Lest you underestimate the international scope of the angel group movement, or the influence of the Angel Capital Association (ACA) and US based angel groups, note that 20 angels from New Zealand will be attending the ACA summit in San Francisco next week.
"What you get is a great feel for the scale of investments that are being done around the globe," says Ken Erskine, Director of the ICE Angels. "What you soon recognise is that angel investing is popular around the world but the real focus in leadership tends to come out of the US."
ICE Angels is New Zealand’s largest group of Angel investors, with 130 members from all over New Zealand and overseas. Since founded in 2003, the ICE Angels have invested over $38 million in 39 companies over 70 investment rounds.
The group with Erskine includes Robbie Paul of Auckland business incubator The Icehouse, Angel Association New Zealand chairman Ray Thomson, and Brian Casey, chairman of the Ice Angels investment group. Founded in 2001, The Icehouse has worked with over 3,500 ambitious owner managers – from start-ups, to established multi-million dollar companies, helping to raise over $50 million in capital, accelerating business growth and driving wealth creation.
Four New Zealand start-ups are also traveling to San Francisco to attend an event at the Kiwi Landing Pad - an organization which helps New Zealand tech companies establish and grow their businesses in the US. Erskine said the event would give companies a chance to pitch their business plans to a panel of US-based New Zealand entrepreneurs, including Claudia Batten - one of the founders of video game advertising firm Massive, sold to Microsoft in 2006 - and Victoria Ransom, who sold her social media marketing firm Wildfire to Google for US$250 million ($292 million) last year.
The four start-ups are intellectual property solutions provider Parrot Analytics, BigLittleBang, which has developed an online 3D virtual world for children, agri-tech business CropLogic, and biotech developer PolyBatics.
BigLittleBang founder Chris White, who is coming to California, said the trip would also provide the opportunity to pitch to US angel investors. "We're looking for advisers and potential board members in the US," he said. "We're looking for expertise [from people who] also want to have skin in the game."
White said the US was BigLittleBang's biggest market and the company was looking to establish a presence here.
Erskine believes New Zealand will have the largest contingent of investors, apart from the US, at the summit.
|Our Editor, on left, working in a real ice house 50 years ago|