Village News – May 2022

Alex Dam

In this edition of our Village News, Alex celebrates his one-year anniversary as part of the Hillfarrance Village, we share heaps of great updates from our portfolio, share some resources that we’ve been reading or writing and finally, share the recent news and trends we’ve been seeing.



Alex turns 1 at Hillfarrance

Alex joined the Hillfarrance Village back in early May of 2021. Since then, he’s done a couple cool things:

  • He’s been integral to the creation of Hillfarrance’s video game investment thesis, which we have now set in motion with our investments into Space Rock Games and Hashbane Interactive.
  • Been a part of six investments to date from Hillfarrance Fund I.
  • Automated a whole bunch of our internal processes.
  • Managing our current portfolio and helping onboard new ones to our Village.
  • Have almost convinced Rob to go kickboxing with him.

Portfolio company updates

Mobli 🚎

The underpinning cloud infrastructure for Transport and Mobility

Mobli recently ran a session with Intelligent Transport Systems New Zealand (ITSNZ) last week on the Super Shuttle story and what Mobli has been doing to support an iconic New Zealand brand through the Mobli platform. Lots of takeaways and insights to share! If you or anyone you know run a transport operation and want to build on top of Mobli’s platform then get in touch!


Scannable 🧗‍♂️

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

Track and trace solutions have existed for quite some time now. So what is Scannable doing differently? Here are some of the common problems found in the safety equipment space when trying to use these existing solutions:

  1. You can’t use equipment until you’ve saved its data
  2. Manufacturer’s websites make for slow data retrieval
  3. An app from every manufacturer isn’t the solution
  4. Manufacturers choosing one app partner doesn’t work 
  5. Resellers need solutions to maintain rope traceability
  6. Resellers struggle to access and maintain good data
  7. Height safety has a data problem

Scannable has built tech with these past lessons in mind. They have made it so you can just tap your phone against your equipment to quickly access all of the information you need.

Why? Because they believe that if it’s easy to get the information you need about your equipment, you’ll make better decisions – which means you’re safer at work.


Bolster ⛓

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 on a mission to improve end to end supply chain visibility by integrating disparate data streams to create efficiencies in capacity, cost, time in transit and carbon output for Supply Chain & Logistics companies.

Learn more below about how they are using event-driven data like ship tracking data, terminal tracking data and trucking data to help organisations with all sorts of supply chain problems.

Also, find out how they are tackling the chicken & egg problem commonly found when trying to access enterprise data for machine learning models (HINT: it uses video games!)


Yabble 🤖

Revolutionizing the world of insights with game-changing AI products

Recently, Co-Founder & CEO, Kathryn had the pleasure of presenting at #electrifyaotearoa yesterday. What a great turnout, full of amazing founders supporting the wahine (women) of our country.

Our favourite quote from Kath:

“Back yourself or no one will”

Thank you, Ministry of Awesome for putting on this amazing event!!!

The Yabble team are also thrilled to be included in Data Magazine‘s list of the top 30 machine-learning companies in New Zealand! This is a real testament to the incredible work the team continues to produce and to how Yabble prioritizes innovation in everything we do.


Hashbane Interactive 🦖

Hashbane are full steam ahead on the development of their next-generation Dinosaur RPG game, Instinction! Check out their video of the recent model of their Diabloceratops made in Unreal Engine 5.

Going above and beyond for our founders and the markets they serve

Hashbane are also pleased to announce the launch of the Instinction Fund! The fund is a grant scheme that offers support to paleo-related activities, studies and research about all things Dinosaur 🦖

We have just awarded our first donation to Dr. Amber Coste of Otago University. The fund is currently open to applications so if you know anyone that wants to cover expenses arising from a defined paleo research or development project that possesses timeliness and promise, then get in touch below! The fund is open to a global audience, not just in New Zealand.


Portfolio company job openings

Bolster is on the hunt for:

Wellington, New Zealand (Remote options available)


Yabble is on the hunt for:

Auckland, New Zealand


Partly is on the hunt for:

Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand


Mobli is on the hunt for:

Auckland, New Zealand


Segna is on the hunt for:

Auckland, New Zealand


Hashbane Interactive is on the hunt for:

Auckland-based or Remote-based


Space Rock Games is on the hunt for:

Auckland-based or Remote-based


Resources

Are you a Vitamin or a Pill?

When we meet founders for the first time, we often ask them “is your product a pill or a vitamin?”. Pills are must-have solutions for their customers while Vitamins are nice but not essential.

