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

 

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To share or not to share: is knowing your co-workers’ salary the key to closing the gender pay gap?

Mish.Guru, a social media content and analytics start-up, has become one of the latest companies in New Zealand to endorse transparent pay systems as a way to tackle gender pay disparity. But are these shared models really as effective as they seem, or are they just another trendy, token gesture?

Founded in 2014, Mish.Guru is a content marketing software that helps business create and manage campaigns on Snapchat and Instagram. After scoring investments from AngelHQ, Sparkbox, ICE Angels and various others the company started to transition their main revenue stream from service to product, as well as expanding to offices in Berlin, Sydney and New York.

Despite solid success with clients like Paramount Pictures, Visa and McDonalds, Mish.Guru’s team knew that succeeding in the tech industry wasn’t easy, especially for the women in their team.

Read more

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

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

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

Read more

 

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MEDIA RELEASE: Angel Association commends initiatives like AngelEquity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Ends–

For more information, please contact:

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

The Angel Association of New Zealand (AANZ)

The Angel Association is an organisation that aims to increase the quantity, quality and success of angel investments in New Zealand and in doing so create a greater pool of capital for innovative start-up companies. It was established in 2008 to bring together New Zealand angels and early stage funds; to support the angel networks and help create new networks; to promote the growth of angel investment in New Zealand by encouraging and educating entrepreneurs, new angel investors and angel groups; and to ensure the ongoing success of the angel movement through developing industry strategy, encouraging collaboration and educating the wider New Zealand public about the importance of angel investing in growing our economy.  AANZ currently has 20 members representing more than 550 individual angels associated with New Zealand’s key angel networks and funds. Recent NZ Venture Investment Fund data revealed angels have invested more than $NZ438 million in over 680 deals in the last 9 years. For more, please visit: www.angelassociation.co.nz

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Still focused after all those years

In 15 years The Icehouse Business Growth Hub has morphed from one owner manager programme and an incubator to a full suite of services for businesses, including an investment arm. CEO Andy Hamilton reflects on a satisfying journey.

After a career spanning law, marketing and corporate investment, one winter’s day in June 2001 Andy Hamilton found himself standing in leased premises in Parnell’s landmark Textile Centre, with two months to organise a programme for owner managers. The BNZ would help source the 20 business owners, but meantime the programme had to be sorted, premises fitted out and start-ups found for the incubator. Working out of Auckland University, Andy was grateful for the support of the University’s Business School, and Geoff Whitcher and David Irving in particular.

Read more

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ArcAngels Investment Evening

The next ArcAngels investment evening will be on May 25 at Ernst & Young.

More details of the event will be available shortly, however, the highlights will be:

– A discussion on the key points to consider when making an angel investment
– A report back from Jo Mills of Fuel 50, one of our portfolio companies
– Presentations from at least one company raising a further round of investment
– Presentations from up to two companies looking for angel investment for the first time
– A report back on the Lead Investor Forum from the day before

Developments

There have been a number of developments for the ArcAngels group.

Firstly, Cecilia Tarrant has been asked by the Committee to step into the Chair role.  Bridget Coates, while still very keen to be involved and very committed to the success of ArcAngels, has found that her work and travel schedule has been such that she hasn’t been able to give ArcAngels the time she wanted to and also feels it deserves.

Secondly, Alex Mercer, who was doing all the day to day running of ArcAngels, has similarly been snowed under by work.  Accordingly, Arc Angels have contracted the ICE Angels administration to provide some recources to run the network.  Going forward, Kate Wightman, under the direction of Robbie Paul, the IceAngels CEO, will manage Arc Angels administrative functions.  ArcAngels are really excited by this change. Among other rings it means the network will hold more frequent meetings.

ArcAngels will also be able to access stronger and more robust deal flow by leveraging ICE Angels networks. They intend to offer more deals, many of which will be syndicated with other angel groups so that there will be a wider range of New Zealand’s great entrepreneurial investment opportunities.  The emphasis, however, will continue to be on supporting women entrepreneurs.

ArcAngels are keen to build their membership and so encourage you to get in touch, particularly if you are interested in attending the May 25 Investment Evening at [email protected].

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Angels head to TechweekAKL

New Zealand’s angel investors, a community which actively supports the development of new technologies, will be out in force at TechweekAKL.

Angel Association of New Zealand member’s are involved in two key events, positioned right in the centre of the week-long celebration of all things new and innovative.

[email protected]: 18th May, from 6pm, The Grid – book your seat here.
Tech Innovation Showcase: 18th May, 3.30–5.50pm, Astrolab – apply for an invitation here.

[email protected]

An important event revealing personal accounts of angel-entrepreneur relationships. It is a must-attend evening for founders, and would-be angels.

In relaxed and informal format investors from Flying Kiwi Angels, AngelHQ, Ice Angels and Enterprise Angels will share their personal stories, including their individual entrepreneurial experiences, investment thesis, what they expect from entrepreneurs and how they help grow successful companies – alongside investing their money.

As well as bringing together angels, entrepreneurs and angel groups [email protected] event also brings together key organisations in our New Zealand innovation ecosystem. The event is being held at The Grid, organised by Venture Centre, and is only made possible with the sponsorship of AANZ, alongside New Zealand Software Association and AngelEquity.

To book your ticket and make the most of the opportunity to share a drink, nibbles and some rare ‘get to know you time’ up close and personal with Angel investors click here

The Tech Innovation Showcase

An opportunity for current angel group members to register for a private event focusing on some of the IP rich organisations emerging from government-funded Tech Incubators, Astrolab, Powerhouse Ventures and WNT Ventures. Set up by Callaghan Innovation the incubators are mandated to draw complex IP from Crown Research Institutes and NZ University R&D departments for commercialisation. The event is being held at Astrolab for an invitation click here.

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Kiwi company turning waste into wealth

Mountains of slag all over the world are a Kiwi company’s idea of great riches.

