Puawaitanga & Kotahitanga Award Winners 2018

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

Puawaitanga – ‘best return on integrated goals’.

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

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

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The Puawaitanga Award has been presented to Dexibit’s founder Angie Judge and investor-director, Dana McKenzie.

Dexibit analyzes visitor behavior and venue performance at the world’s visitor attraction institutions such as museums and galleries. Since Angie Judge founded Dexibit in 2015, the company has secured customers like the National Gallery in the UK and The Smithsonian in the USA and, here in New Zealand, the Auckland Art Gallery and Te Papa. Dexibit has won two prestigious High Tech Awards for Innovative Software and Best Technical Solution for the Creative Sector and been a finalist in a number of other categories. Dana McKenzie has Chaired the Board of Dexibit for the last three years and is a true champion for the company and its team, including Angie.

In making the award, Angel Association Chair, John O’Hara said Angie and Dana are great examples of what alignment and mutual support can achieve.

“No one scales value in a high-growth tech company on their own. To get traction both the founder and the investors need to be committed to the same end-point. This has clearly been the case with Dexibit. Dana and Angie have been working together to generate stunning progress in terms of revenue generation, customer acquisition and to secure capital to amplify that growth to support Dexibit to generate exponential returns for the investors and just as importantly, for the New Zealand economy,” he said.

The recipient of the Kotahitanga Award is Matu Managing Partner, Greg Sitters.

Greg has been involved with capital raising for early-stage deep-tech ventures in New Zealand for over a decade. He was an early employee at Sparkbox Ventures and then worked for its successor GD1, before setting up Matu. Matu was founded earlier this year to provide seed and early stage capital for disruptive scientific and IP rich startups. Greg has given countless hours of his time to literally hundreds of budding and early founders, including in his tenure as a long standing member of the Return on Science and Uniservices’ Investment Committees. Greg is a founding member of the Angel Association and served on the Council since its inception in 2008. In this role he has given freely of his time to dozens of professional development initiatives and to represent the early stage industry at events not only all over New Zealand but around the world.

“Greg exemplifies the generosity of spirit that imbues the New Zealand angel community. His depth of knowledge about what it takes to scale a deep tech venture is unsurpassed and has been invaluable to companies like HumbleBee, Lanaco, Objective Acuity and many more,” said John O’Hara.

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On track for another record year

First half year results show angels are investing at rates on a par with previous years. The upward trajectory continues. It’s likely the formal part of the market will hit $100m into high growth start-ups this year.

Reporting on the activity of its members tracked by the NZ Venture Investment Fund, Angel Association Chair John O’Hara said $30.8m dollars was invested in 46 deals in the first six months of the year compared to $20.2m into 29 deals in the same period last year.

More detail and deeper insights can be found at www.pwc.co.nz/startupmagazine in the second edition of Startup Investment New Zealand; a collaboration between Angel Assn and PwC.

Mr O’Hara noted there is always a substantial uplift in activity in the second half of the year, in part inspired by two of the country’s larger angel networks, Ice Angels and AngelHQ, holding their annual venture showcases in September.

“This year Ice Angels’ showcase attracted 1000 guests and that level of enthusiasm has been reflected in capital commitments to the ventures presenting. AngelHQ’s showcase attendance numbers were also up,” said Mr O’Hara.

“We are seeing increasing valuations and amounts raised, and in many cases, start-ups are now appearing to be fully valued. While this is positive it comes with some challenges,” said Mr O’Hara.

“Start-ups that are too well funded can lose their edge and correspondingly high valuations put pressure on founders to deliver the requisite valuation uplift to ensure the next funding round is successful,” he noted.

These sorts of issues were discussed at the Angel Association’s first ever event for founders and investor-directors held the day before the industry’s annual summit in Blenheim on Wednesday 31 October 2018. Called “The Runway”, the day-long event brought together over 35 founders of high growth ventures and the angels who have backed them. As well as building a cohort of like-minded founders who support each other as their ventures scale, the initiative began to build tighter alignment and awareness of what it takes to scale an angel backed company.

