Snowball Effect 2018 Annual Update

2018 has been a record year for Snowball Effect. We have raised more capital than any previous year and continue to grow steadily. Some of the metrics below are disclosed to the FMA as part of our compulsory reporting as a regulated online investment platform. We believe that the private capital markets in NZ can benefit from being as transparent as possible. We’ve recently been collaborating with researchers from the University of Auckland and University of Minnesota to uncover insights into investor behaviour and the growth in online capital raising around the world. Below are some of the highlights from the past year:

Larger offers
We have now raised $41.8 million in capital across 54 offers. The private capital part of the business continues to grow with $12.7 million raised privately in 23 offers. The average size of offers that we work with has been increasing and 13 offers have been over $1 million in size. We have completed 22 offers that attracted more than 100 investors.

Growing investor base
Our investor audience now includes 17,700 people, of whom 7,300 have actively indicated interest in investing in a particular offer. We’ve found that each indication of interest averages out to about $1,000 in investment in the final offer per indication of interest. One of the most important metrics for a two-sided marketplace business is “transacted users”. In our case, 3,100 people have made a completed investment on the platform.

Larger investors
We are now working frequently with large family offices, institutional, and sophisticated investors. 810 people have invested more than $10,000 through the platform and 67 people have invested more than $100K through the platform. There are now 1,400 wholesale investors on Snowball Effect who are eligible to receive private offers. $27.7 million in transaction volume has come from people investing more than $10K.

Increasing diversification
A key difference between Snowball Effect and other players in the online investing space is that we want investors to take the private company asset class seriously as part of their overall investment portfolio. To that end, we’re pleased to see that 33% of our investors have now invested in more than one offer and 14% have invested in three or more offers. 30 people have invested in 10 or more offers (which research from the Kaufman Foundation shows is the base level of diversification needed to approach the underlying asset class returns for angel and venture capital investing). The most active investor on Snowball Effect has now invested in 27 offers.

Ongoing services
Our ancillary services have continued to grow with 14 companies now tracking their legal share ownership records in the Snowball Effect share registry. These companies represent 2,059 shareholding records. We also now have 163 director profiles from investors that are available as independent directors for companies that raise capital through Snowball Effect.

For more information from Snowball click here.

 

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The number of deals is shrinking but venture capital still hit a record in Australia

Venture capital in Australia hit a record $US630 million ($AU849 million) in the 2017-18 financial year, up 12% on the previous 12 months, despite a drop in the number of deals, according to Venture Pulse Q2 2018, a quarterly report by KPMG.

Over the three months to June, $US209.09 million of startup investment was recorded in Australia, up from the $US169.8 million the previous quarter.

However, the number of deals was 27, down from 31, continuing a trend for bigger raises to more mature startups.

“Venture financing continues to rise in Australia, keeping pace with worldwide trends,” says Amanda Price, Head of KPMG Australia High Growth Ventures.

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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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Software the top sector for NZ angel investors

More than half the investment made in early stage companies in New Zealand last year was in the software and services space (53.8%), followed by 17% in technology hardware and equipment.

“Technology is increasingly the engine of growth for all companies, regardless of size” explains PWC’s Anand Reddy.

“It’s no surprise that it’s these areas where the most activity is happening and where angel and early-stage investors are putting their energy. This reflects global trends too. Data generated by Crunchbase notes that the software and services remains the dominant sector for investment.”

Speaking personally, John O’Hara said that his own portfolio leant towards software generated ventures.

“I am particularly proud of Ask Nicely, which produces software for NPS (net promoter score) collection and analysis. This company has already generated tangible returns for a number of the early angel investors. The company is now scaling into the US, with the founder moving to Portland, Oregon in the last couple of months.

“New Zealanders have a knack for practical problem solution and we are increasingly seeing them turn this knack into compelling business opportunities,” said O’Hara.

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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Nyriad raises $8.5 million for GPU-based resilient storage arrays

Nyriad has raised $8.5 million in venture capital for its resilient storage systems that are accelerated using graphics processing units (GPUs). Those storage systems are built to handle problems such as the simultaneous removal or failure of 20 hard disks at the same time.

The Cambridge, New Zealand-based company has now raised more than $11 million to date for its Nsulate software for managing large-scale storage arrays in data centers. The company is targeting the release of its first product in the first quarter of 2018.

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2017 Angel Summit focuses on next 10 years

The tenth Annual New Zealand Angel Summit will be held at Cable Bay Winery – Waiheke Island from 1 – 3 November 2017. It’s theme; “Doubling down on success… the next ten years!”

