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Launch of Powerhouse Attracts Angel Investors

Launch of Powerhouse Attracts Angel Investors

Press release, 9-October-2006, Powerhouse, Christchurch: A new Canterbury investment group, Powerhouse Ventures Ltd, has been launched to provide angel investors with access to qualified, high potential investment opportunities. The organisation will provide promising young companies a significant source for capital raising and business expertise.

Powerhouse was recently announced as one of only four approved co-investment partners in New Zealand for access to the SCIF fund which is managed by the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF). It is also the only organisation outside Auckland to be approved as a co-investment partner. This relationship brings up to $4 million to high growth South Island companies by matching investments made by Powerhouse.

Powerhouse will reduce costs and risks associated with early stage investment by enabling angel investors to spread their funds across a number of high growth start-ups.

Dr Stephen Hampson of the Canterbury Innovation Incubator (Cii) and Phil Holliday and Dave Tinkler of investment company Holliday Corporation have all been instrumental in the establishment of Powerhouse. They are confident that Canterbury has the quality of angel investors and early stage companies necessary to make Powerhouse a success.

“We are lucky to have many high net-worth individuals with vast business experience and ability to make a significant difference to emerging high growth start-ups as ’angel investors’,” says Dr Hampson. “We established Powerhouse to enable these investors to collectively participate in company investments, pooling their capital and expertise.”

Powerhouse members will take a supportive role in the companies, serving on boards, supplying extensive international networks and coaching entrepreneurs.

Current Powerhouse Board members comprise some of the better-known names in Christchurch entrepreneurship, including Dr Garth Carnaby, John Walley, Steve Wilson and Phil Holliday, who successfully achieved a multi-million dollar sale of his electronics and wireless company Holliday Group Ltd to iTouch PLC in the UK.

“I’ve been there; I know how difficult it is when you’re at a start-up phase,” says Phil Holliday. “By offering both funding and proactive business support, Powerhouse is addressing the most urgent needs of early stage companies.”

Franceska Banga, the Chief Executive of NZVIF, explains that NZVIF has to be selective about partner companies. “Essentially, we are investing in Powerhouse, who is then allocating those funds on our behalf,” she says. “Before entrusting them with that responsibility, we went through a rigorous six-month due diligence process. What we found is that the combination of strong backing from the Canterbury Innovation Incubator and the group of angel investors who are already participating make this an excellent investment proposition — this group has the credibility and the capability to make it work.”

Powerhouse anticipates having more than 30 members by the end of the year.

About Powerhouse Ventures Ltd

Powerhouse is an angel investment group that has been established to provide an efficient mechanism for investors from diverse backgrounds to make investments in early stage companies. It will enable members of the group to collectively participate in opportunities presented by companies with high growth potential.

Powerhouse has a regional focus and will concentrate primarily on companies and investors from Canterbury. High growth companies play an important role in economic growth and wealth creation for the region. Through its access to experienced entrepreneurs and investors, Powerhouse will enable Canterbury’s best early stage companies to become internationally competitive.

Many of the ventures funded by Powerhouse will be eligible for access to matching capital from government through a new scheme – the Seed Co-Investment Fund administered by the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF).


NZVIF is responsible for the implementation of two programmes.

The VIF programme is a venture capital ‘fund of funds’ that aims to invest $100.0 million, alongside private sector co-investors, in a series of privately managed venture capital investment funds. The VIF programme has the following goals:

- to accelerate development of the venture capital industry by increasing the level of early stage investment activity in the New Zealand market
- to develop a larger pool of people in New Zealand’s venture capital market with skills and expertise in seed and start-up investment
- to facilitate commercialisation from CRIs, universities and the private sector
- to get more New Zealand businesses on paths to global success by increasing their access to international experts, networks and market knowledge.

Since July 2005, NZVIF has also been responsible for the implementation of the Seed Co-investment Fund. Through this programme, NZVIF aims to invest up to $40.0 million over the next five to six years, alongside approved partners, in small- and medium-sized businesses which are unable to attract venture capital funding because of their size.

About Holliday Corporation

Holiday Corporation is a Christchurch–based project management and investment company founded by Director Phil Holliday in 2004. The company specialises in assisting NZ technology companies with high growth potential with the strategic direction, expertise and influence they need to reach the next level.

About Cii

Canterbury Innovation Incubator (Cii) is a business incubator that was established with a focus on emerging high technology companies in Canterbury. Cii provides intensive business support to start-up technology companies, using an entrepreneurial management team. In-house expertise is based on extensive knowledge and experience in commercialising technology.

Located in central Christchurch, Cii also provides office space and facilities, with the capacity to support from 20 to 30 companies.

Cii is a joint venture between its founding partners: Canterbury Development Corporation Ltd, Orion New Zealand Ltd, the University of Canterbury, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and Lincoln University. Valuable support to both Cii and resident companies is also provided through sponsors: Telecom NZ Ltd, Canon NZ Ltd, Microsoft NZ Ltd, Hewlett Packard Ltd and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.


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