Kiwi Landing Pad Spreads it’s Wings

New Zealand’s tech community – Kiwi Landing Pad – is on the move in San Francisco.

Set up in 2011 with funding from the New Zealand government and private investors, the Kiwi Landing Pad (KLP) has already helped hundreds of innovators keen to break into the highly competitive United States start-up scene.

The non-profit organisation caters for high growth technology companies. As well as reducing the risks and time involved in setting up an office, KLP also offers valuable access to necessary business information and networks.

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CropLogic latest Canterbury tech startup to seek ASX listing

Christchurch-based CropLogic​ aims to list on the Australian stock exchange early next year.

CropLogic​ is commercialising technology developed over decades by Crown research institute Plant & Food Research.

It provides farmers with a computer modelling system to determine best times to apply nutrients and water for maximum crop yield.

Initial trials in the United States, New Zealand, China, and Australia indicated crop yield improvements of more than 6 per cent, delivering higher profits.

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New Zealand Innovation Awards celebrates most successful homegrown trailblazers

The New Zealand Innovation Awards 2016 winners were announced last night, recognising the cream of the crop across 11 industry categories and 10 business disciplines including technology, science, marketing and agri-business.

The Awards attracted more than 700 entrepreneurs, innovators, businesspeople and investors at the SKY City Convention Centre last night. 21 winners and 19 highly commended awards were handed out on the night to companies creating the most ‘game-changing’ innovations.

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Help benchmark the NZ ecosystem globally

Maximising the success of New Zealand’s startup ecosystem, and the worldwide ecosystem on which we rely requires input from startups themselves.

If data isn’t collected then how do we know what’s working and what’s not? Where our ecosystem could do with more support and where its doing quite well under its own steam. This is why the AANZ is supporting distribution and participation in the 2016 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (#GSER).

The GSER will include insights from more than 20k executives across the globe which will deliver leaders of all kinds; investors, government and support service providers; with an in-depth understanding of how to best attract, accelerate, and sustain startups.

Conducted by Startup Genome (formerly Compass Research), the report also gives startups themselves a benchmark to measure how they stack up to others across the globe.

By completing this survey founders will enable NZ’s leaders to:
• Assess and benchmark the NZ startup ecosystem across 50+ key metrics
• Accelerate the pace with which NZ ecosystem leaders reach consensus on key issues and develop action plans for change
• Attract a greater share of global resources to our region
• Empower startups everywhere to use data in decisions around raising funds, locating an office, and recruiting top talent
.

The 2015 Global Startup Ecosystem Report helped millions of local leaders globally reach consensus on specific challenges and drive action to improve their ecosystems.

By participating in the 2016 Survey, you will help New Zealand voice to be heard among the voices of entrepreneurs globally and accelerate the global startup ecosystem for hundreds of New Zealand’s entrepreneur’s locally and millions of entrepreneurs worldwide.

*All the information you provide in the survey is confidential. Results are published in aggregate values only.*

To participate in the survey click here and share the link with the founders in your ecosystem.

This fintech start-up has raised $3 million to make cross-border payments much easier

Fintech start-up Airwallex has strengthened its Melbourne and Chinese development teams and accelerated R&D of its international payments platform following a recent US$3 million pre-Series A investment round led by Shanghai-based VC Gobi Partners.

Airwallex offers integrated solutions for business and personal cross-border transactions and facilitates international money transfers through a combination of payment collection, foreign exchange, remittance and security settlement.

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Done Deal: A collation of recent fundings secured, contracts inked and deals did, for the tl;dr crowd

A network of New Zealand angel investors has helped launch iPug into the US market at the BIO International Convention in San Francisco. iPug, an Australian company now based in San Francisco, is the world’s first mobile-friendly platform that transforms the way research is conducted and how public health campaigns are delivered. The investors, led by Hamilton-based property developer Zane Beckett, have provided seed capital and Series A funding.

SparkTank chief executive Rachel Kelly and Augen Software group director Mitchell Pham are among four new board members who have been voted to the board at NZTech.

Microsoft managing director Barrie Sheers and a Callaghan Innovation business group manager Erin Wansbrough have also been approved as board members.
A new chair to replace outgoing chair Bennett Medary will be appointed at the board meeting next month.