New Zealand is now decade in to formal angel investing in New Zealand and has amassed some impressive statistics for a nation of our size. Over $500m into nearly 1000 deals in the more formal part of our market. Ten years ago there were 4 clubs and 100 or so angels. Today there are 10 clubs and over 650 angels. All this activity has delivered hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of revenue. It’s this value creation we want to continue to accelerate.

Ten years ago there were 4 clubs and 100 or so angels. Today there are 10 clubs and over 650 angels. All this activity has delivered hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of revenue. It’s this value creation we want to continue to accelerate.

The 10th Annual NZ Angel Summit is being held back where it all started at Cable Bay Winery on Waiheke Island. The choice of the small intimate venue continues the deliberate approach by the Angel Association to ensure it creates the right atmosphere for relaxed and informal conversations between active angel investors. The last two summits have sold out and it unapologetically prioritises attendance for those who are ‘doing deals’.

On the first morning the Summit will celebrate our community of investors and founders and their achievements in the past decade. There is so much to be proud of. The rest of the event will be spent digging into what we need to do to double down on our successes based on stories and insights from New Zealand’s heroes. International speakers, carefully vetted for their ability to both understand New Zealand’s unique circumstances and our aspiration for outcomes and success are flying in to present.

Showcasing Angel Investor Backed Ventures

The Showcase event which kicks off the event will include up to 10 venture in three tiers; seed, first formal round, last raise with a clear exit path. Each group of ventures will be introduced by an experienced angel investor who will talk about the investment opportunity, the return profile, valuations and potential acquirers.

New Zealand Investor Keynotes

Key Note sessions will include deep insight into what we can be proud of and what’s next. Stalwart investors will share memories of getting started – what was their vision and what inspired them, their challenges and what we need to do in the next decade to ensure value is delivered. These sessions will explore why our environment looked as it did 10 years ago, how far we’ve come and how we build on what we’ve created and set the vision for the next 10 years.

International Angel Investors

International special guests include Justin Milano (Good Startups, San Francisco, USA) who will explore the role of fear in the early-stage space. A veteran of Silicon Valley, Mr Milano has worked with angels and entrepreneurs to use cutting edge psychology and neuroscience, including emotional intelligence skills to help entrepreneurs and angels create break-throughs and unlock potential. Ron Wiessman (Band of Angels, San Francisco, US) will deliver a dose of reality exploring the critical the role of capital strategy and how tough it can be to source and entice an acquirers.

Actionable Insights

The extensive programme includes gritty content which covers; building strategic value, actively managing your portfolio for returns, Government’s role – identifying the right policy levers, the role of NZ corporate venture, and deep dives into term sheets – how have they have evolved and what role do they play in venture success lead by AANZ Expert Partner, Avid Legal’s Bruno Bordignon. Insight into which industries and technologies are going to irrevocably disrupt markets in the coming decades and make the best investment opportunities round out the valuable programme.

Finally, the event will also include the presentation of Arch Angel Award and two inaugural awards “Contribution to the industry” and “Lead angel and best venture award” – celebrating a great angel/founder collaboration.

To book your seat (preference is given to active angel investors) click here.

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Capital Markets Report: Making it a bigger deal

