Welcome to AngelHQ

We’re Wellington’s Angel Investment Club – our forty or so members invest in early stage companies with the potential for rapid global expansion.

We meet regularly to review opportunities, manage our portfolio, exchange war stories and celebrate our ventures successes!  We also host a variety of international guests each year to share their experience and build our connections overseas.

We also run and participate in networking events, panel discussions and presentations to get to know the amazing entrepreneurs in our community.

On our site, you can find out more about us, apply for membership, apply for funding or get in touch with club managers.

Profile of an Angel

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Open Door Session with Angel HQ . All-comers welcome

We will be running our first Open Door session on Wednesday 16th October from 12pm – 2pm at Caliente (cnr of Willis and Manners).

This is an open, unplanned, no booking required session for you to meet with Angel HQ.  If you are interested in exploring what it would take to get in front of the club or how the process works for investee companies. We will have a member or two and our manager ready to take your questions and find out more about your business.

We take applications at any time but this is an opportunity to speak directly to a member and plan from there.

We don’t know who is coming so please be patient if you have to wait – or you might just get 2 hours to yourself! Spread the news and we hope to see you there.

Angel HQ presentation to the Pasadena Angels

Dave Moskovitz from Angel HQ is in the US at the moment, and while he was there he met with The Pasadena Angels.  Building international connections is key for Angel HQ – to help us source smart capital for those companies we’d like to grow into the US market, for one.

Here’s Dave’s speech – which gives you a great overview of our club’s activities and highlights the key reasons those international connections matter…:

My name is Dave Moskovitz, and I’m an angel investor and serial entrepreneur.

I was born at Huntington Memorial Hospital here in Pasadena, but I’ve been living in NZ since 1982.

I bring warm greetings of the board of my home club, AngelHQ in Wellington, and from Phil McCaw, the Chair of the Angel Association NZ.

I’m the Chairman of WebFund, a privately held seed fund / incubator specialising in online startups and also the Chairman of our portfolio company MusicHype, which is in the process of setting up offices here in LA.  The main purpose of my trip here is establishing industry relationships, interviewing potential hires, and meeting potential follow-on investors.

Today I’m here to talk about trans-national angel investment.  I would like to see, and am personally committed to working toward strong relationships between NZ and California early stage investors and entrepreneurs.

It is a truism that angels don’t like investing in companies far away from home.  That said, many NZ companies aspire to prove their concept in the excellent test market that is NZ, and then scale in the US market, which becomes their new home.

NZ may only have a population of 4m people, but it has a very vibrant early stage community, largely thanks to an excellent education system that produces world-class graduates, excellent social capital resulting from high levels of trust between individuals, and the “kiwi ingenuity” that results from a history of living on islands isolated from the rest of the world by large stretches of ocean.

My home town of Wellington (the capital) only has 200,000 people, but we have three active incubators and a dozen different organisations and groups that service the early stage scene.  We’re home to Peter Jackson’s Weta Studios, and this hub of creativity creates a culture of innovation that permeates the community.

Our Angel Association comprises 15 clubs and institutional investors.  In the 12 months to June 2010, USD 40m was invested by angels in 80 deals, more or less evenly split between first round and follow-on, with nearly three-fourths of deals syndicated.  Nationally we’re known for excellence in web services, digital media, bioactives, and functional foods.

My own club, AngelHQ, has been going for just over 2-1/2 years, has 28 members, of whom 15 have made more than one investment.  In calendar 2009 and 2010 we’ve made 7 investments to the tune of just over $1m USD.  Almost all of these were syndicated.  Companies included a mobile content delivery platform, breast screening software, a cloud computing platform, an on-line children’s game-world focusing on environnmental issues, a marine collision warning system, and a semiconductor manufacturing facility.

Valuations in NZ are significantly lower than US companies.  MUCH lower.  As an asset class, angel investment is very underdeveloped; we don’t have the same degree of investable wealth or risk appetite as you have here, but we do have the same levels of entrepreneurial drive.  And nearly all of our early stage companies want to jump the Pacific to be active in the US market, and we would love to have some aligned smart money on deck to help companies make that transition.

If active investment isn’t your thing but you would still like exposure to early stage NZ companies, there are three different angel funds you can invest in.

I fell in love at first sight with NZ, with its low population density, pristine natural beauty, friendly locals, great infrastructure, and excellent cultural and entertainment opportunities.  It’s a great place for a getaway or bolt-hole, and it’s straightforward to gain residence as a foreign investor.  Last year the World Bank rated NZ the 3rd easiest place to do business, and the easiest place in the world to start a business.  Oh, and there’s no capital gains tax.

