New Astrolab funding for tech startups

Tech Incubator and AANZ member, Astrolab recently announced a group of Wellington business people will invest up to $5m in high tech startups being supported by Astrolab.

Four Wellington-based businesspeople have teamed up with specialist business incubator Astrolab to create a $5m fund which will drive a financial runway of up to $20m for startup tech companies across New Zealand.

Astrolab CEO Brett Oliver says having access to this level of capital is hard to come by in New Zealand when turning complex-technologies into export businesses.

“Astrolab’s funding pool will be used to catapult technology startups we establish and grow, enabling us to concentrate on achieving our mission-critical milestones quickly by dealing directly with our fund in the first instance,” says Mr Oliver.

The $20m financial runway over the next two years relies on $5m from Astrolab’s LP fund, underpinned by the newly formed Wellington-based investment group, and Callaghan Innovation’s Tech Incubation program which delivers targeted funding to complex technologies.

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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’.

______________________________

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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Investors have confidence in startup futures

The October issue of Startup Investment New Zealand Magazine is now available here.

In this edition, we shine a spotlight on Kiwi businesses that have earned a place on the world stage. To be successful, Kiwi startups have always had to think and act global from the outset but there’s now a number of factors helping these startups succeed in offshore markets, and often much earlier in their journey. We’re seeing a developing ecosystem of support including government agencies, networks and people with experience at scaling global businesses, as well as investors who have the confidence to support these innovative companies.

The data is supporting this investor confidence. Five times the number of startup organisations successfully raised over $1 million from local investors in the first half of 2018 verse the same period last year, according to the latest Young Company Finance Index. This year almost half of deals are co invested by two or more Angel clubs and funds. Why is the formula to achieve global success so critical? It means little old New Zealand can produce valuable companies winning on the global stage, which attracts investors and ultimately builds prosperity for us as a country.

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Ten Companies selected for Zino New Kiwis Startup Challenge

Debra Hall, an experienced angel investor and Chairman of Zino Innovation Hub, which runs the Challenge, says the Zino team was delighted at the level of interest shown, with 42 companies, and entrepreneurs from 16 countries, entering the competition.

“As investors in start-up companies, we regularly see talent being wasted because new migrants simply don’t have the connections, the access to capital and sometimes even the language to navigate the early stage of growing a business. Zino is committed to changing this, to create new value for New Zealand” said Hall.

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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.

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How do you handle a founders break-up?

Co-founder splits are seldom discussed, but happen more often than you’d think. Flux Accelerator partner Barnaby Marshall shares what he’s learnt from his experiences managing a start-up portfolio and provide some insights into how to prepare for the worst (while still expecting the best).

The fact is, of 100 companies that the Icehouse has funded through our various investment entities since 2012, 35 percent of them have had a founder leave the company.

Most of those have left within the first two years of our investment. Some of these have been very messy, some have been more civil, but in all cases they have cost time and money: the two most precious resources for any startup. Add to that the emotional stress and you have a recipe to rock even the most resilient founders, and in some cases — almost be a lethal blow to the business.

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Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network Launch the Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2018

Released at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Istanbul, GSER 2018 features strategic startup, investment and policy insights from over 10,000 founders in 60 ecosysytems – including New Zealand.

With insights ranging from the fast-growing dominance of ICT verticals to the filling of critical gaps in Success Factors both funding and startups, the Global Startup Ecosystems Report (GSER) 2018 continues to present thought-leadership and knowledge building driven by the world’s largest primary ecosystem research, Voice of the Entrepreneur. This is where we find out what it takes to build dynamic startup ecosystems with both local and global resonance and which cities around the world are doing it best.

Produced in partnership between Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) this year’s Global Startup Ecosystems Report launches at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Istanbul – signaling a strong commitment to advancing a greater understanding of startup ecosystems and the global network of capital and connections that drive them.

“We’ve now entered the Third Wave of innovation – where our global startup community is disrupting industries by combining technology with deep industry expertise. This is creating a potentially game-changing opportunity for smaller, less mature startup ecosystems that can now build out competitive advantage at a global level by focusing on their DNA and legacy strengths,” shares Startup Genome CEO and co-founder JF Gauthier.

A fitting occasion for the launch of this collaborative report, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress gathers thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and other startup champions from more than 170 countries to identify new ways of helping founders start and scale new ventures around the world.

“Research in the field is vital to shaping the interventions necessary to empower entrepreneurs around the world,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. “As thousands of startup champions gather this week to explore innovative approaches, efforts such as the Global Startup Ecosystem Report help us become better informed about what is needed.”