The waste from mines is dumped into mounds so big that they can generate their own weather patterns — but New Zealand company Avertana says they can each be worth half a billion dollars.

Avertana is a start-up company that has received a kickstart from a new fund set up by The Icehouse innovation hub and its investors ICE Angels.

Read more

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New Zealand’s Angel Investment Market #ABAF15NZ

#ABAF15NZ: New Zealand’s Angel Investment Market

The largest gathering of early-stage angel investors in New Zealand along with more than 50 international angels with interest in cross-boarder investment joined together in Queenstown, NZ in October 2015.

# Debra Hall from Ice Angels NZ kicks off proceedings with an outline of the angel market in New Zealand and highlights of the year.

Presentation available here.

Click here to view video on youtube

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KPMG: Make migrants take a risk

The AANZ backs calls for more wealthy migrant money to be directed into early stage ventures. Some of our most active and effective angels are migrants. We need more!

Growth-focused investments should be required over passive ones such as government bonds, says report.

High-profile business organisations are calling for investor migrants to be required to channel more cash into productive, growth-focused New Zealand investments rather than safer options such as bonds.

Almost 80 per cent of investor visa recipients’ funds currently ends up in government and corporate bonds, according a paper published by professional services firm KPMG.

“Whilst these [bond investments] are still beneficial to New Zealand, some simple changes to our immigration policies can bring diversity and may help better leverage these migrants’ funds and valuable networks to help New Zealand business grow and expand,” KPMG said.

Business incubator The Icehouse, which is also calling for a policy overhaul, describes passive investments such as bonds as “lazy money” that does nothing to address capital constraints facing companies.

“Changing the rules on entry and for allocation could better align investment with the need to grow New Zealand’s economy and to increase its productivity, while aligning a stream of investment from the private sector, rather than relying on the Government to step in.”
KPMG said Kiwi businesses would require more than $420 billion in capital by 2025 to support the export growth required to achieve the Government’s Growth Agenda.

Its analysis suggested a $115 billion shortfall that would need to be funded by foreign investment.

“KPMG believes the best way to grow the economy is for investor migrants’ capital to be deployed in funding New Zealand businesses, particularly start-ups and early-stage businesses.”

Canada and Australia already require a portion of investor migrants’ funds to go into “at risk” investments.

New Zealand’s current investor immigration policy, which came into force in 2009, has attracted over 1600 applicants with over $3.7 billion to be invested into this country, according to KPMG.

There are two visa categories – Investor Plus and Investor – for migrants who want to use their capital to gain residence in New Zealand.

The latter requires a minimum of $1.5 million to be invested for four years, but applicants must be 65 or younger, meet English language requirements and spend at least 146 days in New Zealand in each of the last three years of the four-year investment period. They must also provide $1 million in settlement funds.

Investor Plus migrants must invest at least $10 million for three years but face no language or age requirements and have to spend only 44 days in New Zealand in each of the final two years of the investment period.

The Icehouse suggests some policy changes that could help channel migrant funds into more productive investments, including:

• Introducing a third investor visa category requiring $5 million to be invested, 10 to 20 per cent of which would have to go into growth investments such as angel, venture capital or small cap private equity funds. In return, other requirements would be reduced or eliminated.

• Amending the Investor Plus category to require a 10 per cent (or higher) investment in growth capital funds or direct investments.

Icehouse chief executive Andy Hamilton said migrant capital could also be deployed in other areas, such as creating new residential housing stock or regional economic development. KPMG said a portion of migrant investor funds – possibly 20 per cent – should be invested into angel or venture capital.

“This could be through a designated fund which has the same investment profile as the [government-backed] New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (VIF).

“This would offer some comfort to migrant investors that the portion of their investment capital at risk is being invested in early-stage companies that the New Zealand Government is happy to support through VIF.”

Yue Wang, KPMG’s director of immigration services, said most investor migrants would welcome such changes if they came with benefits such as faster visa processing or reduced requirements. “I don’t think it’s going to necessarily put them off.”

Angel Association executive director Suse Reynolds said changing investor migrant rules to direct a portion into growth investments would provide a “terrific boost” for early-stage companies.

“If wealthy migrants were required to invest into the growth areas of our economy, it will bring the New Zealand rules into line with what is happening in other developed countries.”

She said early stage investment would also help migrants integrate into New Zealand society as it was “a very collaborative affair”.

“It’s not just the capital but the networks and skills the providers of that capital bring to the table.”

See KPMG paper here

First published on nzherald.co.nz 14 Sept 2015

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App developer gains $5m in US funding round

Congrats to StQry Inc – now Area360 – who have raised US venture funding. Terrific to see the acknowledgement they have given to the wider ecosystem including angel investors in their success to date.

Wellington startup Stqry (pronunced “story”) has closed an initial $5.5 million funding round and announced a name change as it expands off-shore.

Now named Area360, the company’s software allows organisations such as museums, art galleries, airports and hospitals to engage with customers through geo-location technology – including beacons, GPS and WiFi – helping them to discover, connect and engage with what’s around them.

The startup was formed in 2012 by Chris Smith and Ezel Kokcu and now counts more than 400 customers worldwide – including Emirates, Te Papa, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.

Read also:
Mentors help hotelier develop new app
Crimson Consulting flush with new funds

“We started AREA360 to give organisations the ability to enhance their customer experience by providing navigation as well as relevant information and unique opportunities along their path,” Smith said.

“Using beacon and other location data, our platform enables customers to create a broad portfolio of useful services.

“For example, airports can deliver navigation to and from gates, along with a stop at the nearest Starbucks, museums can bring to life that new piece of art by presenting a video on the artist’s inspiration, and an operations manager can track their most valuable assets in real time.”

The funding round was led by US technology venture group Madrona Venture Group and comes as they were expanding their Wellington office and opening their US headquarters in Seattle, Smith said.

Area360 had received support in New Zealand from advisors Gareth Morgan, Dion Mortensen, Alan Gourdie and Sven Baker, as well support from organisations including the Callaghan Innovation, NZTE, Grow Wellington, and the ICE Angels.

