Kiwi tech startups pitch for investment

Christchurch landscape

29 August 2019

Australian-based Innovation Bay, in partnership with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), is returning for a second year to host ‘Venture Downunder’, a conference for Australia and New Zealand’s growing venture capital community.


60 VCs from Australia, New Zealand and around the world will travel to Christchurch, New Zealand, next week, for three days of VC-focussed sessions, workshops, and activities. The conference will also feature a showcase of six Kiwi technology startups (late-Seed and beyond) chosen from the 85 startups across the country that applied for the opportunity to introduce their businesses to fund managers.


Innovation Bay cofounder Ian Gardiner says, “New Zealand technology startups have been attracting the interest of Australian VCs in recent years, with a number of Australian funds investing in startups including 8I (OneVentures), 90 Seconds (Airtree Ventures and Right Click Capital), PredictHQ (Rampersand), SunFed (Blackbird Ventures), and Vend (SquarePeg Capital). 


“New Zealand’s small market means founders think big, right from the beginning, and this global mindset is very appealing to investors. The recent announcement of Blackbird’s $NZ30 million fund focussed on backing the country’s most ambitious founders is further evidence of a burgeoning market with growing support.”


Mr. Gardiner says Venture Downunder brings venture partners together to network and learn from each other, as well as meet some of New Zealand’s most promising technology startups.


“It’s rare to see VCs all in one place as they are time poor, just like founders.  Bringing them together at Venture Downunder helps ensure they are switched off from day-to-day business and allows them to focus on sharing industry insights and talking about the challenges all VCs face. This is the second time we have done this conference in New Zealand, and last year we saw multiple companies getting funded along with valuable long-term relationships built between our participants.”


NZTE General Manager Investment, Dylan Lawrence, says the venture industry in Australia and New Zealand is still in its infancy and a strong, connected venture capital community is critical to helping startups be successful. 


“The Government has established a $300 million fund to help provide capital to mid-sized New Zealand companies. Together with overseas investment, we want to support a healthy start-up ecosystem, to grow our knowledge economy and lift the level of innovation in New Zealand.”


Mr. Lawrence says, “Following on from the lunch our Prime Minister held in Melbourne in July, the level of interest from Australian investors in New Zealand continues to be high, as they choose to look closely at New Zealand as a market aligned with their values. Australia is our largest source of inward investment, including venture capital, and it’s encouraging to see so many VCs committing to attending Venture Downunder.”


As part of the conference, Innovation Bay is also inviting a distinguished panel of Australian VCs, including Artesian, Blackbird Ventures, Jelix Ventures, and Right Click Capital, to meet the local startup community.


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