​Tuhua fund raises $10 million for promising Kiwi startups

​Tuhua fund raises $10 million for promising Kiwi startups

Fund is a partnership of Icehouse and ICE Angels

The Icehouse and ICE Angels have launched a $10 million fund called Tuhua which will invest in 25 leading Kiwi start-ups over the next three years.

ICE Angels CEO Robbie Paul says the fund aims to become a game changer in how the two organisations impact startups.

“The team, as well as the hundreds of investors that have invested with us into 97 Kiwi start-ups, have a burning and genuine desire to drive New Zealand forward by empowering globally competitive start-ups,” says Paul, in a statement.

“Capital is not the only ingredient required to do so. However, this $10 million fund is a potent addition to our expertise and world-class networks.”

Tuhua will invest up to $1 million per start-up with the fund already backing its first three.

These include Avertana which extracts high value chemicals from industrial waste; and Nyriad, a pioneering computing software that leverages GPU processors, replacing traditional CPUs, to rapidly compress and stream data.

The team, as well as the hundreds of investors that have invested with us into 97 Kiwi start-ups, have a burning and genuine desire to drive New Zealand forward by empowering globally competitive start-ups.

Robbie Paul, ICE Angels

Investor and former Microsoft NZ managing director, Ross Peat, says the three start-ups are great representatives of the types of entrepreneurs Tuhua aspires to support.

Read more: 2016 NZ Hi-Tech awards finalists announced

“They are led by teams with very unique and expert perspectives on global opportunities and have a relentless drive to pursue those opportunities. The companies are well supported by other local investors that we know well and have co-invested with over the past 12 years,” says Peat.

Tuhua, Maori for obsidian, is volcanic glass created by the rapid cooling of lava. It was a prized tool used for hunting in New Zealand and has a rich history with the earliest known blades dating back to 700,000 BC. Well-crafted obsidian blades can have a cutting edge many times sharper than high-quality steel surgical scalpels.

“The analogy of providing entrepreneurs 'tools for the hunt' aligns with the Tuhua mission," explains Paul of ICE Angels. "The visualisation of 'unpolished gems' is also appropriate: $4 million of the $10 million will be invested into seed stage start-ups that are still rough around the edges.”

Paul continues, “In addition to active Board members and Advisors, investees will have access to board observers (led by ICE Angels First Cut Ventures team) who are charged with unloading administrative tasks off of the founders, mining our networks for talent, and enabling data-based decision making by leveraging insights from our 97 investments. The start-ups will also have access to The Icehouse space in Parnell and its team.”

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This value-add will be delivered as a result of a number of partnerships, including with the NZ Government’s Callaghan Innovation which provides significant year on year funding to support the operations of the Icehouse’s startup offerings.

Tuhua was established in November 2015 with seven cornerstone investors: Ross Peat; Japan’s internet pioneer, Tim Williams; former PwC London senior corporate finance partner, Richard Burns; software entrepreneur Dennis Row; The Icehouse CEO Andy Hamilton; and Robbie Paul.

Andy Hamilton, CEO, The Icehouse
Andy Hamilton, CEO, The Icehouse

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Tags Callaghan Innovationthe icehousestartupsice angelsentrepreneurial cioTuhuaEntrepreneurial IT Leadersross peat

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