There’s still a big gap in the market for traditional venture capital, with long lead-ins, writes James Penn.
The average transaction value in New Zealand’s venture and early stage capital sectors more than doubled from 2015 to 2016, according to a recently released report. However, concerns about the fragility of the sector remain.
The New Zealand Private Equity and Venture Capital Monitor, published by EY and NZVCA, paints a rosy picture for the venture and early stage sector, with growth of 47.7 per cent in the value of deals — which don’t include angel investments — compared with 2015.
Interestingly, despite this growth in total investment value, the number of transactions has declined. This has resulted in the average transaction value growing from $906,000 in 2015 to $1.85 million in 2016, suggesting a maturing of the sector.
A similar, albeit more moderate, story can be observed for angel investments.
A recent report by the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) stated that while the number of investments by angel groups and funds decreased 15 per cent, the total value of investment increased by 13 per cent, reaching $69m in 2016.
Willingness to invest larger sums in each individual company is indicative of investors having more confidence that those companies have strong, often international, growth potential.
However, this means that the sector is highly focused on growth capital — for companies that have already generated a significant level of revenue.
“A big gap remains in the market for more traditional venture capital targeted at businesses that have long lead times and deep intellectual property,” says Colin McKinnon, Executive Director of NZVCA. “We don’t have a New Zealand fund in the market at the moment that would be likely to invest in (say) Rocket Lab or 8i while they remain pre-revenue.”
Managing Partner of Movac, Phil McCaw, sees fragility in the early stage capital sector, arguing that New Zealand needs at least a couple more significant funds around the $150 million mark. Movac for its part recently raised $110 million for its Fund 4, and has already made a significant investment from that fund in retail software developer Vend.
“My vision for the venture industry is to see that we’ve got three or four long term sustainable funds that are $150 million type funds,” says McCaw. “We’ve got to find a way to lift this industry to get to that position.”
Engender Technologies, a Kiwi company that has developed laser technology to sort livestock sperm by sex, is illustrative of the benefits that come from these growth-focused capital sources.
After closing a $4.5 million capital raise — led by Kiwi venture investment firm Pacific Capital — in June last year, Engender has started growing its footprint globally. To date in 2017, Engender has announced a $1 million deal with Asia’s largest animal genetics company and has been named one of the five most innovative Agtech start-ups at Agfunder Global Innovation Awards.
The positive headline figures are also reflected in a flurry of activity among old and new specialised funds. In March this year, for example, NZVIF announced its 17th partnership for its seed co-investment fund with ArcAngels, a group of private individuals focused on investing in female-led start-ups.
Meanwhile, the NZ Super Fund broadened its scope of investments over the past year, with investment in funds that target a spectrum of companies, from early to late growth.
“New capital commitments for funds including Movac and Global from Day One were complemented by on-going fundraising by Punakaiki Fund,” says McKinnon, “Crowdfunding platforms Snowball Effect and Equitise, and the public listing of Powerhouse Ventures also raised capital.”
KiwiSaver is nowhere to be seen in venture or private equity which is disappointing.
Colin McKinnon
McCaw says “I’m more confident than I’ve ever been. There’s more cash in the market and there’s more opportunity, and I don’t see those things changing in the next few years.”
Despite this dynamism, there remains work to be done to foster a deep early stage and venture capital market that can
satisfy the needs of rapidly scalable ventures.
Public funds and institutional investors need to play a greater role. While the Super Fund has taken a step in this direction, it has taken some time and the industry would welcome other funds following suit.
“KiwiSaver is nowhere to be seen in venture or private equity which is disappointing. International investors prioritise larger markets,” explains McKinnon.
“Creating a framework that incentivises the early-stage growth market until a long-term track-record is developed should be considered. The industry is close, but not quite there yet.”
McCaw also sees a need for policy change in this regard, noting the success of recent Australian policy changes and the subsequent growth in their sector.
“If we want a growth economy that grows from entrepreneurship, you’ve actually got to put in place a policy framework that supports it across the spectrum,” says McCaw. “And I think there’s an absence of policy at the moment in the venture and growth capital class that is not enabling the scaling of funds.”
And the age-old question of returns still remains. Yet again, there was an absence of divestment within the venture and early stage capital sector in 2016.
According to the Capital Monitor, just one of the past six years has seen any divestment, and that was a mere $400,000. However, McCaw says this is the nature of the beast and the early stage capital sector is always expected to have long pay-off timelines.
“It is still a developing story. Around the world, that’s a story that takes 20 years to create, across a couple of fund iterations,” says McCaw. “But it’s coming.”
“You can kind of justify the growth that’s incurring inside of these companies, because there really is some really fast revenue growth occurring — so there’s definite signs that the industry is investing in things that are creating long term value.”
“The rate of return at the moment in terms of cash back is not fast enough,” accepts McCaw. “But it’s getting faster.”
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Opinion: The state of play for New Zealand’s venture capital industry

The question of the future of the NZ Venture Investment Fund is the trigger for one of the most important questions right now in New Zealand – how early stage venture capital in R&D, innovation and technology is funded and managed.
It goes beyond the question of NZVIF, which is a legacy institution and served a different purpose in the past. NZVIF is, in effect two institutions – an investor of the $50 million Seed Coinvestment Fund co-investing alongside angel investors to date in over 230 seed and VC stage companies and manager of 11 secondary stakes in established funds. It has a team of just five investment managers, which is small relative to the number of investments. Profit maximisation of these holdings for the government by the existing team is possible with many different options.

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I Slept With 65 VCs and Learned These Things

Our first suitor called us in the spring. They offered to pay for coffee. It was our first date. I had butterflies in my stomach. They promised they’d done this before and that I shouldn’t be nervous.

I could tell they were experienced. Their smile was soothing.

They looked me in the eyes. They wanted our pitch deck. “Do you use protection?” I asked. “No.” I knew it was dangerous doing it without protection. But it was so tempting. I was excited. I wanted to get in their portfolio. I couldn’t resist. So I took a deep breath and slipped the deck in. “Is it in yet?” I felt naked. I didn’t care. Maybe this was the one, I thought. Maybe they’ll actually call me back after this meeting. Maybe they’ll invest.

