Monthly Newsletter – July 2021

Alex Dam

In this month’s newsletter, we will be providing you with an update on some of our portfolio company openings, upcoming events, helpful resources and relevant VC/Startup news such as trends.


Portfolio company updates

Yabble

With the innovations they have managed to achieve with their new AI-powered customer insights tool, “Hey Yabble”, they are now oversubscribed for their next raise with Hillfarrance leading the round.


Kwotimation

Kwotimation is making significant headwinds in growing its customer base. Most recently, they partnered with Tile Depot, Aotearoa’s largest importer and retailer of tiles, to offer several events for Tilers to learn more about their products and provide demonstrations. Watch the video to learn more.


Mindful Muslim (Scout Portfolio)

Since launching in March 2020, Mindful Muslim has become the leading app for Islamic guided sleep talk down. They became the #5 trending app for health and fitness on the Google play store with over 4000+ reviews and an average rating of 4.8/5.


Portfolio job openings

Yabble is on the hunt for:

Auckland, NZ


Partly is on the hunt for:

Christchurch, NZ

Warsaw, Poland


As always, if you are a founder, we would love to hear from you and your start-up. Reach out to us at pitches@hillfarrance.com

OR

Get in contact with one of our scouts who are situated across Aotearoa, New Zealand.


Upcoming events

Hillfarrance Office Hours

The August instalment which is held at our humble office in Devonport will be Friday 6th August from 3 pm-5 pm. We have had a massive interest so far with July’s Office Hours being oversubscribed. We have also had some incredibly meaningful discussions about running, tackling and solving all sorts of issues regarding startups. The opportunity to connect with other founders who feel or have felt your pains is an incredible learning experience. If this is something that you would be interested in, you can sign-up for our next one down below:


Hillfarrance x University of Auckland Masterclass

We will be hosting monthly Masterclasses at The University of Auckland with our Venture Partner, Alexandre Veiga. Some of the topics that will be discussed in these masterclasses are:

  • Raising money as a start-up (Completed)
  • How to choose a co-founder and who to hire
  • What enterprise value is and how to build it
  • Business models for start-ups

We just recently hosted our first instalment, “Raising money as a startup” which was very well received!


Events featuring our Managing Partner, Rob Vickery

This Thursday 5th August at 2:30 pm in Wellington, Rob will be part of a panel discussion for the NZ Game Developers Conference (NZGDC). He will be speaking on the investing landscape of games and how Hillfarrance are positioned to help game developers go global.


We have spent the last twelve months providing content that brings clarity and transparency to the early startup venture capital market. From cap tables and boards to vetting investors and setting valuations, we shared knowledge that we believe levels the playing field for founders (you can find it all here).

On the 26th of August, at 8:30 am, Rob will be tying all of these chapters together in a new keynote presentation for the delegates of the Callaghan Innovation Southern SaaS 2021 conference. This will be an interactive presentation and will require plenty of input from the audience.


Electrify Aotearoa

Ready to Electrify Aotearoa?

Hear stories of grit and Kiwi ingenuity from women founders who have gone before you and learn from exclusive masterclasses with top investors to level up your startup experience.

From aspiring founders to experienced operators, Electrify Aotearoa invites the Kiwi startup community to take part and celebrate our homegrown diversity at this one-day event in Ōtautahi Christchurch this October.


Media

We are excited to announce that our friend, colleague and advisor, Aisha Ross, of Ngā Ruahine, Ngāti Ruanui, Te Atiawa, Taranaki, and Te Whakatohea descent, has joined the Hillfarrance Venture Capital whānau as our first General Partner!

Aisha is the former director of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, where he led a team focused on bringing innovations to market and was involved in establishing Ahikōmako | Igniting Māori Business Success – the Centre of Māori Innovation and Entrepreneurship and KOKIRI | Māori Startup Accelerator, a Māori technology accelerator focused on developing early-stage Māori technology ventures.

You can read more about Aisha’s entrance into our whānau in the National Business Review article below.


This year, Hillfarrance Venture Capital became the proud sponsor of the GirlBoss New Zealand Enterprise Award, which provides a $1,000 cash grant to a young entrepreneur with a winning business idea.

If you know any trailblazing young women who are defying stereotypes and inspiring change within their communities, please direct them to apply here:


Resources

Recent Hillfarrance resources

Both of these resources have free templates included so that you can download them and use them along your journey.


A guide for founders on being a high impact manager

As a founder and leader, you need to make sure you are empowering your team, especially at the early stage when it is incredibly important to have the right people by your side. This article provides some helpful tips on being a better manager.

The 7 overarching themes:

  1. Empower your team to act like an owner
  2. Be vulnerable and self-aware
  3. Turn into a trusted thought partner
  4. Lead with empathy – always
  5. Challenge folks with kindness
  6. Celebrate and up-level the small moments
  7. Keep an eye on long-term growth

The importance and power of the written word

As an example, you may be trying to cold reach potential investors or curating a pitch deck. Having the power to easily and effectively articulate your startup’s mission statement and problem/solution will work wonders if you want a reply back from investors. This is not a new finding or anything like that. Persuasive writing has been here for ages. However, we want to emphasize the need for it when you go out to seek funding, customers, advisors and the like. An article by first-round capital explains this very clearly and articulately.


