NZ: the Upstart Nation vs Israel: the Startup Nation

“New Zealanders are very good at believing in themselves but not so good at believing in each other” – Ken Douglas                                            

It’s been terrific to see and be part of conversations Simon Moutter’s recent delegation to Israel have fired up. At the heart of all these conversations is the need to get better at believing in each other.

There are some very familiar themes set out in the post mission report urging us to “unleash New Zealand’s potential faster” – common purpose, culture, collaboration, capability, capital and commercialization.

The Angel Association focuses on three of these already – collaboration, capability and capital. We know raising capital is pointless without the first two, but it’s the first that holds the real key to success!

Without doubt New Zealand has the power to cut it with other innovative eco-systems. We are renowned for our inventiveness and ability to make stuff work. However – whether it’s Ireland, Finland, Israel or Silicon Valley we are looking to for inspiration – the stark fact is that New Zealand doesn’t have the same levels of wealth and capital as these places do. We can’t fund as many businesses as they can.

So as Marcel van den Assum (AANZ Chair) puts it, we have to be – and are in many contexts already – the Upstart Nation. While our resources are limited, we are very resourceful. We do more with less. We are unrelentingly tenacious when it comes to cracking a market. We make calls and open doors, which others think are impossible to open, to get to the decision makers in multinational partners and strategic investors.

None of us can create success on our own. It’s always easier when we do it together. At the Angel Association we engage with everyone in the ecosystem, facilitating conversations and connections to get our angel backed ventures out to the world to generate the returns we need to create success over and over again.

The Israeli learnings are valuable but actions speak louder than words. Focus is the number one principle of success. So let’s make collaboration the top priority of all the work the mission to Israel has identified.

What does that look like?

  • Generously make connections and share information.
  • Join a group of investors in a start up company – as the mission report so powerfully suggests.
  • Show up at events where people and organizations are fostering collaboration.
  • Actively promote and introduce those startups getting traction to international colleagues and persuade them to invest so those companies have the capital and connections to give them the best shot at global success.

To read the report in full click here.

Suze Reynolds

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