“The support from New Zealand’s startup community helped us to thrive and our customer response has been overwhelming,” Smith said.

“We look forward to continuing to grow our business in the US, New Zealand and the rest of the world.”

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) customer manager Mike Evans said the company was a great example of an ambitious New Zealand tech company growing internationally by entering new markets.

“Their partnership with Madrona is an important endorsement of their already considerable success.”

First published on nzherald.co.nz 3rd September 2015

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App aims to ease pain of building projects

“Over time” and “over budget” are two phrases well known to anyone working in construction, so a couple of industry veterans have seized on these perennial pain points to create a high-tech solution they believe has global potential.

Antonia and David Speight are the entrepreneurs behind Acuite, a cloud-based web application that provides real-time visibility into the performance of construction projects.

It’s designed for those managing large-scale commercial jobs, helping them assess critical metrics as they are happening, such as time, cost, quality, health and safety, and relationships with subcontractors.

The Speights know first-hand about the risks involved in managing commercial construction projects, with David’s experience on the building contractor’s side and Antonia’s on the client side.

“If you look into industry statistics you’ll find about 75 per cent of projects go over budget and 90 per cent are delayed,” Antonia said.

David said current solutions did not allow users to access information with the kind of timelines needed in the fast-moving environment.

Early last year the couple decided to test their idea, joining business growth centre The Icehouse’s business incubation and market validation programme.

The process gave them confidence there was a market for their concept and in October last year they came up with a visual concept for Acuite.

They presented it to three major construction companies, convincing them to come on board as trial customers and have since been developing the software with those industry partners.

The pair have been working full time on Acuite since October.

The company also recently gained $500,000 of seed investment from the Auckland early stage investment group the Ice Angels and the national female investor-led group the ArcAngels, allowing them to grow their team and push ahead the development of the product, which is due for official launch this year.

First published on Nzherald.co.nz 20th August 2015

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#ABAF15NZ Speaker – Bill Payne

Meet the speakers #ABAF15NZ – Bill Payne

A key feature of the 2015 Asian Business Angel Forum is its international focus. The forum, bought to New Zealand by the AANZ, runs 14-16 October and has attracted leading early-stage investors from over a dozen countries.

Among a stellar group of thought-leaders the AANZ is pleased to welcome Bill Payne. A genuine rock star of angel investment. Bill is internationally recognized as one of the most senior and experienced experts in angel investment. He is an engineer, entrepreneur, angel investor and educator.

Register-now

For over three decades, Bill has successfully founded and invested in over 50 start-up companies, including Solid State Dielectrics, Inc., an electronic materials company he founded in 1971 and sold to E. I. DuPont in 1982.

Bill has delivered over 120 man-years of service on private company and non-profit boards of directors and has served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence to;

  • Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation – 1995-2007
  • McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, University of Arizona 2004
  • BNZ-University of Auckland – 2010
  • i2E – Innovation to Enterprise, Oklahoma City – 2010 to present

He has served on the founding committee of the Angel Capital Association (US), on six university advisory boards and as a founding organizer and member of four angel groups in the US

  • Aztec Venture Network – 1999 San Diego
  • Tech Coast Angels – 2000 San Diego
  • Vegas Valley Angels – 2004 Las Vegas
  • Frontier Angel Fund – 2006 Northwest Montana

In addition to facilitating over 100 workshops and seminars on angel investing in six countries Bill has been recognized by his angel investing peers and honored with the following awards:

  • 2009 Hans Severiens Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Angel Investing
  • 2010 New Zealand Arch Angel Award for his impact on angel investing in New Zealand
  • William H. Payne Active Angel Award – presented annually to the outstanding angel investor in Auckland’s ICE Angels

From 1995 to 2007 in his role with as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with the Kauffman Foundation (Kansas City), he worked on educational programs for entrepreneurs and their investors, including eVenturing.com and the Power of Angel Investing seminar series. While with Kauffman, he was also actively engaged in the formation and startup of the Angel Capital Education Foundation (now the Angel Resource Institute) and the Angel Capital Association.

For five months in 2010, Bill served as the BNZ University of Auckland Entrepreneur-in-Residence in New Zealand.  During this service, he delivered 20 seminars, 45 public lectures and mentored 75 entrepreneurs.  The ICEHOUSE chief executive Andy Hamilton said, “We were fortunate to have had Bill here working so closely with businesses and angel groups around New Zealand.  His guidance will have a positive effect on the start-up and investment community for a long time.”

Bill graduated with BS and MS degrees in Ceramic Engineering from the University of Illinois, where he has served on the Dean’s Board of Visitors of the College of Engineering.  His eBook, the Definitive Guide to Raising Money from Angels is available on his website at www.billpayne.com. He and his wife Ann are residents of Henderson, Nevada and Whitefish, Montana.

 

 

You can meet Bill in person, along with a host of angels from New Zealand’s angel investment community and the world by securing your seat now at one the southern hemisphere’s largest international exclusive angel investor events Asian Business Angels Forum, Queenstown, New Zealand, October 14-15.

 ABAF2015, NZ

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Icehouse Lightning Lab start-ups pitch to 300 investors

More wonderful ‘angel food’ being delivered by Lightning Lab. Congratulations to all those involved and best of luck to the companies for successful first rounds.

More than 300 investors are being offered the opportunity to invest in their choice of nine Auckland technology start-ups.

Auckland’s first Lightning Lab programme comes to a head at Spark’s headquarters on Thursday night as start-ups in a Dragon’s Den-style pitch their businesses to investors in the hope attracting funding.

The start-ups in the programme are Wearit, BrokerBetter.com, Justly, Roll, Designer Wardrobe, Logicore, Preno, Future Insight and Estimeet.

All up they were looking to raise a combined total of about $2 million, MacLeod- Smith said.

Lightning Lab gives selected start-ups $18,000 equity in exchange for an 8 per cent stake in the business.