Rob’s blog this week is focused on the characteristics that Pill-building startups often portray and how they build customer-centricity into all of their business processes. Topics include:

👁 Building a pervasive user-centric mindset
👍🏼 Embracing simplicity
⚖️ Balancing new and existing product development
🎨 Configurability vs. customisation

We think that New Zealand entrepreneurs do this while standing on their heads and we are excited to learn about the next Kiwi “technological Nurofen” soon


Sending cold emails

Sending cold emails is an art form. Warm intros are always better, however, you’re going to have to send a couple in your lifetime (as I’ve come to find out). Your aim is to send the “hottest” cold email possible.

The gist of it is that you want to clearly and concisely convey what you do, garner interest and desire from the reader to want to learn more, and then finally create a call-to-action. Here are the main points to sending the best cold emails and getting a high conversion:

  1. Define your goal – To get investment? To get feedback?
  2. Find investors – Use Apollo, Hunter, etc to find emails.
  3. Do your research – 10 unique cold emails > 100 general cold emails
  4. Draft your email – Attention -> Interest -> Desire -> Action
  5. Follow-up – 3 days after sending the initial email
  6. 2nd Follow-up email.

How to create and execute a world-class sales playbook

In this episode of 20VC, Harry Stebbings chats with Oliver Jay, Former Chief Revenue Officer at Asana about all things sales. Here are the main takeaways we got from this awesome episode:

  1. You do not have to put yourself in a bucket of either Product-led growth or traditional B2B enterprise sales. You can do both and the results can be very positive. it is hard though…
  2. Choosing the right sales strategy for your product category is super important. Depending on your category, you can get very far with a self-serve model (think Atlassian), but sales complement all of this.
  3. There are two sales playbooks. One is to understand your customer’s personas and who you really want to sell to and what’s the best way of reaching these personas. The following playbook is one that sets the processes and frameworks in place to scale the initial playbook.
  4. Understanding which salespeople to hire for your stage, product category and customer personas.
  5. Sales compensation/commission plans in early-stage startups should not really involve sales targets as the product is still pre-product-market-fit (shipping new features can drastically alter targets). Some better ways are to do variable compensation such as a number of logos, deals of a certain size, bonus structures, etc.

Events

Electrify Aotearoa recap

Aisha Ross, our General Partner, has fundamentally changed how we think about startup investing, and we are stoked that he has shared our Te Anga Whakamaioha framework at Electrify Aotearoa. Electrify Aotearoa is an initiative to ignite and showcase the amazing women we have in the Aotearoa startup ecosystem.

Aisha is guiding our team on how to apply a Te Ao Māori lens to all aspects of our business and investment philosophy, and it is awe-inspiring.

Many thanks to Marian and the team at The Ministry of Awesome for hosting such a spectacular event!


Read of the month

Principles – Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio is the Founder of the well-known Hedge Fund, Bridgewater Associates. In his book, Ray lays down the rules and frameworks he uses to navigate his life. The book explores truth-seeking, decision-making, and the implementation of systems to achieve success. Afterwards, Ray goes over the management principles he used to build his multibillion-dollar hedge fund.


Podcast of the month

All-in Podcast

Featuring Chamath Palihapitiya (Founder of Social Capital), Jason Calacanis (Famous Angel Investor), David Sacks (Founder of Craft Ventures & David Friedburg (Founder of The Production Board), these industry veterans discuss all things economics, tech, politics, social & Poker.


Startup News & Trends

VCs start informing their portfolio about the current funding market

As we mentioned in our last Village News, the funding landscape has changed and VCs have come out and given their 2 cents about it. Such as:

While there is doom and gloom currently regarding this downturn and funding environment, we remain optimistic that the best founders, building the best products that their customers love are still going to get funded. You all got this 👊


Building trust

Building trust is incredibly important for founders, investors, relationship managers and salespeople. McKinsey has been widely known for this in their consulting giant. This Twitter thread gives you a great framework on how you can build trust with people. This is distilled into 3 key factors:

  1. Credibility;
  2. Reliability; and
  3. Intimacy.

The future of content

One of the metaphorical “legs” of our investment thesis table is the future of content and gaming. This report by Variety is a great, compact read on the state of content that spans streaming, TV, Film, Music, Games, Metaverse and more.


Layoffs in tech

Over the last month, there has been a number of significant layoffs in tech startups across the globe. Most notable ones such as Cameo, OnDeck, Bolt and Robinhood have drastically cut the number of staff they have to accommodate for the current shift in the market and to reduce burn.


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