Village news – June 2022

Alex Dam

Half way through 2022 and it’s been a blast! In this edition of our Village News, we announce that we’re hirng for a Head of Platform, we give some awesome updates from our portfolio, provide resources that we’ve been reading or writing and finally, share the recent news and trends we’ve been seeing.



We’re hiring a Head of Platform

Finding startups and cutting cheques is just the first chapter of the VC process at Hillfarrance Venture Capital. The real Mahi comes in after the investment is made and where we help our portfolio companies grow. Our exciting new Head of Platform role opening at HF is about just that.

We are looking for a rockstar who can:

🌱 Growth (Whakatupu) – Lead the development, expansion and refinement of our portfolio company service platform. From finding customer intros for our startups to designing best-practice playbooks, you will be supercharging our startups with opportunities to grow.

🧐 Curiosity (Manawa Reka) – You will be helping influence new investment theses, making startup investment recommendations, writing insightful content and developing proprietary deal flow for Hillfarrance.

🀝 Collaboration (Kotahitanga) – You will be working with other startup ecosystems, both domestic and international, like-minded industry partners and our own leadership team to help grow the Aotearoa New Zealand startup economy.

In exchange for all of this, we will support you with an unlimited holiday allowance, a competitive salary and bonus structure (including a share of the carried interest) and all of the tools and resources you need to become a world-class VC.

Click below for the role spec and for details on how to apply. For the right international candidate, we may also provide visa sponsorship. Please send your CV and a 2-4 min video on why you are the best candidate for the role to: careers@hillfarrance.com. No recruiters, please.


Portfolio company updates

Mobli 🚎

The platform that mobility is built on

Martin and Miezsko from Mobli recently went to London Tech Week and put on a show! They also exhibited at MOVE: Mobility Re-imagined on how they help make mobility more accessible, sustainable and fun!

Mobli also gets an update! The team have done a great job redesigning their entire website to showcase their four core products and the amazing customers they are servicing like Keolis Downer and Volkswagen Financial Services!


Partly βš™οΈ

Integrating vehicle compatibility data into online sales channels is essential to building a successful eCommerce strategy. However, ensuring that parts fit into the adopted marketplace standards can be difficult and involve significant data mapping work. On top of that, custom-built, brand-specific websites can be even more challenging to set up as parts/vehicle data needs to be integrated into the website backend.

Partly’s latest article on auto parts compatibility data discusses why it’s important to provide accurate compatibility data when selling auto parts online, some of the complexities involved, and why an external standard with integrated cataloguing tools can be crucial.


Scannable πŸ§—β€β™‚οΈ

Scannable removes paperwork and data entry from compliance and safety inspections for your safety equipment.

Scannable is doing some great work in the work at height space, having signed on numerous safety equipment resellers and owners to their data platform. Above is their Scannable app in action!

Safety helmets are one of the most widely used pieces of safety equipment out there. However, the majority of wearers are unaware or confused about helmet standards, especially when working in several different environments. Jess Garland, Scannable’s resident Safety Data Researcher clears up the grey areas when it comes to protecting your grey matter in their new blog.


Bolster β›“

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

Bolster is well ahead in creating its product and bringing actionable visibility to the supply chain industry. Historically, companies that have complex supply chains have held/hoarded their data with the fear of misuse – not leveraging the power their enterprise-level data have for driving business outcomes within their own organisation. Bolster has identified 5 key factors in the last five years that should/will alter the above calculus in favour of leveraging enterprise data to achieve business outcomes. Those being:

  1. Cloud has fundamentally changed our ability to elastically and cheaply scale 
  2. Serverless Compute has made Cost to Serve (CTS) very low
  3. Eventing has improved the potential for secure data sharing and transparent collaboration
  4. Covid exposed the fragility and opacity of our globalised supply chains
  5. Conflict in Ukraine has reaffirmed the potential for global geopolitical disruptions

Yabble πŸ€–

Revolutionizing the world of insights with game-changing AI products

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Last week, Founder & CEO, Kathryn Topp spoke at the 2022 Research Association New Zealand (RANZ) Conference about AI in the research space. It was a great event and well attended.

How should you be thinking about unstructured data?

Above is a historically age-old question about how researchers use unstructured data to derive insights. Analysing this data had been costly, cumbersome and labour-intensive for researchers. However, Yabble is changing this with their “Hey Yabble” product that takes unstructured data & text and transforms it into easy-to-read insights in a matter of minutes!


