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First Lightning Lab Christchurch team closes investment

Wednesday 10 February 2016

First Lightning Lab Christchurch team closes investment

A company that helps people manage their property portfolios is the first Christchurch Lightning Lab team to close its investor funding after raising more than $200,000.

PropertyPlot, co-founded by Nicola Valentine and Seth Reid, was one of 10 hi-tech companies to take part in the intensive 12-week business accelerator programme Lightning Lab late last year. It
was the inaugural Lightning Lab to run in Christchurch and culminated with a Demo Day in November, where the companies pitched to investors from around the country.

Since then, all 10 companies have been following up investor interest shown, with PropertyPlot the first to close its funding round.

“The high level of investor interest for PropertyPlot gave us the option of accepting investment from a small, select group who add not only cash, but strategic guidance,” PropertyPlot Chief Executive
Officer Nicola Valentine says.

PropertyPlot allows property investors to search and analyse insightful information about any house in New Zealand, helping the average kiwi investor make informed investment decisions
on what and where to buy for the best financial returns. It is already being used by more than 200 people since it was launched two months ago.

“This online solution provides tools to make quick, confident decisions that lowers risk and maximises property investments. It’s a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that can be
accessed anywhere, anytime, on any device,” Nicola says.

In total 15 stakeholders have invested just over $200,000 in the company. The money will be used to further develop the software and sales channels, as well as grow the
company’s team of employees – with sales and marketing staff set to come on board soon.

She credits the Lightning Lab programme, which was based in the GreenHouse innovation hub in the Christchurch Innovation Precinct and delivered and underwritten by
Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC), with the rapid progress of the company.

“What we achieved in just three months on the Lightning Lab programme would have taken us more than two years on our own.”

Experienced angel investor Ben Kepes, who has backed PropertyPlot, is excited about joining the company on its growth journey.

“This product not only helps property investors decide where to buy, but to understand the financial performance of their portfolio.”

Head of Acceleration at Creative HQ Brett Holland, who oversees the Lightning Lab programme, says more than half of the 10 companies who completed the Christchurch
programme are actively working with investors on closing investment rounds within the next few months. Some businesses are aiming for syndicated rounds with angel groups around the country,
which by their nature take longer to close out.

“We are thrilled with the amount of interest in these innovative, start-ups. The Christchurch programme has been very successful.”

Another two Lightning Lab programmes will run in Auckland and Wellington this year, both starting in March.

PropertyPlot, and several of the other Lightning Lab teams, will continue to run out of GreenHouse until June 2016.

CDC General Manager Innovation Jamie Cairns says the positive results the Lightning Lab teams are having, as highlighted by PropertyPlot, show the benefits of the programme
and having central city office space available to early-stage entrepreneurs.

“The chance for these businesses to be in an environment with other like-minded businesses is incredibly valuable,” he says.


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