The strength of the Enterprise Angels brand is dependent on the commitment of our members volunteering time to support the early-stage ecosystem. This month we acknowledged those members who have made a real commitment to supporting the startup ecosystem with our Annual Angel awards.
We are grateful to our Strategic Partners, Priority One, Cooney Lees Morgan and Craigs Investment Partners for sponsoring this year’s awards. Each winner received a trophy and a Chuffed experience voucher. Chuffed is a local Tauranga company who is on a mission to change gift giving in New Zealand by connecting people with amazing experiences and supporting New Zealand’s tourism industry.
Priority One – New Member of the Year
This award recognises one of our newest members who has joined in the last 12 months and has jumped straight in and been fully engaged. The criteria for the award is based on a combination of startup support (investment $ as well as mentoring and other support), event attendance, and active engagement.
The finalists in this category were two members – Bryan MacLeod (Coromandel) and Robert Morgan (Wellington) who represent the growing number of ‘remote’ active members we have throughout New Zealand and also internationally.
The winner of the new member award was Nicola O’Rourke. Nicola joined Enterprise Angels in December 2022 and dived straight in taking on the role as Investor Director for Heilala Vanilla. She has immense experience in FMCG/CPG and has offered to support businesses in this space. Nicola has also been an advocate of helping us build greater diversity in our membership by involving Enterprise Angels in the Butterfly Effect Project in the Bay of Plenty.
In accepting the award Nicola mentioned how she has thoroughly enjoyed getting involved in early-stage businesses and offering what she can to the local organisations and Angel groups. She is excited by the flourishing opportunities going on in the food and beverage sector, not only in the Bay, but throughout New Zealand.
Cooney Lees Morgan – Investor Rep of the Year
With a growing portfolio of 76 active companies and a team of six, we leverage our members to ensure a close connection with our companies. The investor rep role aims to maximise value for both the assigned company and its investors by being the key point of contact. It gives Angel members the opportunity to put their experience, skills and connections to work with the companies they invest in.
The runner up in this category was Steve Howse. Steve is a long-standing member who is actively engaged all round and took out the Beca Angel of the Year award in 2021. Steve continues to be one of our most engaged Investor Reps, covering all three WNT funds and Upstream Medical Technologies.
The winner was Graeme Thomson who is based in Palmerston North and has been a member since 2019. In the middle of last year, he volunteered to be an investor rep for not just one company but three companies: Vidapp, Biolumic and Vortex. Since taking on the role he has been actively engaged in supporting the companies and helping them focus on improving the quality of their shareholder reporting. Subscribing to the belief that quality reports are more likely to result in favourable shareholder funding in follow on rounds. We could not agree more!
Dave Hancock, Founder of Vidapp commented “Graeme has been amazing at patiently guiding us towards best practice for reporting our SAAS metrics. He’s shared which metrics angel investors find most useful and why it’s important to share them. He’s also been very understanding that this takes time and effort, which we’ve really appreciated. Thanks Graeme for your support and we look forward to continuing to work with you!”
Craigs Investment Partners – Angel of the Year
This year we had two Angel of the Year awards, one for the Bay of Plenty and one for Waikato. This accolade is awarded to the Enterprise Angels member who has shown exceptional membership participation including committee and board involvement, due diligence participation, attending events and investing to name a few – a general all-rounder. Both winners were people who have shown outstanding commitment, visionary leadership, and dedication to fostering innovation and entrepreneurial success.
The winner for Bay of Plenty was Beppie Holm who has been an active investor since beginning her Angel Investing journey in 2010, and has grown a comprehensive portfolio of early-stage investments. She has provided due diligence on numerous deals and advocates for both investors and founders. Beppie makes it to almost all of our events and is also a notable contributor in panel discussions. For the past eight years she has been a member of the Enterprise Angels Board and Investment Committee providing valuable guidance and insights. She is one of the founding partners and board members of WNT Ventures, and a founding shareholder and Chair of RAM 3D, Chair of Roholm Ltd and a Director of Purpose Capital Limited, so has not only made an exceptional contribution to both the success of Enterprise Angels and its portfolio but also New Zealand’s startup ecosystem.
When receiving her award Beppie thanked everyone who had contributed to her Angel investing journey. She mentioned that when she came to her first angel investor meeting back in 2010 she knew nothing about the world of startups coming from a corporate background. However by getting stuck in and getting involved she has learnt so much and encouraged others to do the same as the rewards are immense.
Mark Ingle has been a strong advocate for Enterprise Angels since it first launched in the Waikato back in 2014. His enthusiasm for innovation and early-stage investing is contagious and he generously shares his time and experience with others. He is a regular supporter of events, and often brings along guests and makes referrals. Over the past five years Mark has been a member of the Enterprise Angels Board, and EA GP Board providing valuable guidance and insights. Mark demonstrates the true essence of an Angel investor and has made an exceptional contribution to the success of Enterprise Angels, especially in the Waikato.
On acceptance of the award Mark mentioned that a standout memory for him was “the infectious belief of Enterprise Angels members and team and their ability to see positivity and opportunity in almost everything that comes to the membership. That includes when selecting companies for investment; rather than declining companies outright, it’s about informing them and supporting them to become investor ready.”
Get in touch!
We welcome engagement from anyone interested or involved in the early stage investment market – Investors, Angel Members, Strategic or Corporate Partners, Founders, Incubators or Accelerators, Deal Referrers, Acquisition Partners etc.