Incorporating data from Crunchbase and Orb Intelligence, as well as the voices of over 10,000 founders from 24 countries worldwide and counting – including some of New Zealand’s top startups like Flick Electric, Fuel 50 and Nyriad – GSER 2018 presents an incisive look at over 60 ecosystems. Through an analysis of startup output and legacy traits, it identifies the industries where each ecosystem has the most potential to build the vibrant economy for which it is uniquely positioned.

This year, GSER the report takes a close look at key sub-sectors such as Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics, Agtech, A.I., Big Data & Analytics, Life Sciences and Cybersecurity, as well as new technologies in education, health, advertising and finance. The sub-sectors in focus point towards imminent entrepreneurial revolutions. Thanks to SpaceX we may already have a car in space – but will we have greater diversity and value distribution on the ground and in our startup ecosystems? These are among key qualitative issues that GSER 2018 also looks at.

In the New Zealand ecosystem in particular, GSER provides a detailed look at the following subsectors: agtech and new food, health and life sciences and govtech.

Angel Association NZ has been delighted to partner with over a dozen ecosystem participants, including NZ Trade and Enterprise, Callaghan Innovation, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, the tech and founder incubators, NZX and others to bring a wealth of insight to the New Zealand findings.

Commenting on the value of the report, outgoing AANZ Chair Marcel van den Assum said that not only did the report raise New Zealand’s profile with the 60+ other ecosystems also taking part but it provided insights into where we are best placed to focus our resources to enhance the impact of New Zealand startups and technology.

Download the full report here: www.startupgenome.com/report2018.

 

ABOUT US

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 30 members representing over 700 individual angels associated with New Zealand’s key angel networks and funds.

Startup Genome
Startup Genome works to increase the success rate of startups and improve the performance of startup ecosystems globally. Fueled by the Voice of the Entrepreneur – the world’s largest primary research conducted with more than 10,000 startups annually – Startup Genome advises leaders of innovation ministries, agencies and organizations supporting startups. It brings data-driven, actionable insights, clarity and focus needed to produce more scale-ups, jobs and economic growth worldwide. Visit www.startupgenome.com for more and stay up to date on Twitter or Medium.

The Global Entrepreneurship Network

The Global Entrepreneurship Network operates a platform of programs in 170 countries aimed at making it easier for anyone, anywhere to start and scale a business. By fostering deeper cross border collaboration and initiatives between entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and entrepreneurial support organizations, GEN works to fuel healthier start and scale ecosystems that create more jobs, educate individuals, accelerate innovation and strengthen economic growth. For more, visit www.genglobal.org and Follow GEN on Twitter.

ENDS

For interviews and further enquiries, please contact us:

Dinika Govender
Communications, Startup Genome
[email protected]

Jessica Wray Bradner

Communications, GEN
[email protected]

Suse Reynolds,

AANZ executive director
mob: 021 490 974 or email: [email protected]

Marcel van den Assum,

AANZ chair and 2015 Arch Angel
mob: 021 963 459 or email: [email protected]  

 

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Get More Value From Your (Startup’s) Board

“Who’s on the board?”

A question I hear at least as often as I see a new startup.

Over the past 3 years I have been fortunate to see five boards working in practice, one as member of the management team and the rest as an observer. Alongside that, every entrepreneur we invest in talks about their board: there is good, there is bad, and every one has some ugly.

I wanted to share some observations on boards that I’ve formed in the hope of helping entrepreneurs and directors better select each other, work together, and create value.

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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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The network effect: NZ angel networks drive funding

Of the $86 million invested into young companies in 2017, over half ($49 million) came from angel investment networks, rather than individual funds or institutional investment.

“The strength of our angel investment networks in New Zealand is growing every day, which helps to explain why they’re responsible for a growing share of overall funding” says AANZ Chair John O’Hara.

“They’re responsible for over double the funding that’s coming through the next most-popular channel of angel funds.”

Raising funds from angel networks can take a little longer than other sources of early stage funding (such as mico-VCs and high networth individuals) given that sometimes over a dozen individual investors are collaborating to complete DD and gather the investment. Angel networks also tend to be run with a large component of voluntary input so founders and lead investors need to be committed project managers.

John notes that not only do networks tend to bring a larger pool of connections and expertise than single source funding options, they bring deeper reserves of connections for follow on funding.

“Angels are inveterate travellers and networkers and have connections in markets across the world which can be tapped for sales channels, in-market insights as well as follow on funding recommendations,” said John.

“Nothing beats getting on a plane with a line-up of carefully targeted meetings. New Zealand founders and investor directors need to spend more time in-market and be preparing for the founder to be based there,” John added.

He concluded by noting that lining up an in-market Board member was also an important component of scaling into offshore markets.

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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