#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.

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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

Equity crowdfunding’s strong start

A strong start for equity crowdfunding platforms reflects a genuine appetite to support inspirational NZ businesses. It’s important that these companies get more than just support in the form of capital but also with value and market growth strategies.

Fifteen young firms have raised a total of $8.7 million through three equity crowdfunding platforms since the low-strings fund-raising mechanism got the green light from regulators last year.  The sum may be small compared to the $55m that well-heeled “angel investors” pumped into high-growth businesses last year and to the $4.7b bigger businesses raised through the NZX stock exchange in 2014.

It looks even tinier when compared with the current value of bank loans to businesses, which stood at $80b in April, according to the Reserve Bank.

But Chapman Tripp corporate lawyer Bradley Kidd says the start is encouraging.

More platforms have been set up than he expected to support equity crowdfunding and there have been some “really good offers”, he says. “I’d say it has gone a bit better than I’d of expected.”

Read more on www.stuff.co.nz

How Should You Value an Early Stage Company?

Ralph Shale provides some interesting insights for angels on how to value an early stage company.

Investors should try to use a range of methods to validate what is a reasonable valuation. The only certainty in any valuation is that it will be wrong, in hindsight either too high or too low.

Valuing any business is an art not a science, with a lot of room for personal interpretation. There are a number of valuation approaches that investors can use. The best advice is to cross-check several before determining what is or not a reasonable valuation. My own approach:

Value invested to date
Although this is probably the crudest approach, it is interesting to understand how much has been invested to date to get the company to its current position. This should include both cash and an allowance for time (sweat equity). This ‘replacement’ cost can then be adjusted for the following:

  • What are the barriers to entry for competitors, such as intellectual property rights?
  • How long would it take a competitor to replicate the opportunity?
  • Has the investment to date been 100% effective? If money invested is going down the wrong path, the opportunity should be excluded.
  • What is a reasonable return on the investment, given the risks taken by the entrepreneur and investors?

Read more on www.wholesaleinvestor.com.au

Angel evangelist making the New Zealand connection

John May is founding chair of America’s Angel Capital Association (ACA). He’s championed the cause of entrepreneurs and angel investors all over the world since realising big organisations weren’t for him, establishing five US angel groups and working internationally to establish more. He’s co-authored books on the subject, is managing partner of angel investment firm New Vantage Group and is investment director for UK-based global venture fund, Seraphim. He came to New Zealand to meet our angel community setting the scene for ABAF 2015 in October, Queenstown, NZ. We asked him why?

I loved it when I was here before, but I wanted to come back for longer, not just for a four-day thing… to get a better feel for the New Zealand business community, the angel community, but also the neighbourhood.

It hasn’t disappointed.

But to what end, exactly?

I’ve been around the world running the (Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s) Power of Angel Investing series and trying to get a better feel for what’s going on in different countries and how best to collaborate.

We’re not looking for countries that have the best deals to go write cheques, that’s the big fallacy: we’re not running international angel development workshops and building global networks because we’re deal orientated; we’re movement orientated.

What happens when your company wants to go from here to a bigger market in Southern California? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was communication between the angels of Southern California and the angels backing the company here? You don’t want to hire a lawyer in Southern California to tell you how to run a business in Southern California… wouldn’t it be better to have mentors and supporters in Southern California who are co-investors.

So you wanted to come here to build connections?

Yes and more. One of my big things is to get more overseas investors to come to our ACA conference to learn what we are doing.

Here’s some sobering statistics: even in the US – the largest economy in the world, the largest venture capital community in the world – we believe only about 5% of households are wealthy enough to be angels, not friends or family, but proper angels. And my definition of a proper angel is an individual who invests their own money in a stranger’s business, in a minority position, gives their time as well as their money and there is no one else in-between.

And of those 5% who can, we think there’s only 5% who do. And now we’re getting to the bottomline: not only do we think that only 5% of those who can, do, only 5% of those who do, ever do it in a structured, disciplined, portfolio diversification, networked group way and I bet New Zealand is pretty similar.

 

JohnMay_Dinner

 

You really push the group concept. But why is it so important for that 5% of 5% to be part of an investment group?