The Lightening Lab is a digital accelerator programme run in partnership with incubation hub The Icehouse.

Founded by Wellington incubator Creative HQ, Lightning Lab mentors digital start-ups over 12 weeks, providing them with the skills and support to launch their businesses.

Auckland Lightning Lab programme organiser Mark MacLeod- Smith said each start-up was given eight minutes to stand up and sell their company, during which time investors were not able to ask questions.

After all the pitches had been presented the start-up owners networked with investors who then carry out due diligence over several weeks before deciding to invest in any of the companies, MacLeod- Smith said.

Read more on www.stuff.co.nz

 

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Garden shed start-up digs for feedback

Another brilliant example of the aspiration and energy angel backed companies have for growth and value creation. Congratulations to Ice Angels and John O’Hara who are leading this deal.

Auckland company AskNicely has launched an immediate, email-based feedback system to help companies know whether their customers are driving away happy.

Aaron Ward and John Ballinger launched AskNicely from their Parnell garden shed in November and have since seen customer growth double monthly to 1000 clients, with no signs of slowing, according to the pair.

Ward, who has a background in corporate marketing, said net promoter score systems had become a key barometer for measuring customer satisfaction in a lot of companies, ranking service and product based on ratings from questionnaires, but often by the time feedback had been received it was a few days or even weeks down the track, and the lengthy questionnaire often put customers off placing feedback.

“Everybody hates answering surveys so what we’ve done with AskNicely is break all of the conventions around traditional surveys,” Ward said.

“So instead of having multiple custom questions we’ve got one question and instead of putting it on to a website we embed the question directly into the email so that customers just have to click the zero to 10 button on the email so we’ve made it really light and fast and respectful of the user’s time.”

According to Ward, the biggest difference between AskNicely and other surveys is the response time, with results from AskNicely collated and reported immediately so that any issues or feedback can be resolved.

“The immediacy is absolutely core to our proposition,” Ballinger said. “So typically after you’ve had an interaction with a brand – so after you’ve bought something or called through to a support desk – what we do is automatically trigger that survey out so while that experience is fresh in the customer’s mind their opinion is going to be strongest, and because we make it really easy for the customer to respond, they’re happy to provide that feedback.”

Ballinger said time was particularly important when it came to negative feedback for a brand or company, where leaving an issue unresolved could result in further complaints from customers and potential damage to a brand or firm’s reputation.

According to Ward, response rates from customers using AskNicely were also up to five or six times higher than using regular net promoter score (NPS) systems, and the platform filled a previously vacant market niche for small to medium companies that could use the software as a service model on the scale they wanted from a free service for less than 100 surveys a month and scaling up in cost for larger companies sending out up to 100,000 surveys each month.

“Beyond any other marketing tool, positive word of mouth has become the holy grail of business success,” Ward said.

“Until now, businesses unable to afford the six-figure price tags for NPS have put up with conventional survey platforms that get poor response rates (less than 10 per cent) and deliver feedback too late,” he said.

“We knew the timing was right to launch an affordable, cloud-based solution that will deliver regardless of scale, sector, region or language.”

The pair had always aimed to be a global company and with 80 per cent of new customers coming from overseas and more than half of these in North America, where Ward said the NPS market was particularly strong, they saw the company’s success internationally as a good sign for New Zealand start-ups in general.

“We’re both very passionate about the idea of New Zealand tech start-ups taking on the world and while we’re effectively going global from a garage,” Ballinger said.

“We’re quite committed to growing a business that’s really small on the inside but can scale very large on the outside with customers.”

As published NZ Herald 7 May 2015

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Purely positive feedback for Canterbury Angels inaugural event

“Where have you been?” was BreatheEasy CEO Andrea Miller’s question to Christchurch angel investors last week.

Over 50 people turned out to Canterbury Angels’ inaugural investor evening, coming just weeks after the new group was formally launched and after months of planning from the middle of 2014 when the idea was conceived by a group of people involved in the city’s technology sector, with the active encouragement of other members of the Angel Association.

Founding Chair of Canterbury Angels, Ben Reid, introduced seven enterprises to the audience, including local companies Geozone and Linewize (alumni of Canterbury Development Corporation’s 2014 Hi-Growth Launch Programme) as well as Menumate and DebtorDaddy.

The line-up also included companies introduced by other Angel Association New Zealand (AANZ) partners: Skemaz (thank Angel HQ), and headline by LittleLot (IceAngels) and BreathEasy (IceAngels/Pacific Channel).

Feedback about the event, hosted by Duncan Cotterill, has been universally positive from both investors and founders and the organisers are already looking forward to future similar events.

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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

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Lightning jolt on offer to startups

Ten New Zealand startup companies could be getting fast tracked into the business world, with the launch next year of Auckland accelerator programme Lightning Lab.

The programme was founded by Wellington-based Creative HQ, which has since run two rounds of the Lightning Lab programme.

The success of the three-month mentoring programmes has led to expansion into Auckland and Christchurch.

Lightning Lab Auckland director Mark MacLeod-Smith said the programme was a great opportunity for start ups to accelerate their growth with seed funding from the programme as well as mentors and support.

“There’s a lot of companies up here that are looking for funding and looking for expertise and networks, and so that’s what we’re trying to provide,” MacLeod-Smith said.
“Giving access to these amazing mentors that possess experiences and have run tech companies and have networks they can open up, can really help grow these businesses throughout the programme.”

Ian Bishop, chief executive of coaching administration business CoachSeek which went through the Wellington programme last year, said the experience and guidance it had provided had significantly accelerated company growth. CoachSeek now has more than 400 customers in 40 countries, with Bishop saying that the company “simply would not be where [it is] today without having gone through the Lightning Lab programme”.

“I think the main thing for me is especially the early days of any startup, are absolutely crazy, and so Lightning Lab provided a proven structure to the early stage chaos,” Bishop said.

