$40 million venture fund to help Kiwi entrepreneurs

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel contributes $15 million, crown-owned venture capitalist company puts up $20 million

US investor Peter Thiel is contributing $15 million to a venture capital fund for local technology companies.

The $40 million fund, called Valar Ventures, includes a $20 million contribution from the crown-owned company New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) and $5 million from private investors such as Rangatira.

Thiel co-founded the online money transfer company PayPal, and was an early investor in Facebook. In New Zealand he currently invests in Pacific Fibre and Xero.

Economic development minister Steven Joyce says the fund will help New Zealand technology companies expand their businesses overseas, particularly in the US.

“Gaining better access to capital for our companies to lift their productivity and grow their exports is part of the Government’s comprehensive business growth agenda. The fact that an investor with Peter Thiel’s track record sees investment opportunities in New Zealand’s technology companies is a positive sign of confidence in our country’s innovation and entrepreneurship.”

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