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A leading VC partner explains what’s missing from Australia’s tech startup scene

It’s been just over 100 days since I relocated back to Australia to join the incredible gang at Airtree Ventures.

I had previously worked with the London-based Summly until our acquisition by Yahoo (California based), and then as a venture investor at White Star Capital (New York and London based). As a result of these experiences, I was privileged to have an insider view on the growth of the London and New York tech communities.

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New Zealand’s biomedical sector to benefit from Australian Government initiative to make Australia a global leader in life science research commercialisation

Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) creates fourth and largest fund
Wellington, 15th December, 2016 – The Australian Government’s launch of the AUD$500 million Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF) this week, an initiative to make Australia a global leader in the commercialisation of biomedical discoveries, will benefit New Zealand’s biomedical sector, says Dr Chris Nave, Managing Director of venture capital firm, Brandon Capital.
The BTF is a pool of public and private capital which will be managed by three venture capital fund managers who were announced this week. Brandon Capital has been allocated to manage the largest fund of AUD$230 million comprising AUD$115 million from the Commonwealth government matched with AUD$115 million from private investors.

The new fund, the MRCF BTF, is the fourth and largest investment fund of the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF). Brandon Capital manages the MRCF, a unique collaboration between over 50 of New Zealand’s and Australia’s leading medical research institutes and research hospitals. These organisations contribute biomedical investment opportunities to MRCF funds as well as their expertise to support the development of these discoveries.

In April this year New Zealand joined the MRCF, enabling New Zealand research organisations to become members of the fund and seek investment support for emerging technologies from the third MRCF fund, MRCF3, an AU$200 million fund. Currently six New Zealand research institutes are members of the MRCF*.

“This is a bold and visionary initiative by the Australian Government to ensure Australia reaps the benefits from our world-class medical research,” says Dr Chris Nave, who is also Principal Executive of the MRCF.
“On all measures, Australia and New Zealand produce some of the world’s leading biomedical research, but unfortunately, too often, we see promising discoveries leave our shores early in development, with little value returned. The size of the MRCF BTF provides the opportunity for these technologies to be developed to much later stages in Australia, and in some cases through to the market and importantly patients, retaining greater value and leading to the creation of new jobs and income. The BTF program will be transformative for local industry, providing the ability for research discoveries to be developed from concept to commercialisation in Australia.”

While New Zealand member institutes will not be able to participate in the MRCF BTF, the new fund significantly deepens the pool of investment capital under management by the MRCF, with the advantages that brings to all members. Promising early stage medical discoveries from New Zealand member institutes can continue to seek investment from MRCF3 and follow-on funding.

Duncan Mackintosh, Brandon Capital New Zealand’s Investment Manager says the new fund means there is now AUD$430 million investment capital available for promising biomedical research, giving the MRCF real scale. “The MRCF is the largest life science investment fund in Australia and New Zealand by quite some margin. We are now competing at a global level and this will benefit our New Zealand investments by getting them greater attention internationally. It will also help us to attract offshore capital for New Zealand discoveries, attention from strategic partners and will mean we can attract and retain talent to run New Zealand investment companies.”

The BTF will see $250 million of Commonwealth government funding matched with private sector capital, creating $500 million for investments in companies with medical research projects at advanced pre-clinical, Phase I and Phase II stages of development.

The MRCF BTF private investors include CSL Limited, Australia’s largest and most successful biotechnology company, and the leading superannuation funds, AustralianSuper, Hesta, Statewide and HostPlus.

Brandon Capital is ranked as one of Australia’s top performing venture capital firms**. MRCF BTF will focus on supporting later stage opportunities, with the MRCF3 continuing to seed promising early-stage discoveries.

CSL Limited will be the only biopharmaceutical investor in the fund and will provide both investment capital and later-stage development and commercialisation expertise.
“CSL is a strong supporter of the need for a greater focus on translational research in Australia. The opportunity for the BTF to support the development of promising discoveries, onshore, is very exciting,” says Dr Andrew Cuthbertson, Head of Research and Development, CSL.

“The MRCF-BTF will not only have access to the pipeline of opportunities and capabilities of its member medical research organisations, it will also have access to the global medical research development capability and expertise of CSL,” says Dr Stephen Thompson, co-Managing Director at Brandon Capital.

It is anticipated the MRCF BTF will begin making its first investments in early 2017.