What we’ve learnt is that we need to diversify our portfolios, which means getting out of our comfort zones. It also takes more money than we have personally to take a company that’s going to be significant from startup to breakeven and it takes time to do due diligence on the opportunity. Who’s going to make the phone calls? Who’s going to have the meetings? Who’s going to do the market research? So if you decide you’re going to diversify, if you’re going to do due diligence to make you comfortable, and you’re going to have enough money on the table to make it a viable company, what you learn very quickly is you can’t be a solo angel and do this.

What our companies need are cheques for US$250,000 to US$1 million and to deliver that and diversify your portfolio you need to be in a group, even better, a syndicate of groups – that’s the big movement in the US right now – the syndication of groups.

Why is that so important?

Well if you need US$2 million, it may be above the capacity of an individual group, but you may be able to bundle four angel groups or funds together and all of a sudden you’ve got a couple of million dollars, so then the company can finish developing their product or get their first sales and really get on their way.

 You wrote the book: “Every business needs an angel” – why does every business need an angel?

The real wink is every high-growth, successful business, as opposed to a mom and pop store, needs an angel because it’s lonely out there doing it on your own; you need a mentor; you need risk capital; there’s so many reasons why angels are important for companies…an entrepreneur gets a board member, a friend, an adviser.

Doesn’t it depend on the angel they get?

Yes, and it depends on the entrepreneur. Some entrepreneurs just give lip service to the help; they really just want the money. Then there’s the lip service of an angel who says I’m going to be your friend, I’m going to be your adviser, I’m going to be available and then doesn’t answer the phone. It doesn’t always work. But it’s an art not a science.

The real wink is getting the right angel with the right entrepreneur because some angels can be great board members, but aren’t good at helping to find staff, sales or marketing; while some are good as a shoulder to cry on, but aren’t good at financials; some are good for startup and some are good for growth companies. That’s another reason why groups are better than individuals.

The right angel should always be a joint decision between the entrepreneur and the investors. There should be a chemistry between them and there should be a staging of the need, so the right investor for the company at the right time.

Should angel investors always have representative on the board?

Advisory boards are very important, but companies don’t need boards of directors until they’ve grown a little bit.

It’s also very important for [the chosen investor representative] to have a way of communicating to the other angel investors, so the entrepreneur doesn’t have to waste their time communicating with all of them.

What’s the most common mistake entrepreneurs make when they seek investment?

Thinking they know it all. It’s quite rare to find a coachable, industry-savvy, less egotistical entrepreneur their first time around.

I’m a big believer in investing in second-time entrepreneurs. A serial entrepreneur is a wonderful thing to invest in, because someone has already paid for their mistakes the first time round. But that’s another thing that’s fascinating about here: New Zealand is a place where almost everyone is a first time entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs need to understand the first thing angels look for is management, management, management; the second thing is a large market; and the third, if we’re smart, is the product or service, the technology, whatever. Yet most entrepreneurs want to sell us on the fact their thing is faster, cheaper, better, slicker, more fun first. But we invest in the jockey not the horse.

The problem is an entrepreneur has to have the dream and the ego to handle it. So there is a natural tendency to want to invest in someone who has a lot of confidence and a lot of energy. But if they are really going to grow their business into a significant company, they need to be humble enough to understand they can’t know everything: they are going to have to hire people; they are going to have to listen to people, so finding someone who is coachable is important.

What’s the most common thing angels do wrong?

Hearts over heads…and not providing enough tough love once we’ve invested: are you being direct enough; are you talking about the exit; are you educating the entrepreneur; are you telling it like it is instead of waiting until it gets worse to say something? That’s why you have to have the right chemistry; you can’t be in awe of each other. The entrepreneur shouldn’t think we’re just money and we shouldn’t think they are running the company so we shouldn’t give them our frank opinion.

Why do you love this area so much?

It’s the people. It’s the entrepreneurs. They are so important because they make businesses; they make money. We benefit from the vision, the energy, the business model of the entrepreneur…so the excitement for me is being a part of this journey.

