Kiwi start-ups receive $3m investment boost

Lightning Lab Demo Day, the largest early stage investment pitch event in New Zealand, has generated $3 million in offers of seed investment capital from its 2014 showcase.

Founders from nine startups, mostly online platforms and tools for both businesses and consumers, took the stage on May 28 to promote their businesses and ask for investment from a room full of more than 100 registered investors amid supporters, sponsors, family and friends.

Since the event, offers totaling $3 million of investment have been made, including that from NZ Venture Investment Fund’s Seed Co-Investment Fund (SCIF).

Angel investors were joined by institutional investors and larger funds, showing a growing enthusiasm from the early stage investment community for the prospects put forward by the Lightning Lab.

Lightning Lab programme director Dan Khan says he is very pleased that investors’ engagement was so high in the deal room after the presentations.

“Even teams that didn’t ask for funding or still needed to complete some additional validation work left with plenty of positive leads for both money and advice going forward.”

Six of the 2014 Lightning Lab companies have begun investment negotiations and due diligence and will have deals confirmed in the coming weeks.

The investment offered is more than from Lightning Lab’s inaugural Demo Day in 2013, which resulted in four companies confirming $2.2 million in seed funding.

Founded by startup incubator Creative HQ in Wellington, Lightning Lab is New Zealand’s leading digital startup accelerator.

Ten startups from over 150 applications from all over New Zealand and places as far flung as Ukraine, Vietnam and New York were chosen for the class of 2014.

“In just its second year, Lightning Lab’s brilliant team of mentors, partners and investors are delivering not only bigger investment results, but making strides in the entrepreneurial capability of the individual founders that pass through,” adds Stefan Korn, CEO, Creative HQ.

“This year we saw more teams earning revenue by Demo Day, and a greater sense of commercial acumen and business leadership on the teams – a big win for the programme as we look to expand beyond Wellington in 2015.”

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