“To my mind it’s the single best opportunity here in New Zealand to fully focus on making an idea work, and like I said, it’s not just the money it’s the expertise and the networks it provides.”

The 10 companies will be selected early next year, with applications for the programme closing on December 17. Each of the companies receives seed funding of $18,000 as well as mentoring and programme support from a group of tech and business mentors, with the Lightning Lab programme taking an equity stake in each of the companies in return.

This year’s mentors include Greg Cross from PowerbyProxy, Vaughan Rowsell from Vend, Ben Young from digital agency Young & Shand, Claudia Batten entrepreneur and a number of others. MacLeod-Smith said the Lightning Lab team would be looking for digital and technology companies of a range of sizes and backgrounds.

“We’re looking for companies with anything from an idea with initial work, through to paying customers with revenue,” MacLeod-Smith said.

“It’s been fantastic what Wellington’s been able to achieve so obviously we’re looking to grow on that and make sure it’s a success nationally”

Applications for the programme close on December 17, with accepted companies chosen next year. The programme runs from March through to May.

Intensive mentoring

What is the Lightning Lab programme?
Lightning Lab is a 12-week intensive mentoring programme for startup companies providing mentors, networking and seed funding.

Who can apply?
Any small to medium company with an idea and a team through to a formed company with customers and revenue.

When do companies need to apply by?
Applications for the programme close on December 17.

First published on nzherald.co.nz 20 November 2014

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System gives coaches a business edge

Ian Bishop was buried in paperwork. He was spending almost as much time in front of his computer as with clients on the tennis court.

“Here I was with a growing coaching business and a team of dedicated coaches and it’s embarrassing to admit, but I was running off 150 separate spreadsheets just to keep it all going.”

Bishop went shopping, and was surprised to find nothing like a Vend (software solutions for retailers) or Xero (accountancy software for small businesses) occupying the sports management niche. So together with his business partners, IT sales and marketing manager Shaun Fitzmaurice and web developer Matthew Skilton, decided to invent something. They called it Coachseek.

After putting the business concept through its paces in Wellington’s business accelerator Lightning Lab, they realised they had stumbled on to a much more common problem than anticipated, says Bishop, chief executive of Coachseek.
“We surveyed hundreds of coaches around the world, across many disciplines, and found that 80 per cent were using some form of spreadsheet or paper-based system to run their business, all to varying degrees of accuracy and reliability.

“So there’s an interesting paradox in the sports coaching industry where coaches are using cutting edge technology in their coaching, but are stuck with out-of-date systems for how they run their businesses.”

Bishop says he’s seen how technology has filtered into the everyday life of a sports coach, from heart-rate monitors to video analysis apps, but it hasn’t really reached the back office.

“Through the pain I was experiencing in my own business, I had a natural interest in understanding how technology could benefit the way a coach operates their business.”

Coachseek pitched for funds at Lightning Lab’s May demonstration day. By September, the company had secured more than $450,000 through Auckland’s angel (early-stage) investment group Ice Angels and Wellington’s AngelHQ.

First published on nzherald.co.nz 20 November 2014

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Ray Thomson named as New Zealand Arc Angel 2014

Ray Thomson, the Auckland-based director of several budding Kiwi companies and a long-term angel  investor and early-stage investment champion has been awarded the prestigious Arc Angel Award at the 2014 Angel Summit in Auckland this week.

The Arc Angel Award is the highest honour New Zealand’s angel investment community can bestow. It recognises someone who has steadfastly championed the cause of angel investment and the investors who are willing to give a significant amount of time and money to help those start-ups and early stage companies, and particularly the entrepreneurs who risk all to establish those companies, to reach their potential.

Marcel van den Assum, chairman of the New Zealand Angel Association (AANZ) says the award was an acknowledgement of Ray Thompson’s long contribution to New Zealand’s angel investment industry. “Ray has been a long-term investor in and champion of early stage companies in New Zealand. He’s played active roles in both the Auckland-based Ice Angels group and the Angel Association, of which he is a past chairman. Most importantly he has unstintingly promoted angel investment, helping it to become a powerful force in New Zealand’s economic development today.”

Suse Reynolds, AANZ Executive Director, says Ray has not only been a mentor to many new entrepreneurs, but many new angels too. “He always has time for a cup of coffee with anyone needing help or advice whether about the company they are growing or the companies they want to invest in. He’s a true New Zealand angel and we’re all delighted he’s been given this year’s Arc Angel Award.”

Ray Thomson joined the ICE Angels in 2007 following an active and extensive career as a share broker, director and chair of a number of different investment groups. He has invested more than $1 million through the ICE Angels and directly into more than 25 companies, including Biomatters, Nexus 6, Inro, Drumleaf, Caldera, IM-Able, Nextspace, Booktrack, Parrot Analytics, Footfalls & Heartbeats, Varigate, Puteko, GreenButton, Manuka Health and Supreme Biotechnologies. He was a member of the ICE Angel’s Advisory Board from December 2010 until December 2013 and was the inaugural recipient of the William H. Payne Active Angel Award in November 2010 for being the most active ICE Angels’ Investor. He is on the Global from Day One (GD1) Fund Investment Committee and serves on a number of boards including Manuka Health New Zealand, Supreme Biotechnologies, Rush Digital Interactive and the Institute of Directors.

Former Arc Angel winners include Phil McCaw, managing partner of investment firm Movac; The Warehouse founder and long-time angel investor Stephen Tindall; Andy Hamilton, chief executive of Auckland-based incubator and business educator The Icehouse; and US super angel and Kiwiphile Bill Payne.

The sixth annual Angel Summit in Auckland was attended by over 120 delegates including investors from New Zealand, Australia and the United States. The Summit included an investment showcase in association with the local angel network, ICE Angels, where 12 high-growth companies, all with global aspirations, pitched to a packed house of investors.

