Village News – January 2022
Welcome to the first 2022 edition of Hillfarrance Venture Capital's Village News! Firstly, we hope you all have had a great break and rejuvenated over summer. The Hillfarrance team definitely made good use of the Aotearoa sun. In this edition, we'd like to share some exciting updates from us, our portfolio and our Village as whole!
Welcome to the first 2022 edition of Hillfarrance Venture Capital's Village News! Firstly, we hope you all have had a great break and rejuvenated over summer. The Hillfarrance team definitely made good use of the Aotearoa sun. In this edition, we'd like to share some exciting updates from us, our portfolio and our Village as a whole and wrap up an incredibly eventful January!
Portfolio company updates
We are incredibly excited to announce our investment in Scannable. Scannable aims to be the gold standard of safety equipment data, starting first with height safety.
We first met Robert Stirling and Gene Dower in early 2021 and were incredibly impressed with the audacity of their vision and how Scannable aims to innovate in an industry that has not seen digitisation in years.
A giant market to solve, a vision for the future that not only entails industry innovation but environmental sustainability, and bold founders who have the right pedigree behind them.
Currently, Segna is well and truly acclimating to their Y-Combinator Winter 2022 program. They started the program in early January 2022 and are off to the races as we speak!
Segna makes it easy for product and engineering teams to onboard data into their product. They do this by providing a powerful, yet fast platform that can handle data in a range of formats and at any size, with uncompromising data cleaning and wrangling capabilities.
Deploying Segna is as simple as an import button in your application. You can also build a branded experience for your users that is fast and seamless.
Yabble is excited to announce their use of artificial intelligence research laboratory OpenAI's GPT-3 neural network to run "Hey Yabble", their world-leading AI-powered insights generator.
If you are looking to extract valuable insights into your own customers in a incredibly fast and accurate way, get in touch with the Yabble team at firstname.lastname@example.org
After bringing on Chief Strategy Officer, Mieszko and Chief Operating Officer, Danie who is based in the U.S, Mobli are aggressively expanding to build the best team to make their vision come to reality. Recently, they have also brought on some amazing and talented individuals to add to their ranks:
Mark Gilbert as Chair of the board
Mark has deep experience in the automotive, transport, and clean energy industries. Mark joined the board in October 2021 and his leadership will put Mobli in excellent stead as they expand their horizons in 2022.
Mark also chairs Transport Minister Michael Wood’s 'Clean Car Sector Leadership Group’, Auto Stewardship New Zealand Trust (a Product Stewardship Organisation), Bragato Research Institute and Drive Electric NZ; as well as being an independent director of PlantTech Research Institute, and Evnex, a leading manufacturer and installer of smart electric vehicle chargers. He is a former director of Auckland Transport, as well as former managing director of BMW Group New Zealand.
Duncan Chae as their first Product Manager
Duncan comes from an extensive background in SaaS and managing different digital, cloud solutions across multiple industries.
Duncan will be responsible for shaping and managing Mobli's suite of mobility management products as they scale. Duncan joins Mobli from Genesis Energy, where he was a Product Owner looking after Data Platform Products. Before that, he was a Product Manager for Transport Technology and the Waka Kotahi (NZ Transport Agency). He brings deep experience beyond transportation too, having been a 'product guy' in many countries and industries around the Pacific.
James Datson as their Chief Revenue Officer
James is another international hire for Mobli Being based in the United Kingdom, James wil head up Mobli's revenue and sales efforts in the European region and play a pivotal role in driving more global business and strategic partnerships for Mobli.
Before joining Mobli, James held roles at Connected Places Catapult, heading out their Government relations. He is also on the board at MaaS Alliance, a public-private partnership creating the foundations for a common approach to MaaS, unlocking the economies of scale needed for successful implementation and take-up of MaaS in Europe and beyond.
Melissa Estrada Celis as Office & Project Coordinator
Melissa joins the Mobli team in Auckland as Office and Project Coordinator. She has a background in finance, with a postgraduate diploma in business and management, and spent five years building experience in administration and accounting in the real estate and education industries before joining Mobli to tackle mobility.
Partly have made some major and exciting changes in their "PartsPal" product recently. As a reminder, Partly aim to be the gold standard of auto parts fitment data globally. They have already secured deals with eBay and other large marketplaces to use their PartsPal product and Partly API.