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UniSA’s improved cancer detection technology a magnet for commercialisation

Researchers at the University of South Australia’s Future Industries Institute will join forces with New Zealand based nanoparticle specialist Boutiq Science and major IP investor, Powerhouse Ventures to develop an improved system for cancer detection that relies on magnetic rather than radioactive tracers.

While traditional radioactive tracers have been a mainstay for detecting the spread of both breast cancer and melanoma in lymph nodes, they have proved less effective in other cancers such as head and neck, gastrointestinal and oesophageal cancers, where nodes are closely packed or clustered.

How the queen of Silicon Valley is helping Google go after Amazon’s most profitable business

The first thing to understand about Diane Greene, the woman Google acqui-hired in November to transform its fragmented cloud business, is that she has the mind of an engineer.

Cool technology, elegantly designed and built, lights her up. Even her jokes tend to be geek oriented.

(A lifelong competitive sailor, she was a mechanical engineer who built boats and windsurfers before she became an iconic Silicon Valley computer scientist.)

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NZ tech firm raises funds, wins award

A local agri-technology company is on a high after raising $4.5 million for product development and research and being named the best AG-Tech start up in a Silicon Valley technology competition.

Engender Technologies has worked with two Centres of Research Excellence – the MacDiarmid Institute and the Dodds-Walls Centre – to develop technology to allow dairy farmers to manage the sex make-up of their herds.

It opens the way to a leading position in what’s estimated to be a $3.5 billion market.

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CropLogic Secures New Licence for Global Growth

Precision agriculture firm CropLogic has signed an exclusive agreement with the New Zealand Institute of Plant & Food Research to expand the marketing of its patented technology to corn, wheat, soybean and cotton farmers in the United States.

The technology — developed over 30 years out of Plant & Food Research, a New Zealand Crown Research Institute, and guided and shaped for international markets by IP investor Powerhouse Ventures — enables growers using the firm’s predictive modelling systems to pinpoint the best times to apply nutrients and to conserve precious water for maximum plant yields.

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Hutt’s Technology Valley renewal dependent on crowdfunding

Crowdfunding and crowd lending will play a major role in the success or otherwise of the Hutt’s rejuvenated Technology Valley initiative that is to be relaunched on June 9.

“For Technology Valley to grow it will require a great deal new investment and this can be achieved through new developments in crowdfunding and crowd lending”, says Professor Gary Mersham, a digital business technology researcher based at the Open Polytechnic.

The reason, he says, is that start-ups, accelerators, angel investing, crowdfunding and crowd lending are increasingly becoming part of an interlinked, newly emerging ecosystem for funding businesses at various stages of growth as they turn away from traditional funders like banks.

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Government earmarks $15m towards commercialising hi-tech developments

The Government’s $15 million investment into initiatives supporting Kiwi start-ups is a step in the right direction but there’s still more to be done, a Massey University economist says.

The Pre-Seed Accelerator fund is aimed at developing “cutting-edge” research into viable start-up businesses.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce said hundreds of savvy hi-tech Kiwi companies were succeeding on the world stage.

“These programmes are all about filling the pipeline with the next generation of quality Kiwi start-ups.”

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WNT Ventures

WNT logo final

WNT Ventures is a technology focused incubator with a committed pool of capital in a fund structure, for investing into pre-seed, seed and start-up stage companies.  Based in Tauranga, New Zealand, we actively seek IP-rich technologies throughout the country from publically funded institutes and the private sector.  WNT is often actively involved in company formation and assisting companies in becoming investment ready including developing company strategy, initial IP protection and sourcing of management teams and Boards.

Together with our Limited Partners, we offer significant hands-on experience for investing into a range of technologies including but not limited to the Primary Sector – Agriculture, Horticulture and Food technologies, ICT, Engineering and Materials, Medical Technologies along with Robotics and High-Value Manufacturing.

Our collaborative approach we have with our investment partners means WNT Ventures has the ability to address complex IP opportunities from different perspectives.  We leverage our commercial backgrounds, risk-capital, domestic and international networks and our links within the NZ government via Callaghan Innovation, to provide early stage, high risk capital investment and incubation of technology, accelerating their growth in a targeted manner.

Visit their website

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.