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Aquafortus wins global award

New Zealand’s Aquafortus Technologies has won the TechXchange Rising Star award for best new technology at Singapore’s International Water Week, this closes out a successful six weeks for the start up, which included an oversubscribed funding round and breaking ground on its first pilot plant in the U.S.

Aquafortus was invited to exhibit under Singapore’s National Water Agency, the Public Utilities Board at Singapore International Water Week. Singapore International Water Week is a global event that brings together world leaders in the wastewater industry, with more than 21,000 participants from 125 different regions.

The tradeshow was a great success for Aquafortus – generating more than a dozen sales leads across eight countries. It also saw new sector applications for Aquafortus’ Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) technology, with significant interest from major players in the semiconductor and textile industries, says Daryl Briggs, CEO of Aquafortus.

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Into the dragon’s den with New Zealand’s million-dollar investments

Hundreds of New Zealand’s wealthiest investors gathered for the 2018 Flux Demo Day last week for a night of wining, dining, and million-dollar business investments. Jihee Junn went along to watch this year’s plucky startups pitch it out.

“The first rule of investing is: don’t leave the table when the food’s being served!” a jolly looking man at my table exclaimed. We were halfway through the night’s events when platters of braised beef, roast potatoes and Akaroa salmon were brought out to the room’s 400 or so investors. As we dug into our family-style meals, passing along giant plates of food from left to right, I asked some of my fellow diners – all older, wealthier, and a lot more male than me – for their thoughts on the startups that had pitched so far. On the whole, their responses were akin to a placid shrug.

“They were okay,” said one man, who told me his day job was working at a private investment firm. Those sitting next to him nodded in agreement. “I’m not really here to invest tonight, but if I was, there probably hasn’t been anything yet to make me want to get out my wallet.”

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Comment: Five steps to stronger capital markets

If the New Zealand economy were a human body, then we can think of capital as the oxygen required to sustain life.

In a functioning capital market, those seeking capital are brought together with those who wish to deploy it. This lowers the cost of equity and debt, boosts the growth of funding and sparks wealth creation.

Is this economic oxygen flowing as it should? Most New Zealand companies listed on the stock exchange (NZX) have unrestricted access to capital, enjoy diverse and internationally-based registers, and are trading at fair to elevated multiples.

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A cow-whispering fitbit

The big farming news of the year so far has been an outbreak of the Mycoplasma bovis disease in cows, which forced the Government to come up with an $886 million eradication plan last month. But as this month’s Fieldays event showed, it’s not all bad news in our farming sector. When it comes to farm technology – or “agritech” as it’s known – New Zealand is a global leader.

A new report by Callaghan Innovation claims that “New Zealand is seen as one of four locations to watch for agritech solutions alongside Silicon Valley, Boston, and Amsterdam.”

I reached out to several agritech experts to find out why New Zealand is so well regarded internationally. Okay, we have a deep history of agriculture in this country. But it requires more than a pair of gumboots and the clichéd “number 8 wire” attitude to create advanced farming technology.

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SwipedOn CEO explains how his Tauranga SaaS startup went global

SwipedOn is a fast-growing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) that is used in more than 2000 cities worldwide, and it all started in the Bay of Plenty.

The company provides an iPad-based visitor management system that replaces visitor books, which has proven hugely popular in the UK and US, as well as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

According to CEO and founder Hadleigh Ford, there’s no reason why New Zealand can’t have its own Silicon Valley based right here in the Bay of Plenty.

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Third annual ‘Investor’s Guide to the NZ Technology Sector’

Rising domestic investment in New Zealand’s early-stage technology companies is creating more opportunities for follow-on investment from a growing number of international investors. This is according to the third annual Investor’s Guide to the New Zealand Technology Sector published jointly by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and theTechnology Investment Network (TIN).

