Village News - November 2022

Welcome to the final 2022 issue of the Hillfarrance Village News! In this issue, we announce our latest investment, give a recap of the portfolio portfolio in November and provide your usual dose of monthly updates!

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Welcome to the final 2022 issue of the Hillfarrance Village News! In this issue, we announce our latest investment, give a recap of the portfolio in November and provide your usual dose of monthly updates! Closing off the year with a bang!

What we've been up to


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It's fair to say that this year has been one of the most interesting times for startup investment in recent years. We had the frothy highs of 2021, followed by a sharp decline in investment and economic growth in 2022. However, we remain optimistic. We truly believe that technology startups will be the catalyst for long-term economic growth in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and we're excited to have supported (and will continue supporting) some awesome companies since we launched in 2020.

Here's a little summary of our 2022 year-to-date as Hillfarrance:

  • We made 5 new investments and 5 follow-on investments.

  • We now have a total portfolio of 17 startups!

  • 150+ technology jobs have been created as part of our investments.

  • We're just about to have a final close on our first fund.

Thank you to all of you who religiously follow our Village News and support the Hillfarrance Village. We wouldn't be here without you.


Portfolio company updates


The Frontend & Integration layer for Headless CMS's

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It is an absolute pleasure to announce that we've partnered with Jon Beattie & Anna Dao from Octana to lead their $1.5m Pre-seed round!

Octana is a B2B SaaS Startup based in beautiful Queenstown that provides the front-end & integration layer for Headless Content Management Systems. This allows any organisation to build beautiful, highly scalable and secure websites in days/weeks, not months!

We have come a long way since we first sat down and had Pho 🍜 with Anna Dao, and we couldn't be more excited to be a small part of their journey to disrupt the way websites are built!

You can read more about our investment announcement here.

Read about why we invested in Octana here

Next-generation VFX & Animation

In our experience, significant startup ecosystems emerge when those finding success invest back into the community they originated from. We are excited to invest in and support one such programme - The Floating Rock Pitchfest.

Launched and announced at a very cool private event in Wellywood, we are looking for creatives and artists to present to us their ideas and, if selected, to receive just over $100k to bring them to life. You will be supported along the way by the Floating Rock Studio family and their wealth of experience.

So, if you are a talented artist with an idea for a game or content, we would love for you to apply.

We have already had one concept complete the process, and the evolution has been astounding. We can’t wait to share more about it with you soon.

Check out the below for more information.

Read more about Floating Rock's pitchfest here

Pre-historic action-adventure game

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Welcome to one of the first very early in-game shots of the world of Instinction. There are a whole lot of nuggets and clues to the game’s narrative in this grab, and you can expect much more in the weeks to come.

It's #WishlistWednesday and we know you want more dinosaurs - so we thought we'd share early tests of the Zuul crurivastator! Wishlist Instinction: #gamedev #indiedev #indiegame #WishlistWednesday #dinosaurs #DinoZuul #ankylosaurus #paleontologyβ€” Instinction, Prehistoric Action-Adventure (@InstinctionGame) November 30, 2022

Checkout their Steam page here to wishlist

The world's first safety data supply chain

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We can attribute some of the earliest and best wins in our career to some kick-arse, slightly cheeky guerrilla marketing. It was often low-cost, highly targeted and intensely measurable.

We love seeing Rob Stirling and the team at Scannable taking up the mantle at a recent conference in Colorado, following some excellent advice from one of our LPs.

Bolster is the Shopify for Enterprise data and allows operators to find the data they want, when they want, on any device they want.

Most of the world's trade is transported across our oceans, about 90%. Getting products from farms and factories to retail outlets and our homes means shipping is vital for global trade and economic development. So, it's not surprising that it's also a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Every year, container ships release approximately 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air, about 3% of all greenhouse gas emissions. The requirement to quantify and report emissions associated with import/export is coming, so Bolster's CTO, Steffen Merten, has provided an early look at our in-app carbon calculator in a container shipping use case.

They also plan to host this widget for free on our website in the coming weeks.

Know anyone that would be keen to test it out? Direct them here.