Why New Zealand is punching above its weight in start-ups

New Zealand is a magical land of mountains, milk, sheep, rugby and fibre internet to most homes.

To this list we can now add: interesting technology companies.

In recent times, at least two genuine members of Silicon Valley royalty have poured money into start-ups born in the country.

Last week, Fairfax Media revealed that Sequoia Capital, which over the years has invested in the early stages of some of history’s most successful technology companies – think Apple, Google and Oracle – led a $10 million funding round for 90 Seconds, an Auckland based corporate-video marketplace.

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Callaghan Stakeholder Advisory Group appointments

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today announced the appointments of Stefan Korn and Andrew Hamilton to the Callaghan Innovation Stakeholder Advisory Group.

Callaghan Innovation is the government agency tasked with encouraging more research and development activity by businesses across New Zealand’s science and technology sector.

“These new appointments both bring extremely useful skills and insights to the advisory group and ensure Callaghan remains well connected with its stakeholders,” Mr Joyce says.

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Video giant Vimeo picks Wellington startup Wipster for global partnership

Wellington startup Wipster has struck a partnership with United States technology giant Vimeo in a “David and Goliath” deal that could be worth many millions of dollars to the three year-old firm.

Vimeo will market Wipster’s software as a paid add-on to its video-sharing suite, promoting it to the 700,000 people who already pay to use the paid version of Vimeo’s app.

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Twelve Questions: Alexei Drummond

An inspirational story about the sort of impact angel investment can have and the incredible people who are making a difference because of it!

Biologist Alexei Drummond has designed computer software that’s transformed the study of biology worldwide. The 39-year-old University of Auckland professor recently became the youngest fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

1 Did you grow up with science?

Dad’s a quantum physicist and mum’s an artist. They met at Harvard ” he’s a Kiwi and she’s American. Of their four children, two are biologists and two are musicians ” we’re all creative.

2 When did you learn to programme computers?

When I was 8, Dad bought me a Commodore 64. He was living in a tiny flat in the city after separating from mum. Back then there was no mouse or internet, just a blinking cursor on a blue screen. I began typing in pages of code from computer magazines without really knowing what they meant, hoping to be able to play a game by the end of the weekend. Eventually I was recognising commands that cropped up again and again and began modifying the code to change the games. I became convinced a computer could do anything if only it was programmed the right way. Genetic engineering and cloning naturally appealed to me. As an undergraduate I was determined to learn how to reprogram myself to live as long as possible. I wrote sci-fi and really wanted to find out what would happen in the future.
3 You’ve been in the news lately with your study using mobile phone data to track how the flu virus spreads – how did you get into that?

I’m an evolutionary biologist and what’s nice about viruses is they evolve a million times faster than humans so you can see evolution occurring. Influenza in two years will be as different from today as humans are from chimpanzees. Every winter a new flu arrives in New Zealand on a plane or a boat. We’re trying to understand how it spreads. The H1N1 pandemic in 2009 occurred mainly in NZ’s main centres the first year and mainly in the regions the next, which is peculiar – you’d expect it to go everywhere the first time – so that suggests some complexities. Our initial research shows it’s multiple events that set off parallel outbreaks with significant differences in strains between regions. Knowing where and how fast a virus like flu spreads will be useful if a more lethal virus arrives.

4 How will you use computer software to study the flu’s spread?

Mobile phone data shows us how many people move between areas and how close together they get. We also have rich genetic data on the flu virus which evolves so rapidly we can identify where and when each mutation occurred. If we can write software that puts these two sets of data together in the right way we should get a lot of predictive power.

5 How did you get into making software for biologists?

When I started my PhD in the biology department 16 years ago, I was almost the only one who could program a computer. I was surprised they didn’t have easy-to-use software for the kinds of operations they needed to do – like Excel for biologists. They were doing it all manually and making errors every time they had to convert data between formats. It was terrible.

6 What’s been your most important contribution to science so far?

Creating the scientific software BEAST which is used for data analysis by thousands of biologists worldwide to publish groundbreaking research. I developed the ideas and did the early programming during my PhD here at the University of Auckland and then went to Oxford and worked with Andrew Rambaut to co-create BEAST. Since our paper was published, that software’s been cited in something like 10,000 different studies. It’s free for all scientists to use.