The guide showcases New Zealand’s diverse range of high growth technology companies, innovation capabilities and supportive business environment, and presents a compelling case for investment in New Zealand’s technology sector.

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Get in quickly – AANZ Summit registrations open!

Diversity … making a difference and delivering outcomes

Last year we celebrated a decade of angel investing in New Zealand. And it was terrific to have that line up with some impressive success for angel backed companies with PowerbyProxi selling to Apple, Publons selling to Clarivate and ImeasureU selling to Oxford Metrics. Last year was also record year for ‘dollars into deals’ with a 26% increase on the previous year’s investment at $86m.

We are genuinely creating value for New Zealand and New Zealanders. At this year’s summit we will focus on amping up that value through the power of diversity. Why and how does a more feminine approach, both as founders and investors, add value? What values do different ethnicities bring to angel backed ventures to increase the prospect of success? Why is it important we include millennials in our ventures?

It’s all about making a difference… diversity and inclusion delivers higher value outcomes.

The 11th Annual NZ Angel Summit, 1/2 November, is being held at Marlborough Vintners, 10 minutes drive from Blenheim and in amongst the vineyards. We deliberately choose smaller intimate venues to ensure we create the right atmosphere for relaxed and rewarding conversations. Our last three summits have sold out as we prioritise places for those ‘doing deals’.

On the first morning we set the context for the two days by reviewing the year and have a session on the values that drive angel investors and how these impact on success. In the afternoon we apply these insights to the more practical aspects of angel investment with sessions on the new industry standard term sheet, how to ensure alignment with follow-on funding sources and dig into the government’s plans to support our endeavours, particularly with respect to tax reform. On Friday morning we focus on our own heroes and hear first-hand from some of our founders and investors who getting real traction offshore. All of this will be shot through with input from successful women and millennials in our community and deep engagement with Maori and our Asian investor migrant community.

Click here to register

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Angel investment rises 26% to reach record level

Startups in New Zealand received an unprecedented level of funding last year, with $86 million flowing into early-stage businesses across the country. That’s according to Startup Investment NZ, published by PwC New Zealand, the Angel Association of New Zealand (AANZ) and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF).

“It’s exciting to see such a large number of deals coming through to support early-stage companies. We’re seeing investment levels that are almost three times what we saw just five years ago” said Anand Reddy, Partner at PwC New Zealand.

John O’Hara, AANZ Chair, endorsed this sentiment noting that membership of angel networks continues to grow with a new network established in Marlborough last year and a budding network getting started in the Hawkes Bay.

Established networks like Ice Angels in Auckland, AngelHQ in Wellington and Enterprise Angels in Tauranga are also experiencing growing memberships.

Driving the growth in investment dollars is an increasing number of larger deals in 2017, compared to the year before. The number of deals in 2017 held steady at 111 – one lower than the 12 months previous – the total amount invested has risen by $18 million, a 26% increase.

Offering some insight on the larger number of dollars being invested in a similar number of deals, John O’Hara suggested it reflected a maturing ecosystem.

“A number of the ventures angels have backed are now looking for larger capital injections to fuel their growth. With a thin VC industry, it’s not surprising we are seeing larger deal sizes.

John also offered a word of caution to investors and founders.

“The market’s a little frothy right now. We’re seeing some strong valuations. Entrepreneurs have to be sure they’re not setting the bar too high with their forecast results. If they fail to meet these, it’ll make it make it harder for them to get the next round of funding.

“And investors will be similarly impacted. Flat and down rounds do not impact well on portfolio return prospects.”

Click here to find out more about how the startup sector is evolving, and where it’s heading next.

Click here to dive into the data about this asset class.

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Lead Partners

NZTE NZVIF PWC

Expert Partner

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AANZ Summit Sponsors

Callaghan Innovation “UniServices” Kiwinet “Spark”