Plus it’s what it does. It boosts any economy, any city to find a way to finance innovative new technologies and products. Economies will go backward if they don’t stay in touch with newer, faster ways of meeting their needs. And it creates jobs, futures. Major corporations are net job losers; they cut costs, find efficiencies. All the research shows startups and SMEs are the net job creators of modern economies.

But angels also have to make money in the end or it’s a losing proposition and will fade away.

JohnMay_IceAngels

What should we be doing more of in New Zealand to improve our angel ecosystem?

Find as many ways as possible to educate the media, the government, the wider community that supporting high-growth companies matters; make people aware of the benefits to the entire economy of making this work, of encouraging more entrepreneurs, of making smarter entrepreneurs and of helping to make more and smarter angels.

We need to encourage more angels to increase the amount of capital available, because the more capital there is available the more likely people are to diversify and thus the more capital there is for different sectors to develop new products, and we need more angels to bring different skills into the mix. There is so much going on in social media and some of the new technology, for example, that you almost have to find a way to search out the recently cashed-out, under 40-year olds because they can make a material difference to understanding the current consumer market for those sorts of companies. It’s also hard to be an investor and help an entrepreneur and do due diligence on them if you don’t understand what they are doing.

We tend to talk to ourselves far too much.

by Lesley Springall

To meet and hear from international angels and leaders in New Zealand’s angel investment community and make your New Zealand connection secure your seat at one the southern hemisphere’s largest international exclusive investor events Asian Business Angels Forum, being held in Queenstown, New Zealand, October 14-15 2015.

ABAF2015, NZ

Supporting CEOs in your Portfolio Companies #ACAAngelSummit

Angels Connect NZ Series – Bill Murphy from Enterprise Angels reports from USA Angel Capital Association Conference 2015

Recognising the crucial role angel investors play in a company’s development after the first round of funds have been committed, the ‘Supporting Portfolio CEOs‘ workshop took a deep dive into leveraging board member skills to guide a company through value accretion to exit.

The first point made was how important it is for angels to acquire the skills and knowledge required to properly manage the important issues following investment. It is also clear that it takes a real commitment to be effective.

Ideally an investor-director should be putting in a couple of days a week, with their primary function being ‘chief encouragement officer’.

As most founders don’t have experience running a business the angel director should be constantly asking questions that support the growth of the founder, the team and the company. Complaining and blaming don’t help.

Key questions to be asked and answered on a regular basis include;

  • What’s the cashflow position?
  • What cash is it going to take to get us to the next fundable round of investment?
  • Have we defined our market tightly and distinctly so that we can “own” that market? and
  • How can I help develop strategy?

Calling and talking to the CEO on a random basis (in addition to regular board meetings) was also suggested. These conversations are far more effective than written communications. Discussing progress ‘on the fly’, one on one, is a really effective means of teasing out issues.

Every investor-director should regularly review material which provides an introduction to governance of an angel backed company. Understanding how the functions of an early-stage board differ from boards of established companies is vital. Attending a course or reading up on this is hugely helpful.

Sitting down with the founder and the team at the outset to make sure expectations about the exit and path to exit are agreed and aligned is highly recommended. This should be done even before the first cheque is written.

The ideal size for an early stage, high growth company is five. Three members will be independent of management. It is paramount that management and the board have complete clarity about expectations regarding reports and reporting – how often, how long, covering what etc. Panelists and attendees at the workshop agreed it’s far better to warn entrepreneurs you are going to be a ‘pain in the ass’ at the outset and made the point that there will be less pain for everyone if regular timely reporting is carried out.

Another useful tip was immediately after investment it’s worth taking time to map out with the entrepreneur and the board the first 6 month’s implementation plan with a laser focus. Many founders are overly opportunistic, running after every opportunity or adopting every customer request for product iteration. This is unlikely to add value to the enterprise.

Other useful suggestions included;

  • Doing a SWOT analysis on a regular basis.
  • Setting annual milestones which are informed by the CEO talking to potential acquirers about what the company needs to look like to be bought.
  • Helping the CEO identify non-dilutive sources of capital.