The Angel community is close-knit and very friendly, even between nominally competing groups, and if you come for a visit we’ll all roll out the red carpet for you.

I know this has come out sounding more like a pitch than I really intended, but the desire to cooperate, learn from each other, and most importantly to do great deals together is totally genuine.

If you’d like to know more, please come see me after the meeting, and let’s start a relationship.

Strategic Partnership confirmed

2011 kicks off with the confirmation of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Wellington region’s key early stage support organisations:  Angel HQ, Creative HQ, Industrial Research Ltd and VicLink

The MoU articulates a vision to set up a local collaboration for innovation in the Wellington Region.  This collaboration will act as a clearing house for the following purposes:

  • Reviewing selected projects, identifying support partners, and recommending the projects for funding and/or further evaluation.
  • Providing early stage guidance to businesses propositions with a view to creating better investment propositions.
  • Analysing the needs of innovative businesses and coordinating the collaborating partners to respond to these.

Its the result of several leaders in the early-stage ecosystem getting together, determined to find a win-win approach to working together, supporting and sharing knowledge and resources so that our emerging businesses have the best chance of success.  Watch this space for the first projects to work their way through the process.

Start Up Revolutionises Breast Screening

Matakina is a Wellington start up on a mission to enable earlier detection of breast cancer, by diagnosing more accurately and treating more effectively. Their approach is to use best practice digital imaging developed by world-class innovators to allow the breast cancer screening process to be tailored to fit each individual woman.

“We have a vision for helping the millions of women who are screened for breast cancer every year. Although the barriers to success are high (medical devices are highly regulated) we believe if we can overcome those barriers then millions of women will be better off for it,” says CEO Ralph Highnam.

“Breast imagers have a number of imaging tools at their disposal to use when diagnosing, such as mammography, ultrasound and MRI. But how do you know which is the best technique to use? Wouldn’t it be great if a number grading tissue density just popped up on your mammography workstation and from that you knew which imaging tool was optimal? That’s the idea behind Volpara, a software application that Matakina hopes to have on the market in the US (and being trialled globally) later in 2010.

Highnam has been involved in the development of breast quantification software for years and received a Ph.D. in 1992 in the subject from the University of Oxford. He set up his company in Wellington due to the innovative and forward looking clinicians based here and the presence of large numbers of high quality software engineers with experience of handling images thanks to the film industry.

Grow Wellington helped Matakina get its first TechNZ grant of around $30,000 last June and thus the boost it needed to move to the next stage. “And we used Grow Wellington’s Intellectual Property services to secure a provisional patent which keeps our technology secret whilst providing protection.”

The company plans to start its commercialization efforts by placing the software at luminary breast centres in the U.S., but it also seeks relationships with distributors as well as mammography OEMs that might incorporate Volpara into their mammography reading workstation software. The company plans to begin placing fully integrated clinical systems into the US in August 2010 after first trialling them in New Zealand.

Highnam believes that Volpara could some day help answer some of the thorny questions about who should receive mammography screening and how often.

Kapiti Company Makes Profitable Hong Kong Connection

They’re both global leaders in their respective markets, but an Angel HQ deal has resulted in Kapiti-based InterGrid and Hong Kong’s Cyberport combining forces to provide unique business and marketing opportunities for InterGrid’s ‘Cloud Computing’ solutions for the creative digital community in North Asia.

Scott Houston, InterGrid’s CEO, says the company has developed the world’s first Cloud Computing rendering solution, otherwise known as the Green Button.

“The Green Button has allowed us to develop a ‘pay as you use’ business model and we are  now working with other hardware and software providers to develop Cloud Computing solutions for the creative digital and film media sector,” he says.
Located in Hong Kong, Cyberport is home to an energetic community of ICT and creative digital content tenants and incubating enterprises who enjoy synergies from co-locating with each other.

The marketing co-operation agreement will see the two companies pool resources to enable Cyberport partner companies to become more profitable using Cloud Computing technologies and develop new Cloud Computing business models for Hong Kong and China-based software companies.

Marcel van den Assum, Chairman of InterGrid and Angel HQ member, says he is convinced of the global potential of the Green Button.
“That’s why we invested, and we’re delighted that this partnership – which also means the development of new revenue models for both InterGrid and Cyberport – has been confirmed.”

That’s a sentiment echoed by Suse Reynolds, General Manager Investment, Grow Wellington.

“This Angel HQ deal with InterGrid shows the confidence our Wellington investors have in the quality of businesses operating in the region. It also reflects the international trend that during times of economic downturn, angel investment flourishes,” says Suse.

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