Focus on New Zealand Start-Ups

Enterprise Angels third investment fund, EA Fund 3, raised $3m and commenced investing in August 2019.  So far it has deployed $680k into a range of innovative, high-growth New Zealand start-ups covering everything from AI Edtech to Healthtech to Nanotech to Consumer Insights. In this article we look at the breadth and diversity of those startups and how our New Zealand founders are solving problems and making life better for companies, consumers and stakeholders.

1. Amy

Amy is the world’s first scalable private tutor.  Its tech makes learning maths easy for everyone by understanding the student.  The platform uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to give students specific feedback when they make mistakes and fill the knowledge gaps which caused them, in real time.  COVID-19 has increased the relevance of online tutoring by several orders of magnitude and the Amy team are in discussions with several partners that could roll out their solution globally.

A crucial part of any start-up is the team and the Amy team rates very highly.  The experienced team includes Jurgen Brandstetter (CTO – PhD in Robotic Persuasiveness, Masters in Game Design and has previous experience in building a start-up), Ewan Orr (Head of AI – PhD in Theoretical Physics), Raphael Nolden (CEO –previously lectured mathematical modelling) and Dave Moskovitz (Chair – previous successful exit in the EdTech space and experienced angel investor).

2. Arcanum

Arcanum AI empowers businesses with AI technology to support and augment existing human decision making which translates into better business outcomes.  Arcanum has built over 50 machine learning models that can learn from video, text and data across a number of problems that humans can’t solve on their own.  Its platform gives organizations unparalleled access to the power of machine learning and delivers models and data pipelines that super-power corporations, making them stronger, faster, and more agile – critical in these current times.

Asa Cox is the CEO of Arcanum AI.  Check out this podcast where Asa explains more about their solution and how they are helping businesses leverage AI and maximise outcomes.

3. Chnnl

Chnnl is a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform that allows employers and employees to monitor the mental well-being of the workforce, in real time.  It provides employees with a safe way to report stress, bullying and harassment, with a responsive, easy to use app that provides supportive feedback.  The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered significant opportunities to the business with inbound, unsolicited demand from DHBs.

Founder and CEO, Elizabeth Berryman, founded this company after experiencing bullying as a trainee doctor.  Find out more about Elizabeth’s journey, forming and growing Chnnl on the Business is Boring podcast.

4. FileInvite

We all know how painful getting documents and data off clients can be. Almost everyone uses a CRM but most people revert to email to source the data from clients to populate the CRM. Global privacy regulation and things like AML (Anti-money Laundering) are amplifying this pain massively.  FileInvite is seeking to ease that burden with its web-based SaaS document collection platform, which automates and streamlines the process of requesting and collecting documentation.

FileInvite is achieving solid market penetration already, with one in three brokered loans in Australasia now using its platform.  The company more than doubled its recurring revenue over the last year.  Since Enterprise Angels initial investment in March 2018, FileInvite has increased recurring revenue more than 7x.

Founder, James Sampson, is not new to growing start-ups – in fact, he has already done it three times!  His last successful venture was award winning web agency Zyber, of which he is still a shareholder.  FileInvite evolved solving a need within Zyber.  They needed to get content, photos and videos off customers which was a pain and a huge draw on staff time.  To address this issue, they developed a product to automate the process.  It worked so well they spun it out and FileInvite was born.

5. Firstcheck

Firstcheck enables a new way to get moles checked– with the tools and technology to get spots checked by skin experts – anytime, anywhere.  The solution involves an app and a lens that attaches to your mobile phone, which provides skin doctors with clinical quality photographs of moles and skin spots through the Firstcheck app.

Firstcheck was conceptualised by CEO and founder, Hayden Laird.  Hayden was frustrated with the lack of readily accessible early-detection technology when his grandfather was diagnosed with melanoma.  The team at Firstcheck developed low cost and accessible technology which is redefining skin cancer screening.  This solution comes as the industry looks to innovative technology to help combat our national skin cancer burden, with two in three people in Australia and New Zealand expected to develop skin cancer over their lifetime.