Grater Goods 🌱

Grater Goods have been awarded Best Specialty Sausage at the 2022 Vegan Sausage Awards. Pepperoni is the latest product in their fully plant-based range and has just hit the shelves of New World, Supervalue and Fresh Choice supermarkets across the country.

Grater Goods have previously won Best Banger for their Beet Bangers in the
same competition, and was a finalist in the NZ Food Awards for their
enormously popular Plant Pastrami.


Space Rock Games πŸͺ¨

We do not want to give away too much from Space Rock Games but here’s a cheeky sneak peek at some of the concept art for one of their Villages in their game, “Criminals Within” πŸ˜‰


Hashbane Interactive πŸ¦–

Meet Carnotaurus sastrei. This is the second of Hashbane’s showcase videos for each of the dinosaurs that will be included in their game, Instinction. Checkout their In-game model down below:

Sound quality has also always been a defining factor in Hasbane’s videos. You can read more about how they create the sounds for their videos down below.


Portfolio company job openings


Yabble is on the hunt for:

Auckland, New Zealand


Partly is on the hunt for:

Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand


Hashbane Interactive is on the hunt for:

Auckland-based or Remote-based


Resources

Keep moving forward

This month, we attended the NZ Private Capital Summit. One of the speakers threw a gauntlet at the feet of the NZ venture capital market. His gauntlet challenged us to come forward and share how our investment strategy will change during these economic market conditions. 

Well, we are happy to step once more unto the breach and share some thoughts on how we are adapting to this new phase. 

Updated Fundraising checklist

We have also included an updated startup fundraising checklist for you to download and reference.


Events

Hillfarrance x Stripe Event recap

Aisha Ross, our General Partner, and I (Alex Dam) recently hosted a roundtable discussion in partnership with Stripe!

We had a great discussion on scaling to the U.S. as a market for kiwi startups and how to build a sales engine.

Many thanks to Stripe’s Jane Kou & Karl Durrance for organising and attending the session with us. Also, a big thank you to the many startup founders who were in attendance. You folks rock 🀘


Read of the month

The Order of Time

A different feel to the usual reads of the month, however, this is book is a great exploration of the notion of time. With his extraordinary charm and sense of wonder, bringing together science, art and philosophy, Carlo Rovelli unravels this mystery, inviting us to imagine a world where time is in us and we are not in time.


Podcast of the month

LA Venture

A collection of interviews from Southern California VCs to get to know them, their funds, and their advice for entrepreneurs.


Startup News & Trends

Downrounds, structured terms & a focus on profitability

Research from Pitchbook shows that down rounds have not yet seen an uptick given the current funding environment, however, more structured and less favourable terms have started to flow back in. Examples of this are liquidation preferences and other favourable terms for VCs.

This is also now a big focus on profitability and cash flow efficiency. One of the most famous essays on this topic is Paul Grahams, “Default alive or Default dead?”.


Research on VCs and exits

New research from the University of Washington shows that early investors often predict the future of startup companies. This study found that:

  • Startups whose VCs invested with other VCs they had worked with in the past were more likely to exit through acquisition.
  • By contrast, less prior collaboration among VCs in a syndicate leads to the increased likelihood of a venture going public.
  • Surprisingly, researchers found the same patterns of collaboration that increase the odds of an IPO also increase the likelihood that a firm will go bankrupt.

Building ethical AI

As AI/ML continues to grow and spread across all functions of businesses, industries and sectors, it is important to know the inherent issues with it. This article dives into building AI in an ethical, sustainable lense and lists 5 core pillars for this. These being:

  1. Accountability: Trust in the system vs the people building it
  2. Replicability: Can this be used widely by any organisation?
  3. Transparency: Easy-to-explain ML models
  4. Security: Protection of ML models
  5. Privacy: Regulatory guidelines and rules governing the collection of data, especially in more sensitive sectors.

Layoffs in tech breed new opportunities

Last month, we mentioned that there had been several layoffs in technology companies across the world. Well, now there is a dedicated website where you can go to search for the companies that have been laying off staff, right down to the individual people and their experiences/roles too. This is awesome resource for you if you are looking for awesome talent to join your company.


Notable start-up exits


Funding

Global seed funding

Aotearoa funding

Want to get in touch about your startup? Reach out to us at pitches@hillfarrance.com