Ends

For more information, please contact:

Marcel van den Assum, chair AANZ, on mob: 021 963 459 or email: [email protected]; or

Suse Reynolds, AANZ executive director, on 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; to support the angel networks and help create new networks; to promote the growth of angel investment in New Zealand by encouraging and educating entrepreneurs, new angel investors and angel groups; and to ensure the ongoing success of the angel movement through developing industry strategy, encouraging collaboration and educating the wider New Zealand public about the importance of angel investing in growing our economy. AANZ currently has 13 members representing more than 600 individual angels associated with New Zealand’s key angel networks and funds. Recent NZ Venture Investment Fund data revealed angels have invested almost $NZ300 million in over 600 deals in the last 7 years. For more, please visit: www.angelassociation.co.nz

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Angels lifting the Far North higher

The Angel Assn, with backup from Ice Angels is delighted to support the creation of an angel network in Northland.

Northland start-up companies could now get their hands on investments of up to $100,000 as an Angel Network is ready to spread an investment mantle across the region, with up to 20 high net worth investors poised to give wings to new business. Christine Allen looks at the Dragon’s Den style divine intervention blossoming in the region

There is nothing supernatural about the investors that will consider the business pitches of two Northland companies next month – they just have the capital that start-ups need and are hungry for some tasty returns.
The New Zealand Angel Association is operating networks in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Queenstown, connecting investors with early stage companies.

Through Ice Angels in Auckland, economic development group Northland Inc has so far engaged up to 20 investors in Northland.

Two Whangarei companies, and one from Auckland, will face the panel of Northland angels in October. The companies have IT-based pitches and have been working with Northland Inc to perfect their applications before meeting investors.
Their training has focused on due diligence, business opportunities and presentation skills.
Suse Reynolds, executive director of the New Zealand Angel Association, said individual angels invest between $5000 and $100,000 in any one deal.

They often have up to 20 deals on the go at any one time and accept that 50 per cent of deals will flop.
“Angel investing is such a powerful thing to do for a local economy.
She said some angels preferred to remain under the radar.
“But others are very happy to be ev-angel-ists for the cause.”

Mostly, they are looking for a meaningful return. The association offer networks and also funds, which companies can apply for, with or without opportunities for mentoring and strategic influence.
Currently, angels must earn a net $200,000 per year for over two years or have access to assets worth $2 million or more.
Financial Markets Authority reforms would soon allow smaller investors to come on board, thus expanding angel networks for smaller deals.

Technology is one of the network’s preferred areas of investment. Networks are also accredited with the Seed Co-Investment Fund, allowing for potential for qualifying transactions to receive the matching Government funds.
Joseph Stuart, general manager of business growth at Northland Inc said as 25 per cent of New Zealand’s top 50 rich listers had homes or holiday in the east coast of Northland, we have plenty of angels.
Mr Stuart said Northland offered an attractive lifestyle to business people, which was perhaps why we had so many potential investors here.

“Lots of wealthy New Zealanders come here on holidays, but have they been approached to become investors and mentors?
“Yes they are on holidays, but businesspeople love a good investment opportunity.”

First published on nzherald.co.nz 11 Sept 2014

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Crowdfunding door opens for NZ corporates

First published in New Zealand Herald Wednesday April 2, 2014

New rules enable firms to raise up to $2m a year without having to issue a prospectus.

Around a dozen companies have indicated interest in setting up crowd-funding or peer-to-peer lending platforms as new rules come into force making it easier for businesses to raise capital. The first regulations in an overhaul of capital markets law came into effect yesterday, opening the door for these new platforms to be set up. Equity crowd-funding involves members of the public providing capital to businesses in exchange for shares.

The new regulations introduced by the mammoth Financial Markets Conduct Bill, which came into force yesterday, enable companies to raise up to $2 million a year in crowd-funding without having to issue a prospectus. Peer-to-peer lending, which allows businesses or individuals to borrow funds from the public, usually through an online platform, is also covered by this new regime. Both equity crowd-funding platforms and peer-to-peer lenders need to be licensed by the Financial Markets Authority.

The FMA has already received around a dozen “expressions of interests” for these licences, which companies could apply for from yesterday, a spokeswoman said. “While applications will not be processed overnight the process is expected to take a matter of weeks rather than months. However, this will also depend on the quality of information provided by applicants,” she said.

As well as paving the way for equity crowd-funding, the new regulations also allow for companies to raise up to $2 million from 20 investors in a year without needing to issue a prospectus or investment statement. New Zealand Private Equity & Venture Capital Association executive director Colin McKinnon said this “small offer” provision would make the capital raising process easier and mean there aren’t as many hoops to jump through. The Icehouse chief executive Andy Hamilton said the provision would save the likes of the Ice Angels investment network “a substantial” amount of time. McKinnon said the capital-raising sections of the law would contribute “to a vibrant capital market from angels [networks] through to private ownership to the public market”.

Law firm Simpson Grierson said both the crowd-funding provisions and the small offer provisions were “particularly relevant to start-ups” and would provide them with more options to raise money without having to go through the “expense of full disclosure”. While he called parts of the new regime exciting, Hamilton said it was unclear what sort of crowd-funding deals would be successful. “Is it going to be consumer-facing companies trying to take advantage of their band of loyal followers who might put in a few hundred dollars each or is it actually going to be a platform where you see bigger investment rounds being done?”

Market watchdog gets sharper teeth: expert New Zealand’s market watchdog now has an “immensely powerful, proactive toolbox” to stamp out misleading behaviour before people are harmed as new regulations kick in today, says Chapman Tripp partner Roger Wallis. A centrepiece of the new capital markets rules is a section banning misleading and deceptive conduct and Wallis said this part was “immensely powerful”. “Particularly when it goes hand in hand with the new tools which the FMA [Financial Markets Authority] have,” he added. If the FMA believes something has been misrepresented, rather than prosecuting someone five years after the fact it can stop the relevant material from being distributed. “So, for example, if they don’t like something they can basically put out a notice saying stop doing it … let’s say there’s a backdoor listing out there. They [the FMA] don’t think the disclosure’s up to scratch, they could issue a notice requiring people to correct their disclosure or provide additional information,” Wallis said. “They could stop distribution of materials until the materials are brought up to scratch.”

