Village News – May 2023


Welcome to the May 2023 recap of the Hillfarrance Village News!

Lots of exciting news this month.

Keep reading for more👇

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What we've been up to


AIP Approved


We are delighted to confirm that Hilfarrance Fund II is now an approved investment vehicle for Active Investor Plus Visa applicants. We have come a long since arriving on these shores almost four years ago and laying the foundations for a next-generation, top-quartile performing VC firm. This wonderful country and its people have given us incredible opportunities, and we are proud to be a New Zealand business. Accompanying our AIP offering, we have joined the prestigious list of NZ companies that can add the iconic Fernmark to our corporate identity. Sweet as 😉

Huddle & Hustle Event


It’s been a wee while since Hillfarrance Venture Capital last hosted a good old networking event. So, we thought we would come back with a bang with our Huddle & Hustle startup mixer, taking place on 21st of June at The Generator, Britomart Auckland. We will also be welcoming a new member of our team, who you will all want to meet.

If you want to get on the invite list, send us a note via our website:

Founders, investors, service providers and even politicians (😉) are welcome. All we ask is you come with some good stories and a snappy elevator intro.

We might even have some super rare HF swag to give out 🤫

Get in quick, as we're almost at capacity.


Portfolio company updates


Octana x Contentful

We are absolutely stoked to receive the great news that Octana is now listed on Contentful’s marketplace with their Contentful App! Contentful service 31% of Fortune 500 companies of which can now choose to use Octana as their front end of choice for building, maintaining & editing enterprise-grade websites. Octana gives marketers the tools they need to harness the power of Contentful without waiting for developers and designers. It's everything an enterprise needs to create beautiful web experiences on Contentful. Key Features:

  1. Developer-free content creation using our toolbox of customizable content components.

  2. Craft consistent content with grab-and-go design assets.

  3. Endless enterprise integrations to create data-driven experiences. 

  4. Click-to-edit interface for easy content updates.

This a huge achievement from the team, and there’s a lot more to come 🚀

Book a demo with Octana here
Naut | May 2023 update


This month, the team at Naut hosted the recently established Northland Manufacturing Action Group to discuss their key role in shaping the growth and transformation of the advanced manufacturing sector, supporting manufacturers to realise their aspirations in the sector and supporting the Industry Transformation Plan to realise the vision for a thriving Aotearoa New Zealand.

Partly 30 forbes

A big shoutout to Levi & Nathan from Partly, who were recently included in Forbes 30 under 30 Asia for 2023!

Partly On Deck

Partly was also recognized by On Deck as one of the top companies of 2023, alongside some industry-changing startups like FinchSettle and Primer.

Yabble team | IIeX North America

The Yabble team recently went to Greenbook's IIeX North America 2023 conference up in Austin, Texas. Yabble got to showcase Yabble's game-changing products in front of industry visionaries and brand leaders.

There were also 3 core topics on everyone's minds there:

  1. Driving Business Intelligence with Minimal Obstacles

  2. Unlocking New Perspectives and Driving Innovation Forward; and

  3. How ChatGPT was on everyone’s lips & how the industry can adopt it.

Click here to learn more about Yabble's trip to IIeX North America 2023.

Scannable & Redwing

Redwing Company and Logging Supply have been a key part of bringing Scannable's rope traceability solutions to the US market. Redwing uses Scannable to individually serialise the cut and spliced lengths of rope they sell—traceable back to the original spool—which means the end user can easily track and access the rope's paperwork and technical specifications digitally. There are few people who have sold as much rope into the arb industry in America in the last five years as Redwing's Joshua Anderson, who has been an integral player in getting Redwing and Scannable working together. Their reseller partnerships are really important to us. Working with Josh and the team at Redwing has been an exciting part of Scannable's journey so far.

Recently, we welcomed Adli as IGC's new Machine Learning Researcher & Kade as IGC's new additive manufacturing engineer!

IGC is pushing the boundaries of what generative AI can do for the convergence of the digital & physical worlds in gaming, and both of these new members will be a core part of making that happen.

It's been a big month for the Floaties; from hosting their 2nd ever-Pitchfest to planning their trip to the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, to creating some epic internal IP, Floating Rock Studio is on fire right now!

Checkout SRG's updated in-game environment!


The very first gameplay reveal for Hashbane Interactive’s Instinction was unveiled during the GamesRadar Future Games Show Summer Showcase! You can check out the trailer above. Also announced was our Playtest, which will be available via Steam shortly. You can be the first to know by adding Instinction to your Steam Wishlist here:

Exceptional work, Jade, Courtney and the rest of the Hashbane crew


Portfolio company career opportunities






Following Apple's long overdue announcement of its VisionPro headset, we thought we would take a walk down VR/AR memory lane and discuss what went wrong and how this new product might rewrite the future.