7 What does your company Biomatters do?

Biomatters develops software to sell to pharmaceutical companies, bio-techs and universities. It is used for data management and visualisation for problems including genetics, ancestry, ecology, conservation, population studies and infectious diseases. Every Top 100 university in the world has our licences.

8 Was it hard to set up a company?

I couldn’t get research funding to develop the software because although it supports science it’s not actually research. I got very depressed until an entrepreneurial friend of mine pitched it to an Auckland investment group called Ice Angels. The first couple of years were hard. We were terrible at sales and marketing so it was convincing one scientist at a time. There’s no way I could’ve built that software in an academic environment. There’s not the motivation to make the customer experience smooth and effortless. What I love most about our company is we’re sending high-value products to the other side of the world at almost no cost to the environment. You never hear about the “knowledge economy” in New Zealand anymore. It seems like we just want to fit in as many cows as we can.

9 Is New Zealand looking after its scientists?

New Zealand has a high number of scientists per capita but we invest two or three times less per scientist than comparable countries. There’s been a huge sea change in the approach to science funding in the past 10 years, requiring research to demonstrate economic benefits to New Zealanders. World-class scientists value being able to pursue the most important problems in the world regardless of where they’re based. If they can’t solve them here, they’ll leave and New Zealand will miss out on the spillover benefits. Small advanced economies that [prioritise] science research like Scandinavia and Singapore do way better than us.

10 Why do you stay in New Zealand?

So my son can grow up with wide open spaces, beautiful beaches, bush walks and hiking in the mountains. I’m also excited to be launching a new Centre of Computational Evolution here this year.

11 Are you religious?

Humans aren’t going to last forever, no species ever has. It’s hard for me to believe there’s anything afterwards. I’m a collection of atoms that are going to become dirt and stardust. What’s beautiful about science is that you’re adding a little bit of knowledge that will survive you. Even if it’s wrong, it’s a step that you’re taking for the rest of humanity.

12 Do you have fears for the future of our planet?

For many people the “truth” of economic growth being good is stronger than science, but in the natural world we’ve seen a million times that when you grow exponentially for too long, you get a massive crash. I find it disgusting that in my generation or the next, humans may precipitate a mass extinction the likes of which have not been seen for 65 million years. I’m also bewildered by how we can call ourselves intelligent when billions of our fellow humans live in abject poverty.

First published on nzherald.co.nz 28th January 2016

How to start investing in tech and innovation startups

Some tips and tricks in this story which you might like to share with those exploring angel investment by Idealogue’s Henry Oliver.

We talk to Suse Reynolds, executive director of the Angel Association of New Zealand, and Greg Shanahan, managing director of the Technology Investment Network, about how to start investing in early-stage tech and innovation companies in New Zealand.

One of the consistent threads running through the history of this publication is that New Zealand needs to get over its obsession with housing, dairy and tourism, and start investing in technology and innovation.

Sounds great! some readers have said. But how? How does a ‘mum and dad investor’ help fund, and (let’s be honest) profit from, the high growth of those sectors are experiencing in New Zealand?

Read the full interview here

A STQRY of our times: How a Kiwi start-up’s soaring valuation shows we may be entering an investment boom time

In this interesting article, angel-backed StQry, now called Area360, talks about raising capital in the US with observations from NZTE’s Quentin Quin and well known NZ angel, Chip Dawson.

Taking advantage of a US-tech sector awash with cash, Wellington-born start-up Area360 raises $5.5 million from US-based venture capitalists and opens its US headquarters.

“This is the best time to raise money ever,” Stewart Butterfield told the New York Times recently. Butterfield is CEO of Slack, an instant-message-based team communication company, whose valuation rose from $US1 billion to $US2.8 billion in little over a month early in 2015.

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The California Drought And Standards Of IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) has a remote control problem — devices are operating independently with no knowledge of each other’s existence. Even systems that are supposed to work together don’t do so easily, such as the Apple TV and just about any output device.

We need a digital age of enlightenment and openness to unleash the full potential of the IoT. This means standardizing cross-device and multi-platform communication, and building user interfaces that are easy to use.

