Village News – August 2021

Alex Dam

Kia Kaha.

With Aotearoa in Level Four Lockdown again, we hope all of our fellow villagers and brethren are staying safe and healthy during this time.

Portfolio Company Updates


We are incredibly stoked to announce that Yabble has raised a $3.2 million Seed extension round led by us! This raise aims to supercharge their product development and expansion into the world’s largest research market, The United States. Joining us in the oversubscribed $3.2m extension round are our colleagues at MovacNZ Growth Capital Partners and all of the other existing members of the cap table.

Their hero product, “Hey Yabble”, a category-creating, deep learning- centred product, is the world’s first automated customer insights platform. Already taking NZ and the US by storm, Hey Yabble takes a brand’s data and tells them how customers feel about their products and services in remarkable detail and almost real-time.

Founder and CEO, Kathryn Topp, also recently appeared on the Morgo podcast to talk about her startup story, including the ups and downs of the journey from her experience.


Partly are continuing to make headwinds, having almost closed their seed extension round with participation from Hillfarrance. Most recently, they published a blog on how to create an online auto parts store using auto part inventory software.

Compostic (Scout Portfolio)

Have been fortunate enough to work with the team at Eat My Lunch to provide resealable bags for lunches that will be distributed to the many schools in Aotearoa. Jon Reed and the team are continuing to make strides to tackle the global issue of plastic pollution.

Well Revolution (Scout Portfolio)

Well Revolution is a secure platform that simplifies primary care by connecting consumers with their doctor, other health providers and pharmacies in one simple mobile application. It removes the strict need for appointments by connecting consumers directly with a doctor via chat at the touch of a button.

A new platform & app was released in August and the first network of clinics is being built out with their first primary care partner across 25+ clinics and 100k+ registered patients.

In the 12 months to August this year, membership grew 5x (13% CMGR) and revenue grew 9x (20% CMGR).

Portfolio Job Openings

Yabble is on the hunt for:

Auckland, NZ

Partly is on the hunt for:

Christchurch, NZ

Warsaw, Poland

Compostic is on the hunt for:

Auckland, NZ

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


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


We are stoked that our managing partner, Rob, was privileged enough to be featured amongst such icons and luminaries of the New Zealand gaming sector in the New Zealand Herald’s Top 20 most influential people in gaming. One thing to note is that is a list of mostly dudes – let’s do better to recognise more of the awesome wāhine in our industry too.

Talking broadly, we have a wealth of talent in NZ that are not falsely allured by hygiene factor tax breaks and instead are driven to a greater calling to grow and evolve our burgeoning gaming sector.

Introducing our newest Scout

We are excited to announce the newest member of our Scout Programme, Alex McCall!

Alex is a prolific entrepreneur and has already built several startups and worked across the globe since the beginning of his career. With a passion for human-centred product design principles and technology solving the big problems that matter to the health of our soil, he is excited to receive your pitches. Based in Tauranga, but with an extensive network across the Southern Hemisphere, we are delighted that Alex has joined our Village and supporting early-stage Kiwi founders to reach new heights in their potential.

We are expanding our scout programme this year to include up to 20 new spots and we would love to hear from any of you who might be interested. Email if you have any questions.


Introducing our new Discord Server – The Hearth!

Hillfarrance is a village. Part of that village is the amazing startup ecosystem in Aotearoa. We thought to create a warm, friendly, ego-free space for startup founders, potential founders and even investors to congregate and have meaningful discussions. With over 200 members and growing after the first 12 hours of going live, we hope to make this an active, engaged community for everyone at every stage in their journey.

Why VC’s do not sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs)

One thing that has come up numerous times as of late is founder’s asking us to sign NDAs. While we understand that you have an awesome idea, business or creation that you want to protect, this is just not possible for VC’s to do. To justify, we have written a short article on this topic so that you understand from our point of view.

Four reasons why co-founders leave

An excellent resource from Jennifer Wold, Partner at Initialized Capital detailing the four main reasons why co-founders leave and how unresolved conflict fuels this. In summary, these are the four reasons:

  1. The co-founder’s skills are not scaling rapidly enough
  2. Co-founder is burnt out
  3. Performance – can they actually do the specific job that they were brought on for?
  4. Compensation

How to find the right co-founder

Podcast Of The Month

Masters Of Scale

Hosted by the co-founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, Masters Of Scale is a podcast about theories on how successful businesses scale. These theories are then tested on the guests that he brings onto the podcasts, who are a myriad of successful business people, thought leaders and more.

Book Of The Month

A Vietnam Experience: Ten Years Of Reflection

The decade that followed James Stockdale’s seven and a half years in a North Vietnamese prison saw his life take a number of different turns, from a stay in a navy hospital in San Diego to the president of a civilian college to his appointment as a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution. In this collection of essays, he offers his thoughts on his imprisonment. Describing the horrors of his treatment as a prisoner of war, Stockdale tells how he discovered firsthand the capabilities and limitations of the human spirit in such a situation. 

There is no better book to read at a time like this when Aotearoa once again goes into Lockdown. The coined term, Stockdale Paradox, tells us to maintain faith in the future, but confront the current reality of things.

Startup/VC News & Trends

Female founders raised significantly higher venture capital this year than any other point in the last decade

We are elated to see this news from Pitchbook. There is some amazing wahine (woman) out there doing some awesome things. Female founded and co-founded startups have raised over $25billion so far this year. We are proud to also have funded some amazing female founders such as Kathryn and Rachel from Yabble and Sasha from Well Revolution to name a few.

The rise in supply chain tech

Supply chain tech has grown in VC investment this year, up almost 32% from last year. This report shows how innovation has been spurred through the pandemic and startups have emerged to tackle these problems.

Remote work is here to stay

Again, the pandemic has created talent shortages. This article briefly sums up that remote work is here to stay post-pandemic, with talent being acquired remotely, less operating expenditure being spent on rent and office space, and finally, reduction of costs.

Virtual data rooms: What are they and why you should have one

With every fundraise that you do, there will be due diligence (DD) conducted on you and your startup. A virtual data room is a secure place online where you can store sensitive documents, financial projections, historical business performance and more. Investors review such documents in the data room to understand your business, make sure you say who you are, make sure you are legit and more. This article by Initialized Capital perfectly sums up virtual data rooms but in summary, these are the essentials to have in the data room:

  • Company Overview and pitch deck
  • Financials such as your operating model, revenue and cost projections, historical and projected income statement (annual, quarterly and monthly.)
  • Market data that explains and justifies your potential market size and competitors (including competitor analysis)
  • Your team and their roles within your startup
  • A current cap table of your startup

Y Combinator’s tips for lockdown

More than ever right now, we want to make sure NZ startups mitigating the effects of this lockdown as much as possible. Below is an awesome video giving some tips dealing with the pandemic and lockdown:

Notable Exits


Global Seed Funding

NZ Funding


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