6. Inhibit Coatings

Inhibit Coatings has developed high performance, silver nano-particle antimicrobial coatings.  The coating is cost-competitive, better at killing bacteria, longer lasting and safer for the environment than anything currently in the market.

Initially produced for food sectors, Inhibit Coatings is now also focusing on the healthcare industry with funding from MBIE’s COVID Innovation Acceleration Fund to assist in the development of antiviral coatings for high-risk areas.

CEO and Founder, Dr Eldon Tate, was recently selected as a finalist for the Norman Barry Foundation Breakthrough Innovator Award, one of five awards in the annual KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards.  Listen to the interview ‘A silver bullet against bacteria? Nanotech anti-microbial coatings’ with Eldon on RNZ here.

7. Insite AI

Insite AI has built a cloud based platform that enables multi-billion dollar consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs), to have category management decisions made for them autonomously. Its product uses AI models to make decisions such as product assortment (what products to have in range and how much), store allocation (what unique stock mix goes to each store at the right time), and pricing (lifecycle pricing and promotion funding) decisions. These decisions are complex given the vast amount of evolving data on consumers, product, stores, price-points, and so forth. For CPGs, this newly found foresight enables them to enjoy significantly smoother operations and financial growth.

The company boasts a highly experienced USA market team.  Ned Bardic (CEO) is the ex-head of CPG at Symphony Retail AI (US$800M valuation), Ryan Powell (VP Strategy) is the ex VP at Symphony Retail AI, and Vishal Kirpalani (VP Product) is the ex VP at Symphony Retail AI. The founders, Shaveer Mirpuri (Exec Chair) and Jonathan Reid (Director), have combined experience of a $200M exit, growing a 500 person offshore company, and have a portfolio of 20 startup investments.

Insite AI also has a 10 person Auckland based technology team of AI PhDs and engineers, who are ex Google, IBM, Xero, JP Morgan, Soul Machines, Air New Zealand, Vector, and so forth.

8. Yabble

Yabble has turned the traditional insights industry on its head by creating a direct to consumer model for research.  Today, the Yabble platform facilitates the creation of fast, agile and cost effective insights from feedback and opinion data.  Looking to the future, Yabble is building the tools to enable data to be shared and traded to create even richer insights.

At the heart of the Yabble business, are consumers (known as Yabblers). Yabblers earn from sharing their feedback, expert opinions and soon their data. Yabble is passionate about recognising consumers as co-creators of their data. Yabble asks permission to use and then rewards people fairly for their data. For Yabble it’s all about increasing the flow of data between consumers and brands so they can create better products, services and experiences.

The impressive founders, Kathryn Topp and Rachel O’Shea, have decades of experience between them. Kathryn is an award-winning researcher with 20 years’ experience in data, insights and software. She has worked both client and agency side with blue chip brands across Asia, Europe, USA and the Pacific. Rachel is a passionate global marketer with over 20 years’ experience working across Europe, Australia, New Zealand. Together they bring the domain expertise, customer centric thinking and drive to take Yabble onto the global stage.

9. WNT Ventures Fund 3

EA Fund 3 is focussed on angel stage opportunities, i.e. companies with early revenues.  To provide diversification to seed stage opportunities that are supported by an experienced incubator as well as early access to incubated companies, the Fund invested in WNT Ventures.  WNT is an investor and technology incubator for early stage deep tech companies.  WNT has an experienced team with a good reputation.  Its unique pipeline is strong, and it leverages non-dilutive capital from Callaghan Innovation alongside Limited Partners’ investment capital.

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A big shout out to the EA Fund 3 founders and Limited Partners, we’re thrilled to be on the journey with you.

If you want to find out more about working with, or investing in, any of these companies, please get in touch with Enterprise Angels here.

 

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