*New Zealand MRCF members: Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, University of Auckland; Institute for Innovation in Biotech, University of Auckland; Brain Health Research Centre, University of Otago; Malaghan Institute of Medical Research; Ferrier Research Institute, Victoria University of Wellington; Callaghan Innovation.

**In an Australian Financial Review ranking of Australia’s top performing venture capital and private equity funds (31 August 2016), Brandon Capital’s Brandon Biosciences Fund 1 was ranked second.

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Theresa Gattung Venture Capital fund

ArcAngels and Angel Association New Zealand today welcomed the launch of Theresa Gattung’s new Venture Capital fund which aims to raise capital from women, for women entrepreneurs.

“Boosting the pool of capital for entrepreneurs is vital for New Zealand’s ecosystem of start ups to grow,” said Cecilia Tarrant, Chair of ArcAngels, a New Zealand based angel organisation focused on funding women entrepreneurs.

“As an organisation, focused on women-founders, we are delighted to hear Theresa Gattung, one of New Zealand’s preeminent business leaders has launched an initiative to fund women entrepreneurs, supported by women. Having a Venture Capital fund will help expand the capital and mentorship female entrepreneurs need to develop their businesses,” Tarrant said.

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New Zealand’s need for growth capital

As early stage investors we need to start getting real about the wisdom of our backing early stage, high growth ventures without far more consideration being given to where we source follow-on growth capital.

Even if we only look at last year’s New Zealand Venture Investment Fund’s seed co-investment data where about $50million was invested in early stage companies, the growth capital required for this cohort of companies is likely to be 10x this figure. So we are talking about finding $500m.

This is not just a problem for the investors in these companies; it’s a problem we need to grapple with in partnership with the government and the institutional investment community. These high growth companies are the engines of our economic growth. We can’t afford to drop the ball.

The development of an innovation led economy is widely accepted to take place over three ten-year horizons. We are coming to the end of ‘horizon one’ where the focus has been on inputs. New Zealand has done well here. The number of startups, early stage investors and dollars being invested has trended upwards over this period.

In the second ten-year horizon we should start to see outcomes from these innovation led companies in the form of jobs, export and tax revenue. But to generate these outcomes and see the true benefit of this investment, we need growth capital. Only then will the third horizon truly deliver in the form of financial returns and recycled capital and ultimately higher standards of living.

As I’ve just mentioned, there is no shortage of deal flow. The quality of that deal flow is improving every year too. This is in large part due to Government support for initiatives such as the Lightning Lab and the investor-led Tech Incubators. It is also a result of work others have done to upskill our entrepreneurs and angel investors.

To date, angels and other early stage investors have been able to fund the early growth of the companies meeting their criteria. We have been investing in startup, high growth ventures in a targeted sense for about 8 years but the really exponential upswing in investment has taken place in the last 3-4 years.

Quite logically, there is therefore an increasing and pressing need for growth capital in New Zealand.

This is illustrated in the recently released NZVIF data showing most investment is into existing deals. Angels are having the stay the course longer and dip back in their pockets for capital it could be argued should be coming from deeper more experienced pockets.

We need to give credit to those venture capital firms raising funds to meet the need for growth capital such as Movac’s Fund 4, the $40m fund GD1 is working hard to raise and the $40m fund raised by Oriens Capital. But it is not enough.

Closing the “growth capital gap” is going to need New Zealand’s pension and other institutional funds to broaden their investment mandates to allocate at least 3-5% to the growth needs of our high growth, early stage companies. We must support work Immigration NZ is doing to inject capital from experienced high network migrants into these companies. We need to tap into our rural and regional wealth more effectively. We have therefore been delighted to see angel networks forming in Taranaki and Marlborough reflecting an increasing awareness that high growth, tech based companies can be the source of future jobs and social and economic wealth in the regions. The banks also need to come to the party.

There is a great deal at stake here. We can’t afford “a hands off, market forces will deliver” approach. If ever a NZ Inc approach was needed, it is now.

Marcel Van Den Assum
Chairman
Angel Association New Zealand

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Kiwi start-ups invited to pitch to Chinese Angel Investors

It can often be a struggle for New Zealand start-ups to find the right partners and raise finance that can turn a business idea into a reality. However, a unique gateway has now opened for Kiwi businesses to access angel investment, manufacturing and distribution opportunities in China.

New Zealand based company FunderTech.com has forged a relationship with a Chinese investor club with offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Chengdu. The relationship provides the opportunity for 5-8 businesses a month from around the world to pitch in front of a selected group of 500-800 Chinese Angel Investors. Kiwi start-ups also get the opportunity to meet visiting venture capitalists who present at the summit each month.

