Village News – October 2021
Welcome to the October edition of Hillfarrance Venture Capital’s Village News! In this issue, we dive into portfolio company updates (including some awesome news about our newest portfolio company and Partly’s raise!), careers within our portfolio companies, some new resources we have provided, upcoming events and general start-up news for your viewing pleasure.
- Portfolio Company Updates
- Portfolio Company Careers
- Book of the month
- Podcast of the month
- Startup News & Trends
- Start-up exits
Portfolio company updates
We are super excited to announce the newest addition Hillfarrance Fund I – Segna! Segna makes it possible to aggregate and clean your data from various sources at warp speed! Data wrangling is a huge problem that data scientists, data analysts and business analysts face every day when compiling their data for analysis. Segna is here to change that and let you do what you need to do, faster.
Well done to Nathan Taylor, Levi Fawcett, Mark Song and Evan Jia on their new pre-Series A round at a monster $50m valuation! We are delighted to continue to invest in the Christchurch-based Partly team and its mission to build the global platform for parts.
You can read more about Partly and their latest funding round below.
Our newest portfolio company, Mobli, is off to the races with some amazing updates and milestones on their end. Most recently, they have just released their awesome Electric Vehicle (EV) charging product, “Mobli Charge“. This allows any company to deliver personalised content experiences and engagement to people who use charging stations without incurring any hardware costs. On the flip side, users of the charging stations also benefit via rewards if they engage with the content while charging!
Aside from Mobli Charge, Mobli has also made significant talent acquisitions to grow their amazing team to go global. The first was Mieszko, who has come on as Mobli’s dedicated Chief Strategy Officer. Mieszko brings his deep subject matter expertise to transport and urban mobility with an emphasis on project delivery. Another key hire they have made to extend their global footprint is James, who will be based in the Europe region and has come on as Mobli’s Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). Apart from also being a savant in transport and mobility-as-a-service, James has deep connections into the European public transport market and Governmental relations that provide a key advantage for Mobli’s continuous growth into huge transport markets worldwide.
Like Mobli, Yabble has also been steadily acquiring amazing talent to join the world of AI-driven insights. They have brought on their first Machine Learning Team lead, Alexander as well as filling roles with their new Product Owner, Quinn!
If you need a quick reminder of what their new product, “Hey Yabble” does click down below:
Compostic is almost in every supermarket within Aotearoa, preaching their core goals of reducing food waste and environmental sustainability. Most recently, they published a blog and how they are helping to eliminate food waste. You can read the full article down below.
Portfolio company job openings
Segna is on the hunt for:
Auckland, New Zealand
Partly are on the hunt for:
Christchurch, New Zealand
- A Data Engineer
- A Data Scientist
- A Junior Engineer (Intern)
- A Product Designer (Intern)
- A Senior Software Engineer
- A Software Engineer
- A Technical Writer (Intern)
Mobli are on the hunt for:
Auckland, New Zealand
Yabble are on the hunt for:
Auckland, New Zealand
Compostic are on the hunt for:
Auckland, New Zealand
The Hearth Fireside Chat – Martin McMullan, Founder & CEO of Mobli
The Hearth Fireside Chat – Brian Rowe, Senior Director of Games & NFTs at Brave Software
Hillfarrance Portfolio Quiz Night
A new initiative we have pushed out is our Hillfarrance Quiz Nights with our portfolio companies. This is s company-wide initiative and aims to bring together all founders and employees for a fun night filled with uber-hard trivia questions. After much competition between our teams, Team Kwotimation came out on top!
The Updated Fundraising Checklist
As the market dynamics change in start-ups and venture capital, we have provided you all with an updated version of our fundraising checklist for you to benchmark the different early startup stages. In this, we provide some of the key figures at various stages in early startup life but have also added a data-focused row
DIY VC fantasy template
We are incredibly passionate about venture capital. So much so that we are providing anyone in the ecosystem a do-it-yourself template for learning how to invest in start-ups. In the template we provide you with:
- An Airtable template to keep track of your portfolio
- An investment memo template to objectively write down your thoughts on each start-up that you research.