Read more on techcrunch.com

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

#ABAF15NZ Speakers – Raiyo Nariman

Meet the speakers #ABAF15NZ – Raiyo Nariman

The Angel Association of New Zealand brings the 2015 Asian Business Angel Forum to Queenstown this October. Leading investors and early stage business specialists from around the globe will share their knowledge and make their New Zealand connection at this premier global investor forum

Presenters sharing personal learnings garnered from years of investing with the carefully curated audience of Angel groups, network and fund members from across this dynamic country include Raiyo Nariman founding VC of the Malaysian Business Angel Network.

Register-now

Raiyo Nariman specializes in commercialization of technology, research & IP, and the development, funding and growth of start-ups. As a Venture Manager, Raiyo personally invests and partners with founders, taking a hands-on role to ensure successful execution of commercialization & growth strategies, including international market entry and capital raising.

Raiyo’s entry into the venture arena started in New Zealand, as part of the founding executive team for a Foundation, where his focus was on the development, funding and incubation of new ventures. Raiyo’s executive-level engagements include CEO of Canterprise, the venture company at University of Canterbury, and MD of Encore Professional Services, a business he spun-out, established and grew for a PE fund in Hong Kong.

As the founding VP for the Malaysian Business Angel Network, Raiyo played a key role in establishing the current angel investor community in Malaysia and has also established, developed and managed angel networks in Hong Kong and Singapore, and works with angel clubs and associations across Asia and the West.

Raiyo is MD and Partner for Mercatus Ventures, a Malaysian-based early stage venture firm that invests in, and takes a hands-on role to develop, regional ventures. He is also a Partner in Serendipity Ventures, a Hong Kong-based boutique venture management firm, where he personally invests in early stage ventures and takes them to market.

Meet Raiyo, along with a host of angels from New Zealand’s angel investment community and the world at the Asian Business Angels Forum, Queenstown, October 14-15. Only a handful of seats remain.

Be quick to register yours. ABAF2015, NZ

Research Delivers Investment Lessons for Achieving International ROI

In May 2014, New Zealand tech success story GreenButton was acquired by US software giant Microsoft adding the company to a small but growing list of successful Angel funded kiwi technology exits. 

Dan Khan a tech entrepreneur, investor and former director of Lightning Lab, New Zealand’s first tech company accelerator, has conducted in-depth research on behalf of AANZ and NZVIF into the journey of the company from startup to exit. The resulting papers provide valuable insights for kiwis driving towards doing international deals, the subject of this years Asian Business Angels Forum (#ABAFNZ15) in Queenstown, October 14-16 2015.

ABAF2015, NZ

GreenButton’s success was not born overnight. The reality is one of relentless determination by the founder; big, bold decisions, backed by serious hard work; emotional challenges resulting from financial strains and extensive periods of being away from friends and family; an unrelenting focus on the end goal and a substantial commitment of expertise, time and effort by lead investors.

Angels invested in, or working on investing in Kiwi tech companies can learn how to achieve the highs and bear the lows of tech success on the world stage from the detailed research paper which steps through the “Anatomy of a Successful Exit: The GreenButton story”. Download it here.

Dan has also written a short form overview of his findings in a personal “Reflections on a Successful Exit: A Post-Post-Mortem of the GreenButton Story”, to entrepreneurs as he tours the country. His travel is being supported by the Angel Association of New Zealand and The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund. To receive a copy of the overview paper click here.

#ABAF15NZ Speakers – Marcia Rick Dawood, Jamie Rhodes

Meet the speakers #ABAF15NZ – Marcia Rick Dawood, Jamie Rhodes

A truly international trio rounds out an exceptional line-up of speakers at the 2015 Asian Business Angel Forum (ABAF) hosted by the Angel Association of New Zealand. ABAF event plays a pivotal role in bringing together speakers and delegates from 12 of the most active and connected early-stage investment ecosystems in the world.

Marcia Rick Dawood, Sasha Mirchandani, Jamie Rhodes all come to ABAF with intent to share a combined 100 years of experience in founding, finding, screening, funding, growing and exiting startups.

It’s an honour to welcome all three to Queenstown, New Zealand, from 14th until 16th of October to share their insights at #ABAFNZ15.

Register-now

Marcia Rick Dawood is on the Board of the Angel Capital Association (ACA) in the United States an organisation which represents over 12,000 accredited investor members, 220 angel groups and accredited platforms who have invested in well over 10,000 entrepreneurial companies.