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More women need to tell their investment stories

Successful women investors and entrepreneurs need to stand up and be counted if diversity is to be encouraged in the heavily male dominated field of private equity and leveraged transactions the 2016 New Zealand Private Equity & Venture Capital Association’s (NZVCA) Workshop on Women in Growth Capital was told (23rd May).

Chania Rodwell, director, Helmsman Capital, Sydney says: `We do have to drive recruitment to private equity. It can appear less attractive than some of the other alternatives open to female applicants. It helps if women working in the industry build recognition to break down the misconceptions and help others to see the opportunities.’

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Queen’s Birthday Honours: Investor committed to start-ups

Franceska Banga

Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to business and the community

Franceska Banga says she is honoured to be recognised for her role in state sector venture capital investment in New Zealand, which she sees as crucial to developing technology and innovation in this country. She has been made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2016

Banga this year stepped down as chief executive of the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund. The fund’s founding chief executive, she left after 15 years of steering some $150 million of taxpayer money into more than 200 start-ups and early-stage companies. She has overseen partnerships with 10 venture capital funds and 15 angel investment networks.

She has just returned from the Simon Moutter-led Innovation Mission to Israel and says it has reinforced her commitment to the sector and working with high-growth companies.

Banga grew up in Christchurch and trained as an occupational therapist. In the 1980s she grew more interested in economics, initially in the health sector.

She studied economics at Auckland University and earned a post-grad degree at Victoria University on a Reserve Bank scholarship.

After time at the Reserve Bank and in the private sector, she moved to Treasury where she was director of the national health budget.

She was appointed chief adviser on strategy at the Ministry of Research Science and Technology in 1999 before moving to the NZVIF role when the organisation was founded in 2001.

Banga has also contributed her expertise in forums such as the New Zealand Capital Markets Development Taskforce and she chaired the New Zealand Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Board.

She is a member of the International Public Policy Forum on Venture Capital and a trustee of the International Centre for Entrepreneurship Foundation.

Banga has also used her expertise to benefit charity and not-for-profit organisations; she is a trustee for the Fred Hollows Foundation and was an independent director for the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind.

First published on nzherald.co.nz 6 June 2016

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New VC fund hits NZ$38m

The Global from Day One (GD1) Fund II has raised NZ$38 million – NZ$5 million more than its first close target.

The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) is a cornerstone investor in the fund, committing around NZ$11 million (US$7.5m), alongside its Taiwan counterpart, the National Development Fund. The remainder has been raised from foundation investor Sparkbox Investments, the fund’s management team and private investors in New Zealand, Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the USA. New Zealand investors include Sir Stephen Tindall’s K1W1, Diligent founder Brian Henry, and a range of private investors with technology and finance backgrounds.

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Crowdfunding laws a turnoff for venture capitalists

Any business that raises capital using equity crowdfunding laws that passed the House Of Representatives on February 10 will have no chance of attracting venture capital investors in future, a leading angel investor says.

Adrian Bunter, a prominent member of the Sydney Angels investor group, says venture capitalists won’t want the hassle of investing in businesses with potentially hundreds of underlying shareholder agreements.

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The Role and Relevance of Listing #ABAF15NZ

#ABA15NZ: The Role and Relevance of Listing

Where does listing fit in the lifecycle of an early-stage company? Is it different internationally? What are the options?

Introduction presentation from Tim Bennett, CEO, NZX who explains New Zealand’s regulatory environment, markets and opportunities for high growth companies and angel and venture capital investment markets.

Moderator – # Chris Twiss (NZVIF, NZ)

# Chris Twiss, New Zealand Venture Investment Fund

# Garth Sutherland, and Bronwyn McGrayth from Adherium, NZ who recently listed on the the New Zealand stock exchange

# Chris Twiss, NZVIF explains the NZ fund investing and compares to international markets with comment from Ron Weissman, US and David Chen, China.

How much time should founding team of early-stage companies be giving to thinking about IPO.

Click here to view video on youtube

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The Seven Secrets Of Top Angel Investors

A useful and interesting framework for angel investors is set out in this article from Forbes.

Angel investors, sometimes known as business angels, typically invest between $25,000 and $500,000 in new start-ups, often with the aim of taking them on to the stage where they can attract venture capital funding. The rewards for top angel investors can be significant, but it can also be risky. So how can angel investors maximize their chances of success and avoid feeling like they are pouring money down the drain?

Read more on www.forbes.com

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The Globalization of Angel Investments

A fascinating Harvard/MIT study released in August this year and looking at the impact of angel investment on things such as firm survival, likelihood of follow on funding and employment, determines that angels have a positive impact on the growth, performance and survival of a company.