Finally, the audience was reminded that accessing the angel group at regular angel group meetings where investor-directors and founders can talk about what stage the venture is at, is a really effective way to achieve better results. These meetings serve a dual purpose – they keep members informed so they are likely to be positively disposed to the next funding round and they increasing the chances of success by leveraging the intellectual resources of the entire angel group, pulling contacts and experience.

It was encouraging to hear that many of the activities the AANZ is undertaking reflect international best practice outlined in the workshop. The governance course for new angel directors being developed by the AANZ with some help from New Zealand’s Institute of Directors (email [email protected] for more information) and the increasing number of member meetings (outside regular pitch evenings) all bode well for NZ angels and entrepreneurs. A shared focus, regular reporting and leveraging shared networks are key components of multimillion-dollar exits.

Bill Murphy

For more crowd-sourced intel from #ACAAngelSummit 2015 as it happened clik.vc/nzangelaca15

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For more highlights from attendees who attended the conference clik.vc/Angels_connectNZ

To meet and hear from international angels and leaders in New Zealand’s angel investment community secure your seat at one the southern hemisphere’s largest international exclusive investor events Asian Business Angels Forum, being held in Queenstown, New Zealand, October 14-16 2015.ABAF2015, NZ

Angels flock to networks

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AANZ Media release: 1 May 2015

The number of angel investors who have joined networks and funds has risen dramatically in the past two years, says the Angel Association of New Zealand Executive Director Suse Reynolds.

“While it’s not easy to be definitive about these numbers we estimate the number of eligible angel investors represented by our members has grown from around 370 to 730 in the past two years.  Interest in this asset class is showing growth worldwide and in New Zealand this has coincided with a campaign we have been running to attract new investors.

“We are thrilled with the impact this has had. New activity and networks are emerging from one end of the country to the other – in Northland, Bay of Plenty and Southland, in addition to the major metropolitan centres.

“This growth in investor numbers is helping to fuel the increase in investment activity.  This year angel networks and funds recorded their second consecutive year of more than $50 million of investment. The level of annual investment is almost triple what it was a decade ago.

“Having more angel investors participating in deals is good for the sector. It helps active angels diversify their portfolios reducing the risk associated with angel investment. If there are 10 angel investors contributing to a $250,000 investment in a start-up rather than five, then each investor’s contribution is smaller and they can spread their capital across wider portfolios, thereby increasing the potential for return on investment and giving them more capital to put in other startups.

Last year particularly was a fabulous year in early stage investment in New Zealand with some impressive statistics about the number of deals done and money invested, says Suse. “What’s really exciting is that across the country the dramatic increase in our capability and capacity in the last year means more high-growth, startup companies having a much better chance of accessing much needed capital.

“We are very aware our data does not tell the full story as it is only representative our members’ activity. We also applaud and champion the large number of early stage investors outside this community, such as those launching and investing through crowd funding platforms and others who prefer to operate more independently.

“One of the most inspiring aspects of angel investment is that studies show that the majority of net job growth in the economy comes from new companies. So angels are doing great things for the economic and social development of their communities.”

2015 is shaping up to be even bigger than last year, says Suse. “Canterbury Angels are now formally constituted and have held their first investment evening and. “Angels of the North” held their first event just before Christmas in Whangarei, which included a taste of what the region has to offer in early stage investment.

“Our aim is to grow numbers to more than 1000 angels and we’re well on the way to doing that, making New Zealand a really exciting place to be an entrepreneur or an early stage investor.”

 Media contact:

Angel Association: Suse Reynolds  021 490 974 [email protected]

Download media release pdf

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John Huston: Knowledge and Insights #AANZSummit14

Angel Association New Zealand Summit 2014

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

Read more from John Huston here:

http://www.angelassociation.co.nz/news/angel-entrepreneur-news/2014/10/angels-light-path-nz-start-ups

http://www.angelassociation.co.nz/news/2014/10/guest-post-john-huston-keynote-speaker-aanzsummit14

Download resources shared by John Huston here:

http://www.angelassociation.co.nz/resources/john-huston-presentations-documents

 

To view this video on youtube click here

ABAF2015, NZ

Hon. Stephen Joyce introduces #AANZSummit14

Angel Association New Zealand Summit 2014

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

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

To view this video on youtube click here

ABAF2015, NZ

We need to focus more on returns!

