Govt money for start-ups 'just weeks away'

The $100 million New Zealand Venture Investment Fund is just weeks away from providing capital to start-up firms, says general manager Franceska Banga.

The $100 million New Zealand Venture Investment Fund is just weeks away from providing capital to start-up firms, says general manager Franceska Banga.

However, Banga says it won’t be her body that dishes out the money but rather the venture capital fund partners that NZVIF chooses.

By the end of last year, 44 organisations registered an interest to operate these funds, which has now been whittled down to 16. Further selection will take place this week, with the winners announced in May.

“We are looking for people with experience and expertise in early start-up companies. The decision that the fund managers make, the investments and the selections will be theirs,” she says.

After the May announcement, Banga says companies will then be able to benefit and apply for the money, but it might not be easy. “One of the challenges for the venture capital funds will be raising the private capital to co-invest once they have been successful. The government wants to be a minority investor — one-third government, two-thirds private — in order to provide leverage of up to $300m available to the market,” she says.

Since the fund was announced in the 2001 Budget, Banga, who has an office at the Icehouse in Parnell, says the body has been “progressing well”, developing its policies and attracting “good interest” from venture capitalists.

The NZVIF is administered by the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, under the operation of Banga with oversight from an advisory board drawn from the private sector.

Each of the funds created from the $100m will be operated by professional fund managers for seven to 10 years.

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