Village News – November 2021

Welcome to the November 2021 edition of Hillfarrance Venture Capital's Village News! In this issue, we provide portfolio company updates (including some exciting news about one of our portfolio companies being accepted into Y-Combinator!) within our portfolio companies, some new resources we have provided, and general start-up news for your viewing pleasure.

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Welcome to the November 2021 edition of Hillfarrance Venture Capital's Village News! In this issue, we provide portfolio company updates (including some exciting news about one of our portfolio companies being accepted into Y-Combinator!) within our portfolio companies, some new resources we have provided, and general start-up news for your viewing pleasure.

Portfolio company updates

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We are incredibly proud and excited that our newest portfolio company, Segna has been accepted into the W22 Cohort of Y-Combinator! Y-Combinator is one of the most prestigious and widely-recognised startup accelerators in the world who has helped produce some of the most well known startups including Dropbox, Airbnb, Instacart, etc.

This is a huge achievement for a kiwi startup where only three (including Segna) kiwi startups have ever been accepted into this accelerator. If this was not enough already, Y-Combinator has an admission rate of roughly 1-2% every cohort.

We are thrilled to see how Will & Aryan grow throughout this program and take Segna to the next level! Watch Will chat about getting into YC and his previous startup experience down below:

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Well done to Nathan Taylor, Levi Fawcett, Mark Song and Evan Jia on their new partnership with eBay Australia to offer Partly products to the thousands of eBay auto parts sellers in the Australian region.

Learn more about the Partnership here

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After their massive oversubscribed seed round, Mobli has been steadily acquiring some of the best talents around Aotearoa and beyond. One of which is Danie Beukman, Mobli's new COO!

Danie has held various roles, mainly in the Government space and brings his deep expertise in strategic advisory and navigating the parallels of startups and government. Most recently, Danie was a Director of Kibo Global, a strategic advisory firm that advises startups to solve problems at the intersection of government, technology and business strategy. He was also the Chief of Staff at a stealth startup, an advisor to Vault platform and a member of the US Advisory Board for NZUS Council. Previously, he was also the Head of Global Government Relations for Cruise, an autonomous vehicle startup based in Silicon Valley.

Read more about Danie here

Hard at work as always, the Yabble team are excited to announce their new website! Additionally, checkout what CX & Insights Manager at Sky NZ has got to say about Yabble's A.I product, "Hey Yabble".

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If you want to check out their new website, check it out down below.

Visit Yabble's new website

Also, a big shout out to Muhammad Lambat, who has been helping the Yabble team out with a special project of theirs.

Portfolio company job openings

Auckland, New Zealand


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Six months ago, we decided to give 20% of our share of our returns (carried interest) to the founders of our portfolio companies. In essence, our founders are all investors in each other. They also have a common purpose—shared success.

Find out more about Collaborative Carry here

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Engaging a personal development coach can be a truly transformative experience. Here are some ideas on what we think "good" looks like.

Read here

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Being able to weave te ao Māori (Māori worldview) into your Mahi and organisation, and this being embraced and adopted by your business partners is a commitment that may not be the norm within the venture capital sector here in Aotearoa or globally.

Te Anga Whakamaioha – Investing in people

Thanks to Aisha Ross, General Partner of Hillfarrance, we’ve implemented Te Anga Whakamaioha. This is an approach and framework built with a Māori worldview to enhance the way we evaluate founders and their ventures in the DD process.

We regard Aisha’s article below as a significant step forward for the art and science of venture capital and startup investing in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Small steps make big strides – He Waka Eke Noa

Read here

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After two years in business already, Rob, our Managing Partner sat down by himself and drafted up the first iteration of our Hillfarrance Values. We came our with these three words that bring the Hillfarrance ethos to life:

  1. Growth.

  2. Curiosity.

  3. Conviction.

Read our full set of values here

Read of the month

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How to raise money

Incredibly detailed and sage advice for entrepreneurs on how to raise venture money by super angel Paul Graham. However, it is also extremely useful for aspiring VCs as it points out what makes a VC attractive or unattractive. It exposes some venture capitalists’ strategies on negotiation and getting into deals.

Podcast of the month

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How I built this with Guy Raz

Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world's best-known companies and some of the best-known founders.

Startup News & Trends

Capital is only one part of what venture capital can bring you. There are many other things that venture capital funds should do to add more value to you as a founder. This article perfectly highlights the other things that you should consider when looking for investors. In summary, these can be, but are not limited to:

  • Help with scaling into new markets

  • Access to knowledge and R&D resources

  • Far-reaching brand recognition

This article by Zetta Venture Partners is a perfect read to sum up market validation from customers on your A.I first product and company. A.I first companies are inherently different to traditional software because they sell predictions as a product, rather than workflow. Below are the 3 things that you will need to check as an A.I first start-up:

  • Is your A.I socially acceptable to the current market?

  • Are the predictions that your A.I make better solutions than the current non-A.I solutions?

  • Will the cost of rolling out your A.I kill your start-up?

All across the world, we are seeing a talent crunch, and especially here in Aotearoa. Start-ups here are fighting for talent and it is getting increasingly difficult to attract talent to your respective start-up. This resource gives you some advice from Hiring managers on how to attract, engage and retain talent. Here are some of the questions that they touch on:

  • Why do we see a sudden surge in resignations in Engineering and IT jobs across the world?

  • How has branding become a successful recruitment strategy? Also, how has it worked wonders for your own brand?

  • What in your view are the advantages concerned with flexible/ Hybrid workplace?

  • How culture is a big driver of talent? what kind of culture have you been deploying within your organisational setup to attract talent?

  • How do you build a company culture that attracts and retains top talent?

  • What are some strategies to attract top-level talent to an organization?

This fantastic read is a good resource for understanding your Go-to-market strategy in-depth. G2M Strategy is all about marketing and sales and balancing the two to find out which one suits your business and products.

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Sales & Marketing are counterbalances and should be treated as such for a particular product or business that you are running. For example, let's use a B2B business within the Enterprise space. Marketing generally is not as effective as high-touch, domain-expertise'd salespeople. This is the nature of the product and market that you are in. Compare this with another B2B product like Notion, Airtable or Zapier and you will find that spending more on marketing for these products generates a better ROI.

Understanding the differences between sales and marketing is vital to the success of your G2M Strategy.

Let's take a step back and go back to this resource to refresh ourselves on product-led growth. As a reminder, this methodology deems that a product drives all parts of business growth - from user acquisition to conversion to retention, and all the way to sales and marketing.

Data regulations and privacy is a huge field of compliance for tech start-ups. This write-up aims to highlight the many questions one should consider with the data they are collecting/using/aggregating.

As an A.I-centric fund, we love investing in A.I (Most of our current portfolio are A.I-first start-ups) and thus, it is reassuring to see that exit returns from A.I start-ups have topped $166 billion this year. This report shows the growth of investments and exits for A.I startups and the growth of A.I's use cases across all business models and industries.

Notable start-up exits

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