Read the original article from New Zealand Herald

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Algae find sets firm on road to success

It makes salmon and cooked shellfish red. It’s in demand from marathon runners, performance athletes and the sports recovery market as a food supplement and its antioxidant qualities mean it may be beneficial in treating cardiovascular, immune and neurodegenerative diseases.

Auckland businessman and angel (or early stage company) investor Ray Thomson also stumbled across astaxanthin and Dowd’s fledgling astaxanthin company Supreme Biotech while at the Natural Products Conference in Nelson in 2010.

Traditionally New Zealand angel investors have been reticent about biotech but the sector’s image has been boosted recently by the outstanding performance of cancer diagnostics company Pacific Edge, says Thomson, who’s also chairman of the NZ Angel Association.

With revenue now at about $1 million a year, Thomson predicts Supreme Biotech is about six months away from breaking even and unlikely to need another angel funding round.

Angel investing is fundamental to New Zealand’s future wealth, says Thomson, and using the knowledge and experience of successful executives to mentor early-stage entrepreneurs as angels do is crucial in whether a new company succeeds or not. “[It] isn’t just about money. It’s about giving these entrepreneurs some real leadership and help along the way, that’s why it’s so exciting.”

Full story first published in the New Zealand Herald on Thursday February 13 2014

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Fuel50’s US expansion with Ice Angels support

An Auckland company whose software helps businesses and workers communicate about career development plans to expand into America and open an office in San Francisco with help from the Ice Angels investment network.

Career Engagement Group’s cloud-based software, Fuel50, is used by about 40 organisations worldwide and locally, including Westpac, Frucor, Zed, Fisher & Paykel Finance, and Fonterra.

The software is designed to help workers with career development within an organisation.

The company was launched two years ago and had five staff at the end of December but expected to double in size by March, Fulton said.

It has recently secured more than $1 million of funding from the Ice Angels investment network and plans to open an office in San Francisco early this year.

Full story first published in New Zealand Herald Thursday Janaury 30 2014

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Firm uses cell network, cloud for surveillance work

Imagine you’re charged with managing a number of rural properties from a distance. Private landfill sites or parks and forestry land, for example. How would you protect against fly-tippers (illegal dumping), vandals or arsonists?

Video surveillance is expensive and technically difficult, especially when your locations are far from your base. Transferring your surveillance footage from one place to another needs a high-capacity broadband connection, which isn’t available in many remote locations.

Husband and wife entrepreneurs Helen and Scott Wattie founded their business Mi5 Security with business partner and director Nick Mooyman and decided to target this untapped potential market.

“Technology’s solving a problem where once only a human response was possible,” Helen says.

Mi5 uses the cellular network and its proprietary cloud computing platform, iDefigo, to keep tabs on remote locations.

This simplifies surveillance and monitoring of remote environments, even where power and Wi-Fi aren’t readily available.

Surveillance footage can be transferred using only modest amounts of bandwidth.

The business is based on four interwoven revenue streams – video surveillance as a service subscription via the cloud, mobile data services, platform licensing fees and hardware sales.

But the Watties soon realised having a product on the market and their business processes and structures in place weren’t enough if they wanted to develop the business quickly. They approached angel investor and entrepreneur Scott Gilmour for advice on raising capital to fuel their expansion plans.

They’d first met Gilmour through the Software Association. Initially, it was not their intention for him to invest in the business – they simply wanted his advice on where to look for investment, says Helen.

“Scott quickly introduced us to the possibility of gaining angel investment at a critical growth stage of our business.”

Gilmour, meanwhile, was an established angel investor, having worked at Intel for more than 12 years and was founder of the “I have a Dream” charitable trust in ths country.

Mi5 security was an interesting-sounding investment opportunity, he says, but he was initially more attracted by the founders’ commitment to the company.

“I got to know them and the company and I just thought they were good people, which is my prime requirement for getting involved.”

Gilmour is a founding member of the Ice Angels, the largest group of angel investors with more than 100 members. With a decade of Ice Angels experience, as well as seven years on the advisory board of Trade and Enterprise’s Beachheads Initiative (which connects companies to a network of private sector advisers), Gilmour says between 30 and 40 companies present their business plans to him every year, but few grab his attention like Mi5 did.

Gilmour became chairman of Mi5 Security in July last year and has since raised more than $1 million in two finance rounds, helping pave the way for the company’s expansion into Britain.

From their earliest discussions Gilmour understood Mi5’s proposition, Helen says, and having such a good and committed chairman has been instrumental in helping the company to grow quickly.

“Without Scott as the communication gateway between ourselves and our investors, we’d find ourselves crippled by paperwork and frustrated by the time spent educating people on our business and justifying our decisions.”

Like many high-tech start-ups Mi5 isn’t profitable yet as it’s reinvesting for growth, but it already has many customers here and in Australia and channel partners, as well as a growing UK and mainland European presence.

But it faces the same challenges all Kiwi tech companies do, says Gilmour: access to capital, management capabilities and distance from market. So the Watties are now based in London.

Produced in conjunction with the Angel Association of New Zealand.

First published in New Zealand Herald on Thursday November 7 2013

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Bread man uses his loaf to beat crate conundrum

Steve Haythorne says his Mobot can save firms thousands.

In his past life as a supply chain manager, entrepreneur Steve Haythorne would send 30,000 loaves of bread from Auckland to Whangarei each night. But he noticed a problem – each of the three trucks it took to do the job was only 60 per cent full.

Haythorne’s conundrum stemmed from a baking industry convention: standard loaf crates were stacked in piles of 12 or 13, which was as high as they could be stacked to allow the delivery guys to heft them around on a handbarrow and reach the top to unload.

The stacks were too low to fill up the trucks, but still heavy and dangerous, Haythorne said.

“It’s a very labour-intensive job that involves a lot of man-handling as well as creating a dangerous environment … I thought there has to be a better way.”