As angels we want to create value. We get an immediate sense of satisfaction when that value is reflected in the social and economic outcomes of our engagement – developing entrepreneurial skills, creating jobs and supporting innovation.

But in fact if we really want to make a difference and keep making a difference, we must generate financial returns on our angel investment. It’s only then we will truly maximise – and sustain – the social and economic outcomes we seek.

It takes focus and discipline to generate a return on angel investment. As we’ve heard so often, this needs to extend from the founder to the board and shareholders. It’s easy to get excited about where the next sales are coming from, who the next hire going to be, when do we set up offshore and is the next iteration of the product a real game changer. Of course these things are all important but they must be set firmly in the context of their contribution to maximizing the financial returns.

So what does this mean in practice?

As well as the focus from day one, there needs to be an awareness that if you are building a business to generate a return to shareholders, you care less about tactical cash – solvency parameters not withstanding! – and more about the capital strategy.

There are of course different pathways to a return, all of which will give you a different result. Your strategy might entail securing follow-on angel funding, it might entail looking for VC involvement, it might include an exclusive contract arrangement with a potential acquirer or it might be bootstrapping and leveraging grant money. These will all have their own outcomes and impact on the returns you eventually make as an angel investor.

All of these strategies require a laser focus on the sort of business you are building and for who. At every board meeting time should be set aside to revisit the capital strategy to address what it is going to take to secure capital and from who, to ensure that you are building relationships with the right people and that you are doing so well in advance of calling on funds. All these things are vital because they make sure the  company is focusing on generating the value follow-on investors are looking for.

I also can’t help wondering if, as an industry, we need to start thinking about potentially saying “no” to new investments to ensure the deals we’ve already done have the necessary capital and capability applied to succeed. We would be doing this on basis that we are getting more mature as an industry and have a better sense of which companies are going to generate the returns we seek. I think its time to be taking a proactive approach to portfolio rationalization.

How about an investment evening exclusively for these “elite” companies? Such an evening would be all about the “return on investment” proposition and what’s needed to get there. These “elite” companies would be pitching for funding to get to an IPO or a trade sale for example, and would be telling us what it’s going to take to get to these end points within say 1-2 years.

I’d love to see what this might achieve!

Marcel

Angels & equity crowdfunding

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

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

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

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

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

Inspiring new angels

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

Equity crowdfunding inspires new angels in a number of ways:

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

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

Referrals

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

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

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

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

Co-investment

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

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

The benefits are clear:

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

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

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

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

Smart IP strategy… simple or not?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about the Angel Association Summit 14.

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

AngelSummit14

Angels provide the fuel for Rockit Apples to hit world markets

It took a decision from the United Nations before Havelock North grower Phil Alison could call his Rockit miniature apples, apples.

Slightly bigger than a golf ball, the New Zealand-grown variety looks and tastes like a normal apple but was too small to fit the UN’s minimum size grade.

Read more

AngelSummit14

 

$2.2m Investment from Angels for Lightning Lab startups

Five of the nine start-ups to go through Lightning Lab’s digital accelerator programme have raised a combined $2.2 million of seed funding, more than what they were seeking at a demonstration day in May.

The five successful groups, Common Ledger, Cloud Cannon, GlassJar, CoachSeek and Twingl, were seeking $1.94 million to support the commercial ambitions for their respective software-based ideas, of which $740,000 had already been committed before their May 28 presentations. Lightning Lab’s programme seeks to prepare early stage companies to pitch to investors.
“I was delighted to see that all the teams who pitched on Demo Day 2014 matched the best of what last year had to offer,” angel investor Trevor Dickinson said in a statement. “It was therefore no surprise that the 2014 graduates have attracted serious interest from experienced angel and venture capital investors.”

Last month the government-backed New Zealand Venture Investment Fund said it was too early to judge the success of its Seed Co-Investment Fund, which backs early-stage firms alongside angel investors and was set up in 2006.