This last month, Partly have made several updates and improvements to their product such as:
New Product dashboards
Updated Vehicle selectors; and
The ability to cross-reference fitment data
Portfolio company job openings
Last week, New Zealand saw its biggest increase in inflation in 31 years—up 5.9% from last year. This is going to have an effect on startups.
Caused by a multitude of factors from the cost of managing pandemic and rising construction costs (+6.8%) to higher rents (+3.8%) and skyrocketing prices at the pump (+30%), prices are increasing and yet are not matched with proportionally increased pay packets.
With higher inflation occurring on a global scale, some financial prognosticators have suggested that rising inflation is the greatest risk facing startups in 2022.
With this in mind, here are some thoughts on how this new environment might impact startups, founders and your employees; and what can you do to help manage and alleviate the effects.
According to a recent Datagen survey, 99% of startups reported having had a machine learning project wholly cancelled due to insufficient training data. As an ML-focused fund, this is a considerable risk for early-stage companies pursuing AI business models. This is also why we are deeply curious about digital twin and synthetic data generation software.
We thought we would share some of our musings on artificial data, building digital twins, video game engines and how they may all help democratise the development and advancement of machine learning.
If this isn't your cup of tea, maybe head to the end of the article and check out what happened when we asked an AI platform to create a piece of art using the words "New+Zealand". It also created the image for this article from "synthetic+data". Cool stuff.
P.S. If you are an entrepreneur and pursuing a business model in this space, please do not hesitate to hit us up for a connection and a coffee - email@example.com
When you have taken capital from an investor, they want updates on how their investment is going. Therefore, this Twitter thread of all things is a very useful resource on tips to create a killer investor update. Here is a brief summary of the thread:
Send updates to EVERYONE on your cap table and ANYONE who you WANT on your cap table.
Do not be afraid to show progress (or lack of) on your venture. Investors like to see the good and bad (and it cannot all be good).
Add in a section for "Asks". Your investors are your investors for a reason. Ask them for some help too!
Revenue - runway - highlights/lowlights - asks.
Be CONSISTENT with sending updates. These updates do not have to be a mini-thesis. Event bullet points are great.
Read of the month
As avid players of all sorts of video games, we highly respect the craft and effort it takes to develop an amazing game. As we are also now investors in gaming studios, this is a book that stands the test of time on the complexity and darker side of game development that is also akin to the startup journey.
Podcast of the month
Origins is a podcast about Limited Partners, the firms and institutions that invest in venture capital funds. Through a series of interviews, they explore what has historically been an opaque corner of the startup ecosystem and learn how the people behind the capital make decisions. This podcast was created by Alex Lines and Nick Chirls, partners at Notation.
Startup News & Trends
As heavy investors into enterprise technology, this resource is a goldmine for any developer-centric founder looking to build a framework on enterprise sales and building your sales team. Alyson Welch, VP of Enterprise Sales and Twilio details enterprise sales in a 4-step framework:
First Sales hire
Scaling the team
Multi-faceted Sales organisation
The pandemic has exposed to us first-hand how sensitive our supply chain environment is. Blocked routes, shipment delays, lack of transparency or traceability. These are just some of the core issues present in today's supply chains. However, we are seeing more supply chain and logistics startups now more than ever. This article explores the issues we face with supply chains and how we are rapidly moving to digitisation in this space.
Deals for Human resource technology has soured over the last year. This is mainly due to the increasing demand for diversity in the workplace, but also the inherent need for remote work now due to the pandemic.
As the pandemic wages on, money is being allocated anywhere and everywhere. However, one particular asset class trumps in sheer returns - start-up investing. This article depicts how this year could possibly be a giant year for startup funding, diversity of investments and return profiles. Watch this space. If you are interested in investing in start-ups or VC funds, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Markets have slowed and tech stocks have taken massive hits (AKA Meta). Although some articles have touted the rise in capital being pumped into venture capital, there is also more work and rationalisation happening now that markets have slowed. This opinion piece argues that while markets slow, more strict criteria will need to be met for funding. If you are a start-up founder, these are some of (but are not limited to) the things you should be mindful of:
Investors ask far more questions and go into deeper due diligence.
Valuations coming back down to earth.
Rounds take longer to close than before.
To ensure you are lean and managing capital efficiently during this time.