Revolutionizing the world of insights with game-changing AI products

Yabble's new Summarize Product.

Announcing the launch of Yabble's newest AI tool: Summarize!

An insights market first, Summarize generates meaningful and accurate insights summaries from long-form data such as interviews, podcasts, and sales calls with unprecedented speed (we're talking minutes, not hours).

Forget painstakingly reading through transcripts, sifting through notes, and inefficiently collaborating with teams. Summarize it and free your mind to apply human insight!

Learn more about Yabble Summarize here

Connecting the world's parts

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Partly's newest team members from left to right: Graham, Rachel, Vincent, Leo & Claudia

Introducing the new additions to the Partly team! Partly have just onboarded four bright interns (left image) for the next 3 months as Software Engineering and Data Science Interns.

Also, please give a warm welcome to Claudia, Partly's new Customer Success Director! Claudia has previous experience at leading technology companies like Vesta and brings extensive expertise to the team. We have no doubt that her valuable experience will raise the bar of our customer experience at Partly.

Deep cooperative gaming

Hey friends - lately we've been working on ambience. What do you think? πŸ€” Sound: ON πŸ”Š#screenshotsaturday #gamedev #indieβ€” Space Rock Games (@SpaceRockNZ) December 3, 2022

The Space Rock team have just released the 1st sneak peek of real gameplay mixed with some awesome ambient audio. Well done, team!


Portfolio company career opportunities


Auckland, New Zealand




Matt Mochary has been CEO coach to Naval, the founders of OpenAI, Notion, Rippling, Robinhood, Coinbase, Reddit, Plaid, Flexport, Opendoor, partners at Sequoia, YC, Benchmark, and many other incredible leaders.

He also open-sourced his entire curriculum, templates and all.

Access the full curriculum here


Read of the month


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This book is about the unification of knowledge, where the author argues that much of science is an advance to reductionism and that many of the vexing problems in our world will require combining different disciplines together to try to solve these problems.

Listen of the month

Oana is a Partner at SignalFire, an early-stage venture capital fund. Originally from Romania driving tanks, she gives a very refreshing view of being an investor with a truly founder-first operating system.

Startup News & Trends


Patrick Campbell is the Founder of Profitwell, a fully bootstrapped startup that sold to Paddle for $200m. In this Twitter thread of his, he analyses revenue data from 27k+ companies and predicts how bad this recessionary period will be. In summary:

  • Consumer spending will tank

  • B2B revenue growth is slowing down & SaaS churn is increasing

The best ways for companies to survive are to:

  1. Attack costs;

  2. Shore up customers;

  3. Accelerate cross-sell;

  4. Nuke current segments;

  5. Retool geographies; and

  6. Slash discounts.

As a brief summary, FTX was one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges globally behind Binance. The month has been a series of unravellings of fraud, theft and deceit. However, one thing that we wanted to highlight was the relationship between investor and investee (see article here).

FTX raised over $1b from Venture capital firms and other institutional investors, yet governance was non-existent and severely lacking - no board of directors, audits or accountability.

We just wanted to say that we all must hold ourselves accountable as investors and fiduciaries. A scandal like this should not have been able to implode the way it did without getting caught earlier.

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Jamin Ball, a Partner at Altimeter Capital, recently wrote a research article on public enterprise software valuations. The graph above really shows the exuberance we faced in the 2021/early 2022 markets, with revenue multiples skyrocketing.

Jamin also sums up the overall stats on enterprise software valuation multiples as follows:

  • Overall Median: 5.1x

  • Top 5 Median: 13.2x

  • 10Y: 3.5%

We expect to see valuations mellow in the coming year and return to pre-2020 levels.

The next period is expected to have adverse effects on startups that are not doing well financially. Two of the options they may have if they cannot seek more funding are:

  1. To liquidate and go out of business; or

  2. To be acquired for a fraction of their current/latest valuation (Firesale).

This article by Pitchbook is a good source for learning more about the M&A activity we might see trending upward next year.


Notable start-up exits


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Want to get in touch about your startup? Reach out to us at