In the opening address for the Lightning Lab event in May, Angel Association chairman Marcel van den Assum, who was also part of the successful sale of local software firm GreenButton, urged angel investors to broaden their portfolios if they wanted to improve their chances of a return, with too many backers relying overly on a small number of ventures.

First published on nbr.co.nz 12 August 2014

SCIF crucial to co-invest with Angels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more on Stuff.co.nz

 

NZ angels – broaden your investment portfolios

New Zealand angel investors are backing too few start-ups and should broaden their angel investment portfolios if they want to improve their chance of a return, according to Angel Association chairman Marcel van den Assum.

The success of software companies such as Wellington-based Xero had helped foster an environment where start-ups can flourish, though local angel investors have been reluctant to expand their portfolios, van den Assum, who was part of the successful sale of local software firm GreenButton to Microsoft earlier this month, told an audience at the Lightning Lab demo day in Wellington yesterday.

Read more at NZ Herald

ACA Report 2: John Huston on exit strategy “Driving lucrative exits is not a quick flip…”

John Huston led a session at the 2014 ACA conference (www.angelcapitalassociation.org/2014summit/) in Washington, DC, on “Driving Lucrative Investments from the Board room”.  His focus on exit strategy was clear and loud.

John, ex-Chairman of the Angel Capital Association & the Angel Resource Institute, is quite literally a walking wikipedia of Angel intel and an energetic presenter. He founded his Angel investment group, Ohio TechAngels, in 2004 after retiring from a 30 year banking career and is currently investing out of their third fund focused solely on Ohio-based technology start-ups. At 282 members it is one of the largest groups in North America.

We will be welcoming John Huston to New Zealand in October 2014 at the #AANZ Summit14 at Orakei Bay, Auckland. Register for the Summit today to hear from John in person, places are limited so be quick.

John started his ACA 2014 presentation advising “great exits start with exit-goal congruence, and therefore it is important to give founders the heads up this is where you are heading from the get go. You are both going to be building financial and entrepreneurial wealth.”

“Your message regarding exit-strategy to founders: if you want $3-5m in your pocket in about 5 years and you’ll be working 80 hour weeks. Minimum wage!”

As their angel investor you want them to see their baby grow up and be successful.

He then asked the question Angels should all ask themselves: Are you growing your “ABC” (angel backed company) to attract financial or strategic buyers? Financial exits which are 6-8x and based on ebita take too long. This is NOT what you are after. Strategic exits is about building real value.

Are VCs required for the exit? He had no good or bad answer. But noted that VC’s goals are rarely aligned with angels. They are required to balance their duty to LPs against ABC shareholders and will generally want all ABC directors off the board. And always ask is the VC director you are getting the one that PERSONALLY drove the last exit. Chances are he didn’t. VC’s are motivated by raising the next fund… and what metrics they need to demonstrate to do this.

Publicly owned companies also have very different goals from an ABC. Maxing shareholder value etc not selling the company. Share performance vs sector performance etc, ie: not big multiples.

Angels buy and sell our shares at a negotiated price and do the following:

  • Raise follow on rounds
  • Help recruit team
  • Replace CEO
  • Build strategic value
  • Drive lucrative exits (which are NOT the same as ‘quick flip’ strategies)

Other gems of Angel wisdom from John included:

Dilution kills you. So be as capital efficient as possible.

Angel Investor directors need tools training and aligned expectations.

Build a capital access plan. If you need VCs you are adding another layer of risk. You will have to increase the price and value enormously to outweigh the dilution.

Know the difference between an IRR and multiples.

Take an inventory – your strategic assets (what you own) and capability (what you do).

Identify potential acquirers. Prioritize a maximum of 5 identified by their ability to pay $50m for the company and their willingness to bid. Then work on their willingness. Can you sell anything to them and then identify the customers that will impress them? Not every customer will have the same value to the acquirer.

Track TSB (targeted strategic buyer) and attract their attention.

Engage a banker. If needed.

Have all directors take more of a role in the sale of the business so that CEO can keep driving the sales.

Alternative strategy is “build a great company and they will come!” which is not an exit strategy that has any more chance of success than build a great product and they will come.

John concluded with a bunch of questions Ohio Tech Angels have identified to ask founders, with number one on the list being the need for them to answer: Why would an acquirer want to buy your company?