Nature and consequences of the globalization of angel investments across a variety of geographies with varying levels of venture capital markets and other forms of risk capital.

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New England Venture Summit calls for promising early-stage startups

youngStartup Venture are bringing together a large group of VCs, Corporate VCs, angel Investors, Investment Bankers and CEOs of early stage and emerging companies for the New England Venture Summit being held on December 9th, 2015 at the Hlton in Boston, Deham and wanted to see if any of our colleagues at Angel Association New Zealand or any of the startups in your portfolio would like to attend.

Nominations are now being accepted for promising early-stage startups from the Tech, Life Sciences/Healthcare, Ed-tech, and Clean-tech sectors.

To nominate a company click here.

More information

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#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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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#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.

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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

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#ABAF15NZ Speakers – Jayesh Parekh

Meet the speakers #ABAF15NZ – Jayesh Parekh

Queenstown, New Zealand, is gearing up for 2015’s Asian Business Angel Forum. The event runs from 14-16 October 2015 with an impressive line-up of business angels from all over the world.

Among the investment experts coming to New Zealand to share their knowledge and networks is managing partner of Jungle Ventures, Jayesh Parekh.

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Mr Parekh has accumulated an extensive portfolio of technology, media and social impact investments with over ten exit or acquisition events among them.

He is also well placed to provide attendees of #ABAF15NZ with an authoritative view on funds and the benefit of angel networks, incubators and accelerators as a partner in a wide range of early-stage business growth and investment vehicles including Jungle Ventures, 500 Startups and Mumbai Angels.

Jayesh is a Singapore citizen and lives there with his family where he is actively involved in the ecosystem. He is Chief Mentor at the Hub Singapore, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD, an Executive Advisor to NUS (National University of Singapore) Enterprise and a TiE (Tech In Asia) Charter Member. As a judge at TiE’s Startup arena in Jakarta in 2014, Tech in Asia’s biggest Startup Asia to date with 2,202 participants, Jayesh was on the judging panel coaching founders to clearly articulate their monetization strategies.

Drawing on his background as an engineer with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from MS University in Baroda, India, a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, USA and over 12 years at IBM based in Houston and Singapore, he supplies valuable guidance around product believing “best of class product is extremely important and that means the user experience fits across all regions.”

Jayesh also works with existing businesses to help them apply a more entrepreneurial mindset and approach to their enterprises. He delivers in-company presentations and often facilitates deep discussions with sales and marketing and business development teams to help them embrace corporate entrepreneurship as a way to identify new business opportunities.

In his long list of achievements Jayesh counts being a co-founder of Sony Entertainment Television, a major network launched in collaboration with Sony Pictures Entertainment and his board membership of One Animation, Shemaroo, Milaap, and investment in Asvathaa (gaming & animation), Game Ventures (online gaming) and eBus (TV commercial digital distribution).

He is also a passionate advocate and investor in ventures which give back to the community with roles on the Boards of social enterprise focused ventures such as the Investment Committee of Aavishkaar India, which invests in enterprises active in the social infrastructure sector in rural and underserved India. He was on the board of SONG, a fund owned by George Soros which invests in SMEs in India that meet social objectives. He served on the Board of United Way International for six years and is a founder of ProPoor, a non-profit portal for Non-Governmental Organizations in South Asia, and now a service of CharityFocus.

You can follow Jayesh on Twitter and meet and hear from him in person, along with a host of angels from New Zealand’s angel investment community and the world at one the southern hemisphere’s largest angel investor events Asian Business Angels Forum, Queenstown, October 14-15. Seats are now very limited. Be quick to register yours. ABAF2015, NZ

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Govt extends underwrite to start-up investor, NZVIF, to 2022

The Government’s decision to extend it’s support for venture capital is enthusiastically welcomed by the Angel Association. We are passionate believers that this end of the capital markets is the engine room for the country’s future economic success.

The government is extending its underwrite of the Crown-funded start-up investor, New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, through to 2022 and allowing $12 million to be transferred to the investor’s cash-constrained seed fund, but the level of support will drop from 2018.

The Crown’s $100 million underwrite facility will be extended until 2018 and then reduced to $60 million until 2020, as returns to NZVIF from earlier investments become available for reinvestment. The move, along with a $470,000 increase in operational funding, allows the fund to make co-funding commitments to new venture capital funds and partnerships.

NZVIF hasn’t yet called upon the underwrite, even in the depths of the global financial crisis, but chief executive Francescka Banga said it was a useful safety net that gave other investors confidence in dealing with the fund.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said the NZVIF played an important role in developing the start-up and growth capital markets for New Zealand companies.