Podcasts of the month

20 minute VC

Hosted by Harry Stebbings, this podcast is a deep dive into the world of Venture Capital, Start-up funding and Pitching. Each episode lets you discover how you can attain funding for your business by listening to what the most prominent investors are directly looking for in startups, providing easily actionable tips and tricks that can be put in place to increase your chances of getting funded.


Book of the month

Belonging – Owen Eastwood

“Belonging” contains numerous insights into successful – and less successful – teams. The author derives insights from this book from their experience working with elite sports teams on their culture, identity & story. Although drawn from experiences within the sports realm, these can be applied to any team. Maintaining a sense of belonging to a team with a common culture in the post-Covid era, when many will return to work on a hybrid basis (part in an office, half from home), will be a challenge – but more vital than ever. It’s humbling that we may strive towards it by relying on Maori ancient wisdom.


Startup/VC News & Trends

Why investors should back women-led startups

At Hillfarrance Venture Capital, we are incredibly proud to back some of the smartest and most inspiring female founders in Aotearoa, NZ. We’re proud to display that 60% of our portfolio company founders are women! We really enjoyed this article about backing more woman-led founders.


Choosing your North Star Metric (NSM)

This is an incredibly useful article for identifying and understanding your own startups north star metric (NSM). Some examples of a north star metric are:

  • Airbnb: Number of nights booked
  • Facebook: Number of monthly active users
  • Spotify: Time spent listening & number of paid subscribers
  • Coinbase: Revenue growth & Monthly transacting users

Additionally, this article provides a framework for you to refine your ideal metric. Finding your ideal NSM will help you focus on the things that are important and drive growth in your start-up.


How Superhuman, an email app that promises to deliver a faster email experience, found product-market fit (PMF)

Written by the Co-founder and CEO, Rahul Vohra, this article serves as also a framework for founders to use. Rahul provides an indicator of PMF that was inspired by Sean Ellis, who ran growth in the early stages of Dropbox, Eventbrite and others.

Additionally, this article also provides a 4-step manual for optimising PMF once you’ve found it. These being:

  1. Segment to find your supporters and paint a picture of your high-expectation customers.
  2. Analyze feedback to convert on-the-fence users into fanatics.
  3. Build your roadmap by doubling down on what users love and addressing what holds others back.
  4. Repeat the process and make the product/market fit to score the most important metric.

The metrics that you will need to raise a Series A

An awesome article by Initialized Capital on what are the metrics that you will need when raising a Series A. This will be incredibly handy for founders who are looking for certain KPIs that they can use to gauge whether or not they are ready to approach potential investors. They provide key metrics for three categories of startups:

  1. Software as a service
  2. Direct to customer
  3. Marketplace

World’s first Metaverse ETF?

The metaverse is a term coined by Neal Stephenson that describes the next evolution of the internet. The metaverse is described as a collective shared, virtual space where physical reality, virtual reality, augmented reality and the internet meet. Sounds very confusing but think of it as a virtual space where people can explore and interact with each other like in multiplayer games – but different. In this article, Roundhill Investments has created an exchange-traded fund (ETF), which is a pool of money from different investors, to invest in the Ball Metaverse Index. This index is basically a list of companies that have operations that are connected to the metaverse such as Nvidia, Unity and Tencent to name a few.


Instagram is not a photo-sharing app

Even enormous companies such as Instagram are still iterating to keep up with customer demand and trends. This article features Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, who explains that seeing success from video and entertainment platforms such as Youtube and Tik Tok has inspired the pivot into video, entertainment and digital experience.


Seeking Venture Capital funding as a gaming start-up

We love games. NZ Game Developers Association (NZGDA) reported total revenues of $324 million which is a massive jump from 2019’s $203 million total revenue. This in part was due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we think that this figure will continue to grow and as avid gamers ourselves, we want to invest in gaming. This resource is an excellent guide for game studios and developers to understand the landscape of Venture Capital, the parallels with gaming and how to seek funds from them, as opposed to seeking funds from a traditional publisher.


Y Combinator’s (YC) top companies of July 2021

A recent list that YC distributed publicly displaying the value of their portfolio companies, as well as the number of jobs these respective companies have created. What we found interesting was the sector breakdown of all these companies that were provided:

It is interesting to see that the vast majority of YC’s top companies are situated in Business-to-business software and services followed by Finance tech. This could be useful in understanding the position of your own company and which bucket yours fits in the foreseeable future.


Nontraditional Investors are more interested in Venture Capital than ever before

Nontraditional investors (NTIs) such as Private equity, mutual funds, hedge funds, corporations and family offices have taken a keener interest in venture capital and the returns it can generate. Pitchbook’s research has demonstrated that:

  • NTIs accounted for 77% of the US market’s VC deal value but also were beneficiaries of 95% of that year’s total exit (usually when a portfolio company is acquired or IPOs) value
  • NTIs who invested series B and later generated returns between 10-15%
  • NTIs usually invest in VC-backed startups at the later stages to reduce the time of illiquidity.

As a plug for all NTIs out there, we are closing our fund at the end of the year and would love to speak with you about becoming a Limited Partner in our fund. Reach us at rob@hillfarrance.com


Notable exits


Funding

Global Seed Funding


NZ Funding


Feedback

We’d love to hear what you think about this newsletter and how we could improve it!