Taranaki businesses will have opportunity to launch

Taranaki’s innovative entrepreneurs and businesses will have a new path to launch with the establishment of the Taranaki Investment Group Incorporated.

The group, which will operate as Launch Taranaki, aims to provide local investment for innovative start-up and early stage business enterprises.

“Taranaki’s regional economy has been missing this vital component in the business growth process. Launch Taranaki will fill that gap,” says the group’s chair Ian Frame.

“We currently have more than 20 experienced investors in the group, who are all interested in encouraging, enabling and developing innovative entrepreneurs in the Taranaki Region. We expect this number to grow.”

“Launch Taranaki will simplify the process of making and managing investments into startup and early-stage growth businesses, and at the other end of the relationship will enable our smart business ideas and smart business people to launch and grow, without having to look beyond the region for support.”

Launch Taranaki will officially launch on 12 October, with an online presence at www.launchtaranaki.co.nz.

The website will take online applications from those looking to receive business investment. An online tool will assess proposals, with those whose applications meet the criteria invited to present their plans at face-to-face meetings with prospective investors.

The site will also enable potential investors to join, with an online application process and more information on the group and the process.

The group works to the angel investment model, a widespread concept throughout New Zealand and globally that, until now, hasn’t formally existed in Taranaki.

Angel investors provide early stage start-up funding for people with good commercial ideas. Investment is typically made in groups, with individual Angels choosing what they will invest in and contributing a relatively small amount of funding to that investment.

“Each individual Angel firstly decides which projects they want to invest in and then supports those specific projects with funding typically in the $5,000 – $10,000 range per project. With, say, 10 individual Angels supporting a specific project, the total funding available for that project would be $50,000 to $100,000.”

“In this way, Angels can limit their individual exposure and spread their funds over a broad portfolio of investments, while each project gets the total funding it requires,” Ian says.

“We recognise that not all angel investments prove to be successful, however, the process has provided a launch pad for many companies that have grown into large and successful enterprises. Trade Me is a fantastic example of this.”

A benefit of Angel investment is the close involvement Angels have with the companies they invest in, so they can assist them to perform well. This may be through an individual Angel’s knowledge of the target markets or their experience in technology, sales, marketing or finance and accounting. Sometimes an Angel can simply open doors to opportunities through their networks.

“The group will focus on facilitating Angel-level investment and on supporting established businesses that have good growth potential. I’m sure there are existing small to medium sized businesses around Taranaki that require funds and advice to enable them to grow and reach their full potential,” Ian says. “I expect Launch Taranaki will be able to support that.”

“The success of Launch Taranaki will be determined by the growth of the companies it supports and the returns that group members receive on their investments, but ultimately our goal is to further develop the Taranaki economy and grow the budding entrepreneurs within it.”

The concept of promoting Angel investing in Taranaki was initially promoted by Venture Taranaki who took the idea to a group of potential investors and provided assistance to get it underway, a process that has taken more than a year.

Launch Taranaki’s foundation supporters include Venture Taranaki, BNZ, TSB, Little Rocket and Naki Cloud, with many more opportunities for local companies to come on board.