NZ start-up ecosystem 'vibrant' and 'exciting'

PwC figures reveal growing investment

Credit: Dreamstime

Annual investment in New Zealand start-ups has risen from $30m in 2008 to more than $110 million in 2018 taking the decade's total to more than $600 million.

That's according to a report from PwC New Zealand and the Angel Association, which outlined "exciting potential" for future growth.

PwC New Zealand partner Anand Reddy said the data was consistent with TIN100 reports showing the New Zealand tech sector revenue growing from $6.3 billion in 2008 to $11.1 billion in 2018, with many initially angel-backed companies contributing to this growth.

The TIN100 report, released last October, found New Zealand's top 200 technology companies earned combined revenues of $11.1 billion in 2018, up $1.1 billion from 2017, and boosted their profitability by 38.1 per cent.

Release of the study also follows one from Callaghan Innovation just days earlier, saying Kiwi entrepreneurs had created at least nine businesses worth more $1 billion each over the past 15 years.

In the PWC Angel/Association study software and services was the largest sector, accounting for almost $60 million of the total, followed by technology hardware and equipment and pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and life sciences at about $20 million each.

The study also found more start-up investment than 10 years ago (up from $19 million to $55 million) and more at the early expansion stage (up from $5 million to $21 million).

"These findings reveal an ecosystem in great health and give us plenty of reasons to be excited for the next decade," it concluded.

Angel Association chair John O’Hara said startups now represented a legitimate asset class that was attracting the attention of more institutional investors, and he predicted that New Zealand would soon be able to support successful businesses with New Zealand-led $10 million series A rounds.

"We are starting to see green shoots for larger rounds of capital too with increasing syndication and more, and larger, early stage funds coming into the market," he said.

The findings are detailed in Startup Investment, a bi-annual publication from PwC New Zealand and the Angel Association. 

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