing due to keen investor interest.

James Fuller, CEO and co-founder of Hnry, says the company initially aimed to raise $1.5 million, however strong investment interest from a mix of existing shareholders and new interest from Australian venture startup fund Equity Venture Partners (EVP) meant they extended the round and closed at $2.15 million. Investors include members of Ice Angels, AngelHQ as well as private investors.

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Get more women on the cap table

In this fascinating article a small group of women in tech in the US talk about their angel investment aspirations.

Next on The Seed Series we talk with two founding team members from #Angels — Jana Messerschmidt and Katie Stanton. We talk about balancing angel investing with day jobs, the gap table and other interesting topics. The following has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Gené: Welcome to the #Angels founding team’s Katie Stanton and Jana Messerschmitt. All six founding angels met at Twitter. What was the momentum for creating #Angels?

Jana: After the Twitter IPO, one night over cocktails, we shared different tidbits around angel investing. We realized pretty quickly that we were very fortunate to come out of Twitter to see lots of entrepreneurs, and companies that were about to be formed. We decided it would actually be really fun to form this group or collective. Founders get to tap into the operating experience of all six of us. We all ran different parts of organizations and teams at Twitter across a wide variety of areas. We would also be able to take our deal flow and multiply it times six. Working at Twitter together, we built up a tremendous amount of trust. And so we wanted to be able to extend that into angel investing.

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Lead Partners

NZTE NZVIF PWC

Expert Partner

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AANZ Summit Sponsors

Callaghan Innovation “UniServices” Kiwinet “Spark”