“It has been instrumental in building up New Zealand’s angel and venture capital investor markets from small beginnings to the point where private and public venture capital investment since 2003 has reached $1.1 billion,” Joyce said.

“The angel investment formal market has provided a further $353 million since it started in 2006.”

Joyce said the government expects NZVIF to become self-sustaining over time and the extension of the underwrite guarantee gives the fund time to make that adjustment.

Banga said there had not previously been a deadline for the fund to become self-sustaining but that would now likely happen within the next four years as returns grow.

The $260 million Venture Capital Fund, which invests in start-up young growth companies through privately-managed venture capital funds, is already self-sustaining, she said.

But the $40 million Seed Capital Investment Fund, which invests in early-stage companies with angel investors, still had a way to go, she said.

Banga said it was NZVIF’s idea to get government approval to transfer $12 million from one fund to the other as the SCIF, set up in 2006, was in danger of running out of money to co-invest at the levels it had been.

Many of the 115 companies the seed fund has invested in are still at an early stage – averaging four years of investment – and it takes on average seven to eight years for returns to come through.

Banga said the fund will gradually modify its level of investment as the time draws nearer for it to become self-sustaining so it could withstand the fluctuations in the market which can alter expected returns and cash flow.

Since its establishment in 2002, NZVIF has invested $147 million, alongside private investors, into 187 of New Zealand’s most promising growth companies including Xero, Orion Health, PowerbyProxi, Vend and Booktrack.

It said in a report last week that it had broken even or made money on 21 per cent of its exited investments, which is said was in line with early-stage investment expectations.

The fund manager has exited 62 investments to date, of which 13 have broken even or produced a positive net return.

Eight returned between 1.0 and 1.99 times the total invested, one was between 2.0 and 3.0 times investment and another four realised more 3.0 times the total invested.

The seed fund has broken even or made money on five exits out of 26 while the Venture Investment Fund has had eight successful exits out of 26.

Banga said she was satisfied with returns to date given New Zealand is still a relatively young market for this type of investment.

“We’d always like to see more success, faster, but that’s the nature of the market. It has taken time.”

First published NZHerald 13 July 2015

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How the mathematics of venture capital has changed and what it means for start-up exits

Fascinating article about the role some of the big accounting firms – specifically mentioning our sponsor KPMG – are playing introducing strategically placed startups to corporate acquirers with commentary about the impact this might be having on the size of exits.

Floating on the stockmarket could fall out of vogue for start-ups backed by venture capital in favour of trade sales to incumbents, because of lower demand for massive exits.

Jeremy Colless, the managing partner of Artesian Capital Management, told a roundtable on innovation hosted by KPMG on Monday that the trade sale option was becoming more viable because “the mathematics for venture capital firms” had changed.

Read more on www.brw.com.au

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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

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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

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Fund ventures a positive forecast

NZVIF compiled the attached analysis of its investment performance at the portfolio level.  With our portfolio now developed, we hope to update this annually following completion of our audited results and valuations.  We hope it will help to keep the market informed of our performance. It is being released more widely tomorrow.

New Zealand Venture Investment Fund chief executive Franceska Banga says the government-backed investor is performing well as it puts out its first report since being founded in 2002.

The report covered the two funds NZVIF runs – the $260 million Venture Capital Fund and the $40 million Seed Co Investment Fund and showed both funds were seeing positive results.

Of the 89 companies that have passed through the Venture Capital Fund, 23 exited the programme, with 66 remaining. The Venture Capital portfolio was valued as of June 2013 at $133 million (before buy-out adjustment) compared to a $120 million investment. The seed fund had a portfolio valuation of $30.2 million, compared to $29.7 million invested.

“The VC fund is tracking well, and for the seed fund we’re holding it at value effectively, which is positive when you think that about 25 per cent of the portfolio has already been written off and yet it’s still positive. There have been some early successes, so a very good progression in that portfolio,” Banga said.

The report had been “a long time coming”, and the organisation was aiming for an annual report.

Banga said she expected the fund to continue the upward trend in the coming years, and the seed fund, which was in its early stages, was tracking steadily.

“What we’re seeing is that post-GFC investor confidence has returned, particularly in the technology sector, and we’ve seen this reflected in the funds we invested in,” she said. “The Seed Co Fund is still in its early days and we’re just starting now to see those companies come through and develop.”

NZVIF has partnered with 10 venture capital funds and 14 angel investment networks. Through its two funds, the organisation has invested in 167 technology companies.

First published on nzherald.co.nz 27 November 2014

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Lead Partners

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