Marcia is also Managing Director of Golden Seeds, an investment firm dedicated to delivering above market returns through the empowerment of women entrepreneurs and those who invest in them. The firm’s nationwide angel network is the fourth largest and most active in the US with 250 members. Its venture capital group has $35million under management. The firm, headquartered in New York, also has groups in Boston, San Francisco, Dallas and LA and has invested over $50million into 52 companies since 2005.

Syndication of deals between Golden Seeds and BlueTree Allied Angels is also lead by Marcia where she is also a member and Chairman of the Education committee. BlueTree’s focus is investing in regional, early-stage companies.

Not content with the ACA and 2 angel funds Marcia is Managing Director of OneHEEL Partners in Greater New York too. She focuses on helping businesses grow, through direct investment and expert consulting services. The firm also offer a laboratory with resources to grow, develop and encourage business ideas and investments, identifying those concepts with the highest potential, and providing the financial and business expertise required, leveraging the background and network diversity of its partner members.

She supports women led, impact as well as tech/life sciences and overall fun companies and is passionate about education as well as investment. In her 16+ year career prior to becoming an active investor she gained experience and success in operations, sales and marketing with Kaplan Higher Education Campuses (KHEC). She has also walked the road of an entrepreneur as a founder, owner/operator of a professional sports franchise.

Register-now

Jamie Rhodes is a serial entrepreneur and investor with deep experience in science and technology. He is co-founder of National NanoMaterials, manufacturer of Graphenol™, a functionalized form of graphene and previously founded Perceptive Sciences Corporation.

He brings over 30 years of experience managing investment in technology with him to his presentation at ABAF based on nine years in management at IBM, being co-founder of a venture capital funded start-up focused on the telecom industry (which IPO’ed in 2011) and, in the early years of his career, working with numerous start-ups, most notably National Instruments in its early stage. He holds both a Bachelor’s of Science degree and a Master’s of Science degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

A leader in his community in Texas, Jamie has been named one of ‘The 30 Most Influential People in Central Texas in the Last 30 Years’ by the Austin Business Journal and ‘Technology Volunteer of the Year’ by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce where he previously served on the board.

Among other advisory and governance roles Jamie also counts his position on the board of the Central Texas Regional Center of Innovation and Commercialization and the Texas Tri-Cities Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors, St. Edward’s University, Texas State University and the University of Texas. He is also an IC2 Fellow.

With the support of the GACC in 2006 Jamie founded the Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN), which provides funding and support to Texas entrepreneurs across a broad spectrum of industries. Jamie, along with a group of local investors and community leaders, were among the early adopters who believed that early-stage investing could provide a meaningful return for investors while also spurring local economic growth and so CTAN was formed as a not-for-profit corporation. Like most angel groups CTAN began with individual members of the organization volunteering their time and expertise to review potential investments, assist entrepreneurs and take care of administrative duties.

Jamie has also organized angel groups around the state of Texas into the Alliance of Texas Angel Networks, which represents over 300 investors and investment in over 60 companies in 2012. He is vice chair of the board of directors of the Angel Capital Association, a national organization spun out of the Kauffman Foundation representing seed stage investors.

Register-now

Meet the trio in person, along with a host of angels from New Zealand’s angel investment community and the world at the Asian Business Angels Forum, Queenstown, October 14-15. Seats are now very limited. Be quick to register yours. ABAF2015, NZ

#ABAF15NZ Speakers – Carolynn and Jon Levy

Meet the speakers #ABAF15NZ – Carolynn and Jon Levy

Hosted by the Angel Association of New Zealand, the 2015 Asian Business Angel Forum brings together leading investors and early stage business specialists from around the globe to share their knowledge make their New Zealand connection.

They join a carefully curated audience of investor members of Angel groups, network and fund members from across this dynamic country bought together by the AANZ to celebrate this small country’s big contribution to early stage investment and build international relationships.

Among the highly experienced line up of speakers AANZ is extremely pleased to be able to bring Carolynn and Jon Levy from Y Combinator, one of the most successful incubators in the US to ABAF to share their insights and experience at #ABAFNZ15.