This is all in an effort to nurture and grow the VC’s of the future here in Aotearoa.
Start-up deaths and the reasons why
Book of the month
This book is a real inspiration for those of us who are really feeling the effects of this lockdown here in Auckland, Aotearoa. Through beautiful artwork and a unique graphic novel art style, this book can offer comfort to both those newly isolated through Covid lockdowns and to those for whom loneliness was a part of their lives long before Covid.
Podcast of the month
This is a great listen from Azeem Azhar, an entrepreneur and investor. This podcast goes in-depth about all things AI and machine learning, but also other technologies which are transforming and shaping the future.
Startup News & Trends
Tactics for fundraising and running a successful start-up
Sequoia is one of, if not the most well-known VC in the world. They recently hosted an AMA where they touched on raising money for your startup and running a successful startup. Some of the key learnings were:
- Sometimes the stars have to align and raising money can be very random. Can really depend on what the investor has been doing, or will do before meeting you.
- Treat fundraising as you would recruiting critical team members.
- The value of having the right partners/investors — a strong brand and network, a team who rolls up their sleeves alongside you, and someone who cares about you as a person and founder — compounds over time and provides incredible signalling for your company.
- Early-stage startups have an abundance of choices, yet they also have finite resources. It’s important for founders to prioritize in a thoughtful way.
- The connection between an investor and a founder is built on trust. Founders should be transparent with their investors and feel safe flagging issues early so they can help troubleshoot. If they’ve done their job well, nothing they discuss at a board meeting should ever be a surprise.
How emerging market startups can break into mature markets
This is a great resource for any Aotearoa startups who want to go global (presumably all of you). This article assumes you have a full-functioning product and are ready to take on new endeavours in other markets such as the U.S, UK and the like. The article gives you four ways to do this which are listed down below:
- Make your product replicable and scalable
- Time your entry carefully
- Don’t bootstrap funding
- Foster strategic partnerships
VC exits smash 2020 records
VC has never been a more compelling investment. According to Pitchbook’s latest report, VC exits this year have already reached $600 billion, more than doubling exit values from 2020. This shows that investment into startups and the innovations that these companies have made has been instrumental to the growth of the global economy and a viable career path for many.
More Top VC’s are flocking to Seed Stage
The seed-stage has always been quite a highly fragmented and risky stage for investors. Nowadays, we are seeing some of the best VC’s move towards this early stage due to lower competition, an abundance of capital at the later stages and the inherent seed-stage benefits such as significant markups in price and valuation. These typical investors have generally invested Series A and beyond, however, with companies at that stage now commanding much higher valuations, the rates of return for investors is not what they used to be.
The once niche world of gaming is now at the forefront of startups and big tech.
As proponents and avid players of games (I am playing Horizon: Zero Dawn right now), we are ready for this new wave of innovation occurring in the gaming space all across the globe. A16Z, one of the most well-known VC’s in the world has a gaming-focused fund, the metaverse and NFT games are blowing up in popularity and Netflix, of all people, have just acquired their own gaming studio. We see a massive movement towards this and would love to speak with any gaming studios here in Aotearoa that are doing so! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A quick-start compliance guide for startups
One of the many things we see with many data-centric startups is the almost always sensitive data that they are collecting and/or aggregating. If you are in the business of data for your startup, you should have measures to ensure that you are compliant. This guide provides a good read to startup founders on ensuring airtight compliance at the start of ones venture so it does not come back to bite you in the behind.
Trends currently and post-pandemic that founders should consider
We are seeing an explosion in entrepreneurship due to the pandemic. This article describes four customer-centric trends that several successful founders have used:
- Offering concierge-based customer experiences
- Exploring the blend of digital and physical
- Building knowledge as a key pillar of ones “workplace infrastructure”
- Funding inspiration from outside your “home market”