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Lightning Lab start-ups raise $2.2 mln in seed investment

Lightning Lab start-ups raise $2.2 mln in seed investment

By Paul McBeth

Aug. 12 (BusinessDesk) – Five of the nine start-ups to go through Lightning Lab’s digital accelerator programme have raised a combined $2.2 million of seed funding, more than what they were seeking at a demonstration day in May.

The five successful groups, Common Ledger, Cloud Cannon, GlassJar, CoachSeek and Twingl, were seeking $1.94 million to support the commercial ambitions for their respective software-based ideas, of which $740,000 had already been committed before their May 28 presentations. Lightning Lab’s programme seeks to prepare early stage companies to pitch to investors.

“I was delighted to see that all the teams who pitched on Demo Day 2014 matched the best of what last year had to offer,” angel investor Trevor Dickinson said in a statement. “It was therefore no surprise that the 2014 graduates have attracted serious interest from experienced angel and venture capital investors.”

Last month the government-backed New Zealand Venture Investment Fund said it was too early to judge the success of its Seed Co-Investment Fund, which backs early-stage firms alongside angel investors and was set up in 2006.

In the opening address for the Lightning Lab event in May, Angel Association chairman Marcel van den Assum, who was also part of the successful sale of local software firm GreenButton, urged angel investors to broaden their portfolios if they wanted to improve their chances of a return, with too many backers relying overly on a small number of ventures.

At the demo day, Common Ledger, which developed a platform allowing accountants to integrate different accounting software, sought the biggest amount, asking for $550,000, of which half was already subscribed, on a pre-money valuation of $1.75 million to help fund the completion of an enterprise deal with a major accounting firm and boost sales and distribution.

Cloud Cannon, which developed a platform that makes it easier for web designers to deploy and maintain websites, asked for $450,000, of which half was committed, to expand its customer base and develop new add-on products.

GlassJar, whose software allows shared rentals to better manage their finances, asked for $400,000, with $110,000 in soft commitments, to fund the next 12 months when it plans to develop mobile apps, integrate bank fees into the software and secure 20,000 users before advancing into the US.

CoachSeek, whose software helps sports coaches manage their programmes, asked for $450,000, of which $100,000 was committed at a pre-money valuation of $1 million to fund the next 18 months.

Twingl, which developed software to track a secondary school student's learning process, sought $90,000 in a convertible note, with commitments of $30,000, to fund a pilot programme in New Zealand and push into the US.


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