Register-now

Carolynn Levy is a partner at Y Combinator (YC). She was previously at renowned West Coast US firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, where she helped hundreds of startups with legal questions and acted as Y Combinators counsel for 6 years. She has a BA in political science from UCLA and JD from the USF School of Law, and is a member of the State Bar of California.

Jon Levy, is also a partner at Y Combinator and previously counselled public and private technology companies as an attorney for Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati. He ran ThinkEquity’s private placement department and worked as a Managing Director at Merriman Curhan & Ford. Jon earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, and a B.A. in English Literature and Religious Studies from Wesleyan University.

Both Carolynn and Jon are skilled and experienced in dealing with entrepreneurs at all stages of the lifecycle, offering services to those beginning their ventures, those exiting and experiencing the process of merger or acquisition and those that recycle their capital investing in the new. They make themselves available for office hours at YC and Carolynn is active in entrepreneur education via Stanford University providing insights to founders Finance and Legal Mechanics for Startups helping them to get the structure right at the start.

Joining YC was a natural move for the couple, Carolynn says “YC was becoming bi-coastal and needed legal help on the west coast.  So for years, as an associate at WSGR, I helped YC’s portfolio companies with formations, fund raising, etc.  YC kept getting bigger, and my husband Jon joined YC as a legal consultant.  Jon was (is) so happy working with YC because of the people and the culture.  So eventually, since YC kept getting bigger, I decided to leave WSGR and come to YC as a full time partner.  It was a great decision.”

She councils startups with pragmatic guidance, for instance “It doesn’t matter who thought of the idea, who did the coding, who built the prototype, or which one has an MBA. It will feel better to the whole team if the allocation is equal because the whole team is necessary for execution. The take away on this point: in the top YC companies, which we call those with the highest valuations, there are zero instances where the founders have a significantly disproportionate equity split.

Y Combinator itself has an impressive track record, so in their time as independent and in-house council Carolyn and Jon have been involved in some of the biggest deals and best known companies in technology today, including: Airbnb (valued at approx $10B), Dropbox (valued at approx $10B), Stripe (over $1B and growing), Twitch, Heroku and Reddit. Twitch (formerly known as Justin TV) was acquired by Amazon for $970M, Heroku was acquired by Salesforce for $212M.

As detailed by investors following YC’s progress tens of other YC companies have been acquired, those “based on reports had a price greater than $10M were Parse (Facebook, $85M), SocialCam(Autodesk, $60M), Xobni (Yahoo, $48M), Cloudkick (Rackspace, ~$50M),Loopt (GreenDot, $43M), Wufoo (SurveyMonkey, $35M), Omnisio(Google, ~$15M), 280 North (Motorola Mobility, $20M), and Appjet(Google). Parakey‘s acquisition by Facebook likely involved Facebook stock which is now worth a greater amount also. Others that were smaller but non trivial and were likely deemed successes by the founders were Auctomaticand Zenter.

Meet Carolynn and Jon Levy, along with a host of angels from New Zealand’s angel investment community and the world at the Asian Business Angels Forum, Queenstown, October 14-15. Seats are now very limited. Be quick to register yours. ABAF2015, NZ

ADMA Global Forum introduces beacon technology

Angel backed ShowGizmo is kicking on driving sales and business opportunities in new technologies adding value for event organisers.

The Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) will use new beacon technology as part of its upcoming Global Forum.

Event app company, ShowGizmo, and location-based marketing company, iProximity, have teamed up to integrate iProximity’s technology into ShowGizmo, allowing ADMA Global Forum attendees to experience location-based interactions.

Beacons placed throughout the Forum will allow delegates to receive in-app notifications, ticketing on arrival, and seminar specific information when delegates arrive at certain locations.

“ADMA Global Forum is the largest data-driven marketing conference in the Asia-Pacific region and we have to have the latest data-driven technology to showcase at our event,” said ADMA CEO, Jodie Sangster. “We hope the new ShowGizmo app will deliver on providing a fun, engaging, relevant and personalised experience for our delegates – one that really walks the talk.”

Read more on www.cmo.com.au

Start-up investment rewarding but takes time and money

Don’t miss out on NZVIF’s snapshot or our market…  just released today.

