Startup Investment Magazine Autumn 2022

Welcome to the Autumn 2022 edition of Startup Investment magazine.

In this edition we look at the trend towards climate-based investing and how the startup ecosystem can help to solve globally important problems. We speak with startups focused on incentivising us to make more conscious investment decisions; we talk to founders and investors who are creating game changing solutions to some of our greatest climate issues; and we uncover some innovative approaches to repurposing waste.

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Angel Awards Announced Maxine Simmons and Fuel50 recognised

At its 2021 summit (being held in 2022 thanks to Covid) in Wellington today, Angel Association New Zealand announced the winners of the Puawaitanga Award – recognising founders and investor directors who exemplify what can be achieved when committed people draw on their collective skills and experience – and the Kotahaitanga Award – recognising people in the angel community who have made an outstanding contribution to the industry.

The Puawaitanga Award has been presented to Fuel50 co-founders Anne Fulton and Jo Mills and four of the company’s investor directors who have served on the board over the last decade or so. They are the company’s three past investor-directors (Peter Weaver, Peter Idoine and Janine Manning) and current director, Kerry McIntosh.

Fuel50 is an AI-driven, talent marketplace platform supporting employee engagement and talent retention in companies around the world. In April last year Fuel50 raised an over-subscribed Series B round ($NZD14.9m) to fund expansion plans, and despite the challenges of Covid, the company continues to scale rapidly.

All four investor directors are members of Ice Angels. Back in 2013 the network led a $1.1m raise and Ice Angels have had an investor representative on the Fuel50 board ever since. Initially this was Peter Idoine and Peter Weaver who brought HR SaaS experience. Janine Manning then stepped in for a couple of years helping Fuel50 to enter the UK and complete the US fundraise. Kerry McIntosh has been on the board for the last two years bringing a range of commercial skills and broad governance experience.

Fuel50 have secured multiple rounds from New Zealand angels and across multiple clubs before they graduated to US venture capital funding and are widely acknowledged as one of the best start-up communicators. Even after their venture capital raises they have continued to share their progress, learnings and insights with their early investors.

In making the award, Angel Association Executive Chair, Suse Reynolds said the Fuel50 journey and experience exemplify how investor-founder alignment, mutual support and good governance can so positively influence success.

“Growing a venture backed company is always a team effort and Fuel50’s experience is illustrative of the baton of support and guidance passing through the different stages of growth. The two Peters, Janine and Kerry all brought unique and useful skills as the company grew,” she said.

The recipient of the Kotahitanga Award, is Maxine Simmons, Executive Director and founding Chief Executive of Cure Kids Ventures. Maxine has been a quietly passionate and effective champion for more recognition and support for New Zealand’s deep tech and health-tech start-ups for more than a decade.

Maxine has been part of the early stage investment ecosystem since its inception and has over 30 years’ experience in start-up and expansion stage companies. She founded one of New Zealand’s first biotechnology companies and was awarded a Distinguished New Zealand Biotechnologist Award in recognition of her work growing that company into a significant export businesses. In 2017, Maxine was appointed a Companion of the NZ Order of Merit for her services to science, particularly biotechnology. In her role at Cure Kids Ventures Maxine has led investments into an impressive portfolio of over 20 health-tech start-ups and served on the board of a number of them. Cure Kids Ventures was founded in 2008 to invest in innovative health-tech companies with the potential to benefit child health.

“Maxine is always available to founders and investors and shared countless hours of experience and expertise with the health-tech and early stage investment community, with government, with industry and international audiences and visitors. Maxine’s tireless work has had a tremendous impact on deep tech’s growing share of early stage investment and attention. We are so lucky to have people like her in our world,” said Suse Reynolds.

Rudi Bublitz received the Arch Angel Award which was first awarded in 2009 to Sir Stephen Tindall. See separate release.

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For more information, please contact Suse Reynolds, AANZ Executive Chair
mob: 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 50+ members representing over 800 individual angels associated with New Zealand’s key angel networks and funds. AANZ works closely with NZTE, NZ Growth Capital Partners and Callaghan Innovation and a number of private sector partners including Jarden, PWC, Avid Legal, KiwiNet, Uniservices, Amazon Web Services and BNZ. For more, please visit: www.angelassociation.co.nz

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’.