Read more here


Selling Shovels | Hero

"During a gold rush, sell shovels." We've seen the example of this time and time again, but more recently, that's in the form of the AI revolution, and NVIDIA is evidence of this with their market cap surpassing $1 trillion earlier this week. However, for both investor's and founder's sake, I think we need to realise that, unlike the shovellers panning for gold back in the 19th century who barely profited compared with the companies who sold them shovels & jeans, the shovellers of this day and age have arguably created just as much value as the shovel sellers in aggregate. If you want to read more about our observations, you can find them below:

Click here to read more


Read of the month

ML: A brave new world | Article

As A.I. & Machine Learning investors, we're always cognizant of the many barriers to entry & moats that an AI company can develop.

High-performance computing (HPC) is a huge part of AI companies, especially in generative AI. The below report by Deloitte delves into the economics of HPC and how this affects AI companies that are training their own models.

Read the full report here


Listen of the month


Publishing is a huge part of video game distribution. In this podcast episode, Mitch Lasky & Blake Robbins dive into the history of publishing games and how this has changed over time with the explosion of platform publishing becoming the dominant force.

Startup News & Trends


Tomasz Tunguz is a General Partner at Theory, a venture capital firm in The U.S.

He recently posted an article about the four main questions a founder should be asking themself about whether they should build a startup that uses generative AI. These were:

  1. Layer: Will you be an application, platform, or infrastructure?

  2. Market: How to compete with incumbents? Startups have negative time to launch in many markets, with Adobe, Microsoft, & Salesforce launching Gen AI-enabled software in weeks.

  3. Moat: How to develop a competitive advantage? Competing on algorithms is possible but hard. Access to proprietary data provides a moat. Usage & distribution, like in classical SaaS, are likely the most sustainable & repeatable. Enterprise readiness will be essential: ensuring buyers are safe from legal & compliance risks.

  4. AI Depth: what level of technical sophistication to bring into the company? Startups can integrate with a plug-in, build a prompt-tuning engine (a little model on top of a bigger model), or develop & train their own models. Each subsequent choice is more expensive but provides a deeper moat.

VC Platform study

VC Platform is a community of Platform team members in respective VC firms. The organisation recently conducted a study of 850 VC firms from 2000 - 2022 to measure the impact that Platform roles have on VC returns.

Here are the two key findings:

  1. The Platform Function has professionalized, with over half of venture firms today having a Moderate or Significant platform team, nearly doubling in prevalence over the last two decades.

  2. Firms with Significant Platform produced 1,100 basis point improvements in Net IRR and 0.5x TVPI compared to firms with No Platform in the last decade.

Sequoia breakup

One of the most well-known Venture Capital firms, Sequoia Capital, is splitting into three, which is big news for their global strategy.

Sequoia is now split into three separate venture funds:

  1. Sequoia Capital - which will be named the same and will be based in the U.S.

  2. Hongshan - Which was Sequoia's China office.

  3. Peak XV Partners - Which was Sequoia's India office.

The three investment heads of each fund said the decision to split up Sequoia’s global brand was a gradual discussion that intensified over the last several months. They cited conflict between the funds’ respective startup portfolios, brand confusion as they diverged in strategies and increasing complexity of maintaining centralized regulatory compliance as factors — while acknowledging, but attempting to downplay — a frostier geopolitical environment.

Pitchbook recently posted a study on US female founders and how they have gotten funded over the years. Here are the highlights:

  • In 2023 so far, 18.7% of VC capital went into companies that had a female co-founded, while only 2.1% of capital went into female-founded companies.

  • The largest industries of investment into female founders were in Angel/Seed stage Software companies.

  • Female Co-founded companies were more than two-thirds more common than only female-founded companies over a historical 15-year period.


Notable start-up exits





Acquired for

Acquired by


New York

GIF search engine

$53 million



Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland

Institutional digital asset management

$250 million


Snackable AI

New York

Content discovery engine



Embark Trucks

San Francisco, California

Self-driving technology for freight & logistics

$71 million

Applied Intuition



Global Seed Funding





Amount raised

Invested by

Contextual AI


LLM for generative AI in the workplace

$20 million

Led by Bain Capital


Bangalore, India

Cross-border payments infrastructure

$10.2 million

Led by Squarepeg Capital


Vancouver, Canada

Web-based AI agent

$2 million

Led by Google Ventures


Palo Alto, California

Customer communication platform

$5 million

Led by First Round Capital


Aotearoa Funding





Amount raised

Invested by


Auckland, NZ

Procurement management software

$2.2 million Seed round

Led by Blackbird

Building something awesome? Let's get in touch.

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