It contains a raft of fascinating insights into the NZVIF portfolio. Franceska’s press statement is below and the report is attached. It includes such things as:
•    for every dollar of initial investment 2-4 times is needed for follow-on investment
•    20% of exits have earned the level of investment back or better
•    average hold times for investments are 3 years for angels
•    $1 of public investment leverages $9 of private capital
•    57% of the portfolio (131 angel and 66 venture) were valued under $1m at investment and 27% under $500,000.

Investing in start-ups and young technology companies can be rewarding but investors should not hold high expectations of fast turnarounds in investment gains, according to a New Zealand Venture Investment Fund report released today.

NZVIF’s Snapshot Report says that speedy profitable exits occur occasionally but, in general, investors should take a portfolio approach, be prepared for the long haul, and be well provisioned for follow on investments.

As an example of the latter, the report says that investors making an initial investment of $20,000 into a young technology company should typically expect to make follow-on investments taking their stake to between $40,000 and $80,000.

NZVIF CEO Franceska Banga said that while early stage investing is a high risk investment class – at least four in 10 companies fail – it is enjoying a period of marked growth.

Read more on www.scoop.co.nz

Boat launcher can help keep marriages afloat: inventor

Remote-controlled device avoids the hot water of loading and unloading vessels

Spend any time sitting at a boat ramp observing the bustle of boaties launching and retrieving their vessels and inevitably, excruciatingly, it won’t be long before something goes awry.

These boat scratching moments are the bane of any owner’s day, but they’re also the motivation behind a Kiwi innovation – the Balex Automatic Boat Loader.

A self-powered, remote controlled device for loading and unloading boats onto trailers, the ABL2500, made by Balex Marine in Tauranga, eliminates the need for manual winches, wet feet and, crucially, requires just one person to get a boat into and out of the water.

The first batch of finished units is due to ship to customers in spring. However, the story of how Balex got to this point began 10 years earlier in the garage of Tauranga realtor Lex Bacon.

Bacon, following a suggestion from his wife that inventing an automatic method of launching and retrieving boats would save many a marriage, spent years building early versions in his shed.

n 2013, mutual interests brought Bacon together with businessman Paul Symes who had just spent eight years in the Philippines building a CAD-based engineering company which he’d sold before returning to New Zealand.

A keen boatie and sailor, he brought his family to the Bay of Plenty and met Bacon and his fledgling automatic boat loader.

Sensing an opportunity to fold his hobbies and his penchant for investment into a single business, Balex Marine was founded in late 2013.

What followed was an intensive period of research and development in the hope of creating a product that Symes believes has the potential to become as commonplace as automatic garage doors.

“I spent the latter part of 2013 doing my own due diligence,” Symes says.

This involved employing product development consultancy Locus Research to conduct market research.

“By late December 2013 we’d brought all of those findings together and ultimately decided to develop, in 20 weeks, an advanced prototype as part of a market validation programme,” says Symes, who put up $300,000 to fund this first phase.

The finished prototype was showcased to the 2014 Auckland Boat Show’s 34,000 visitors.

With an advanced prototype and plenty of market validation under their belts, the company now needed capital.

Government-backed Callaghan Innovation provided about $100,000 to continue the R&D programme and after a successful pitch the Bay of Plenty-based early stage investment group the Enterprise Angels invested $700,000 to get the first boat loaders out the door.

During the Enterprise Angels’ due diligence process another key figure, Paul Yarrall, joined the team. The relationship clicked and in January 2015 Yarrall joined Balex’s board as sales director.

Even as the launch draws nearer, the company is busy preparing for a second, larger round of capital raising. This money will enable the company to set in motion its ambitious plans for a worldwide launch, beginning with Australia, then North America and Europe.

Produced in conjunction with the Angel Association of New Zealand.

Balex Marine
Remote controlled device for loading and unloading boats.
Developed an advanced prototype in 20 weeks.
Received $800,000 in funding and investment.
Planned to launch this spring.

As first published on NZHerald

Lead Partners

NZTE NZGCP PWC “NZX” Callaghan Innovation

Expert Partner

AVID “Jarden”

AANZ Summit Sponsors

“UniServices” Kiwinet “AWS” “BNZ” “Momentum” “Punakaiki” “MBIE” “GD1” “WellingtonUniVentures” “Movac”