Rudi Bublitz named New Zealand’s 2021 Arch Angel

Rudi Bublitz has been awarded Angel Association New Zealand’s 2021 Arch Angel Award today at the 14th New Zealand Angel Summit in Wellington.

The Arch Angel Award is the highest honour in New Zealand’s angel investment community, given to those who exemplify the quintessential angel and who advocate for the endeavour and make 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.

Originally from Germany, Rudi’s journey with angel investment in New Zealand began with his membership of Ice Angels where he was an active member for about 5 years. Rudi was awarded the Ice Angels Active Investor Award in 2011 and was a member of the Ice Angels screening committee. In 2012 he left Ice Angels to start Flying Kiwi Angels (FKA).

FKA currently has 72 members and a portfolio of 32 ventures. The club has invested over $4m and is returning $11m to 60 investors over the coming months, including from the recently announced sale of Moxion to Autodesk, where Rudi was one of the first investors and an investor director. Rudi is currently a director of Mindful Muslim and GEO AR and a trusted adviser to a wide range of other founders and start-up businesses, both within the FKA portfolio, and more widely.

For nearly a decade, Rudi has been the driving force behind FKA as the “Chief Cat Herder”. FKA offers New Zealand angel investors a different model from traditional angel groups, with no membership fees and no commission on investment to founders. Members are deeply engaged with their portfolio companies and with founders and are very collaborative with each other and the wider ecosystem.

Rudi is also the founder of the ADI (Angel Drop In) advice clinics. Since ADI’s inception, dozens and dozens of these clinics have been held from Dunedin to Whangarei, delivering advice to thousands of founders and budding entrepreneurs. Rudi writes a weekly newsletter and is active on LinkedIn, using both channels to champion his passionately held views for the integrity and success of early stage venture investment.

Each year, the Arch Angel award recipient is chosen by the previous years’ winners.

Acknowledging Rudi’s tireless dedication to venture investment for over 15 years, Angel Association Chair, Suse Reynolds, noted that Rudi is without doubt one of the community’s more colourful characters.

“Rudi’s maverick M.O can at times bump up against kiwi reserve but there is never any doubt that Rudi cares and that his intent is very genuinely to see venture investment in New Zealand be highly successful,” she said.

Fellow Arch Angel and FKA member, Debra Hall says “Rudi is a relentless force for good in the New Zealand angel investment community. While his direct “tell it as I see it” approach is not always to everyone’s taste, his guidance and wisdom is valued by both founders and fellow angel investors. He cares deeply for people, wants us all to do better and be better and is never too busy to help with advice and support. I am truly delighted to welcome Rudi into our band of NZ Arch Angels; an award that is long overdue.”

Rudi received his award at the 2021 annual Angel Summit, which was postponed twice in 2021 and finally held at Ohariu Farm in Wellington this week. This year’s delegates are being encouraged to be more ambitious under the theme of “Go Big or Go Home” with speakers such as Straker Translation’s co-founder, Merryn Straker and Toha founder, Nathalie Whittaker.

Former Arch Angel winners include The Warehouse founder and K1W1 founder Stephen Tindall; Andy Hamilton, former chief executive of The Icehouse and IceAngels founder; US super angel Bill Payne; Movac Ventures founder Phil McCaw; veteran angel investor the late Dr Ray Thomson; prolific AngelHQ member Trevor Dickinson, former AANZ Chair Marcel van den Assum; ardent angel investor Debra Hall, champion for kiwi start-ups Dave Moskovitz and long-time Ice Angels member Scott Gilmour and most recently SaaS champion, Serge van Dam, a member of AngelHQ.

–Ends–

For more information, please contact:

Suse Reynolds, AANZ Executive Chair
mob: 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 50 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, KiwiNet, Uniservices, Amazon Web Services, BNZ and NZX. For more, please visit: www.angelassociation.co.nz

Lead Partners

NZTE NZGCP PWC “NZX” Callaghan Innovation

Expert Partner

AVID “Jarden”

AANZ Summit Sponsors

“UniServices” Kiwinet “AWS” “BNZ” “Momentum” “Punakaiki” “MBIE” “GD1” “WellingtonUniVentures” “Movac” WellingtonNZ Booster