– Suse Reynolds, from Washington, DC, USA

ACA Report 1: Dave McClure “Write a small cheques & spend time”

The AANZ’s role includes curating intel from the rest of the world for the use and benefit of New Zealand’s Angel Investors. The recent 2014 Angel Capital Association Summit (www.angelcapitalassociation.org/2014summit/) in Washington, DC, was a great opportunity to do just that.

Billed as the largest gathering of angels in the world it bought together top insights into this rapidly changing environment. Features included how social media is affecting the early-stage landscape, investment best practices, innovations in deal terms, exits – and how rules and legislation from Washington is affecting our world (and what we can do to change it). 

A highlight of the event were words of wisdom from one of its headlining presenters Dave McClure of 500 Startups.

Dave’s session was fascinating.  He is the founder of 500 Startups; a seed fund and accelerator based in Mountain View, California and one extremely colourful character. Everyone was rather wide-eyed with anticipation about how many times he would, to quote many of them, “drop the F-bomb”. He visited New Zealand in 2013 with his international Geeks on a Plane.

What follows here, and in my other report posts are notes written while attending the ACA presentations.

Dave started with $300k when he first began investing in startups

He invested very small amounts. And was very much learning on the fly. He made 13-15 investments and had 3 exits.

This took place over 4-5 years and he learned that “most of the time you’re wrong”! Getting something back is good.

But doing a lot of little investments was a good strategy. It allowed him to explore ideas and companies he pretty much stumbled into.

Then the Founders Fund gave him $2m and two companies have delivered 100x.

Dave is firmly of the view that the minimum portfolio size must be at least 20. And you must be prepared to admit you’re wrong… A LOT.

“Diversification is the one and only message I would leave you with.”

If you have $200k to invest, then invest the first $100k in $5k amounts into 20 companies.

Save the second $100k to identify the ones kicking on and do some follow on in slightly larger amounts.

He’s had lots of small exits and learned that valuations matter a lot. So keep them as low as possible.

Don’t play for ownership play for valuation.

Dave had a interesting DD tip which he’s learned makes a a great deal of sense – there is more to be gained from looking for upside opportunity than looking for downside risk. So don’t spend too much time looking what can go wrong.  Explore the extent to which this deal can genuinely disrupt a market and make lots of money from it.

In his view Dave figures if the founding team can make a product, sell it and manage costs you’re onto something.
Even when “we might lose a dollar but might make ten” still looking at upside… this means even if the DD shows its dodgy, do it!

Dave believes the angel and startup industry is getting easier to work with. Lots more visibility on deals and investors.
And “we are getting smarter… not much, but a little”. There is so much more information out there now and this helps

Customer acquisition is getting easier.

Dave also recommended his fellow American Investors look closer at potential in international markets and gave Africa as an example – which has 20 of the world’s fastest growing countries. In next 5-10 years the whole world will have access to Internet.

Other bullet point gems of wisdom included:

Companies are going to fail on smaller and smaller budgets.

Syndicates are easier to get started. Much easier to organise and pull together than raising an investment fund.

Dave suggested most of problem is with the angels. But we are also the solution. We should be investing smaller cheques earlier and let the ones not making it fail and follow the ones kicking on

He lamented the fact that there are “lots of people with money who aren’t giving it to entrepreneurs”!

Angels and investors are part of the solution… write a small cheque and spend some time with the founder he urged us.

This next point is a good one… and bears reading carefully. Dave made it well.

“Ownership matters on a relative basis from the first cheque to the second cheque. At the first cheque you are investing without much information about the likelihood of success. You want more ownership when the perception of value is increasing but the price is not. So you are looking for where the risk has reduced but the rest of the market does not know this. You go hard here and go for ownership rather than valuation. You get to arbitrage that gap.”

Dave said you should look for product data which is backward looking to validate its quality and the market. If the product is good then the team should be too. If product is fucked up then the team probably is too.  (F-bomb dropped at last!)

Angels should be the Henry Ford for investment. There is a lot of talent out there and we should be giving it money.

– Suse Reynolds, from Washington, DC, USA

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