After searching for some handling machinery that could do the job better drew a blank, Haythorne set about creating his own.

The result is Mobot – an all-electric, stand-on, zero-turn device designed to move items that are too small for forklifts but too heavy to be safely moved by the ubiquitous handbarrow.

A Mobot is manoeuvrable enough to work within the confines of a delivery truck.

It is capable of lifting a stack of 10 crates and then putting another 10 on top, so it can fill a delivery truck to its full height, Haythorne said.

“That results in a massive financial payback. A Mobot could save that Whangarei bread run $700,000 annually, because it can now be made by two trucks instead of three.”

The machines will also vastly improve health and safety conditions, increasing workplace productivity and reducing ACC costs, he said.

After receiving some early expressions of interest in a concept vehicle he built more than 18 months ago from his then-employer, Goodman Fielder, as well as Fonterra and bread maker Tip Top, Haythorne quit his job to work full-time on his new company, Mobotech.

“I sold my house, all my shares and went into hock on everything and just poured it all into getting a prototype vehicle together.”

A year ago Haythorne showed that prototype to the guys at angel investment firm Sparkbox Ventures. They liked what they saw and invested seed capital of $200,000 from the Global from Day One fund – a joint venture between Sparkbox and Auckland business incubator The Icehouse, with half the funding matched from the Government’s New Zealand Venture Investment Fund.

A further boost was given to the fledgling company with a $112,000 grant from Callaghan Innovation.

Sparkbox venture principal Mark Robotham said Mobots had great market potential.

“The niche market in the bread and milk sectors is enough to make the business very successful, but there are other opportunities to extend it to wider markets,” he said.

“What we’re trying to do with companies like this is get engaged very early on to ensure they reach global markets as quick as they possibly can … it’s all based on the rationale of grow fast [or] fail fast.”

Haythorne has used his seed funding to create a final prototype, which he plans to show at a world baking expo in Las Vegas this month.

He’s also about to embark on a second investment round to help fund Mobot’s manufacture and initiate sales in the US. Already having a track record with funders will make that process a lot easier, he said.

“I’m just very appreciative that the angels elected to get in behind the idea because it never would have gone anywhere without them.”

Produced in association with the Angel Association of New Zealand.

First published in the Herald on Thursday October 10 2013

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Smart-fabric sews up Angel Investment

Christchurch-based Footfalls & Heartbeats has developed a manufacturing process that uses nanotechnology within the textile structure that acts as a sensor.

The company says there’s potential for the fabric to be used in a wide range of applications, including the monitoring of patients’ vital signs in hospitals.

In its latest funding round Footfalls & Heartbeats has secured investment from the Global From Day One programme, Wellington’s Sparkbox Ventures, the Government-backed New Zealand Venture Investment Fund and a group of private investors.

The firm has also become the first Kiwi start-up to secure funding from the China Angels, an angel investment group linked to local business incubator The Icehouse made up of Chinese investors who reside in this country.

Auckland investment firm Pacific Channel already held a cornerstone shareholding in Footfalls & Heartbeats and its head, Brent Ogilvie, has become the smart fabric company’s managing director.

Ogilvie said the company’s first commercial application was a smart compression bandage, which would be used for wound care.

“We’ve signed an agreement to advance that [bandage] with a company in the US and we’re about three months from having a prototype.”

Footfalls & Heartbeats said other areas its product could be used in included monitoring of infants, stroke patients, athletes and workers in high-risk environments. There was even potential for it to be used to measure mechanical stress in satellites, aircraft wings, wind turbine blades, yacht hulls and high-performance cars.

Ogilvie said the firm planned to license its technology to other companies. The compression bandage was not expected to face any regulatory hurdles and it shouldn’t be “many more months” after the prototype is released before the product enters the market, he said.

Footfalls & Heartbeats was founded by Kiwi chemistry researcher Simon McMaster, who is now based in Britain.

AUT University and AgResearch have also been involved in the development of the fabric.

First published in the New Zealand Herald on Thursday June 6 2013

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Safety-vest light system attracts international clients

Auckland start-up Lightknight has just begun selling its worker illumination system but the firm already has an impressive list of customers and is focused on taking the New Zealand-developed technology worldwide.

The St Johns-based company has created a lightweight, waterproof lighting system that can be retrofitted to existing high-visibility vests, which it says makes users stand out more at night than they would wearing conventional safety gear.

Managing director Mario Vulinovich said the potentially life-saving electro-luminescent technology solved the problem of conventional vests being ineffective after dark.

In addition, the Lightknight system could be transferred to new vests as older ones wore out, he said.

Funding, including from Auckland’s Ice Angels investment group and the Government-backed New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, was secured in 2011.

The Lightknight system, which is manufactured in China, was launched late last year and its local customers already include construction firms Fulton Hogan and Fletcher Building, as well as the Auckland Motorway Alliance, which is responsible for the upkeep of the city’s motorways.

Across the Tasman the Victoria Mounted Police are testing the technology, with the illuminated strips going on the horses’ backsides as well as riders.

Australian construction firm John Holland, and Leighton Contractors – which provides services to a range of industries including mining, infrastructure and telecommunications – have also ordered units. Ports of America, which operates 42 ports in the United States, and global miner Rio Tinto had ordered trial units.

The Lightknight system costs $195 a unit, plus $10 for each retrofitting.

He said the Ice Angels investment had allowed the firm to establish a solid board of directors.

Lightknight’s chairman is Ron Halls, a New Zealander who was the chief executive of international footwear retailer Foot Locker from 2006 to 2011.

Also on the board is Nigel McLisky, Sigrid’s father, who co-founded Innovair, the developer of the RoboCan pest control product that was sold to household goods giant SC Johnson in 2008.

Vulinovich said there was potential to supply to consumers, including cyclists. He added that Lightknight was likely to break even by the end of this year.

First published in the New Zealand Herald on Thursday Mar 14 2013

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