Young New Zealand companies attracted a record $69 million in investment last year as investors threw their money behind previously backed winners.

The amount of money invested by funds and angel networks grew 13 per cent on 2015, bringing the total amount since 2006 to $483.7 million.

But the number of transactions shrank 15 per cent from 132 deals to 112 deals as investors chose to put more money behind fewer companies.

Bridget Unsworth, director of the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, said it was not concerned amount the number of transactions falling and saw it as a sign of New Zealand's market maturing.

Advertisement

"While it means fewer portfolio companies get funded, the high-performing ones are able to close larger-sized capital rounds," she said.

Eight companies managed to raise at least $1.5 million each while the number of new companies attracting investment remained steady at 41 - up one on 2015.

The average deal size was $616,000 much higher than the 2015 average of $487,000.

Marcel van den Assum, chair of the Angel Association of New Zealand, said a tighter focus by investors on performing companies would give follow-up investors more confidence.

"A concerted NZ Inc approach is required if we are to leverage the outcomes we aspire to see generated from our investment, and to sustain the performance of our startup ecosystem.

"In this respect it is good to see more money going into fewer deals and businesses attracting significant follow-on investment.

"This suggests a tighter focus by investors on those companies which are performing. It will give the deepening growth capital providers in New Zealand - venture
capitalists, corporate venture and strategic investors - more confidence to invest in angel-backed companies."

The software and services sector continued to be the most popular attracting $37.8m in 2016.

Since 2006, when the industry was first measured, companies in the software and service sector have attracted 42 per cent of the money invested.

Unsworth expected this sector to remain popular with investors but said there was growing interest in agri-technology and artificial intelligence.

"I think software will still continue to dominate. We have a lot of experience in investing in that area now."

More than half of the money invested (55 per cent) since 2006 was in Auckland while 12 per cent went to Wellington and 10 per cent to Christchurch, 6 per cent to Dunedin, 5 per cent to Palmerston North and 4 per cent each to Hamilton and Tauranga.

Unsworth said 2017 was shaping up to be a similar year to previous ones with a slow start in the first half.

Last year $46.1m of the total $69m was raised in the second half of the year.

It was hard to predict if this year would be another record.

"I think at some point it is going to plateau out - probably around the $75 million ... is probably where we should be at for angel investing," Unsworth said.

"At some point there will be a drop off - but when that happens I don't know."

YOUNG COMPANY FINANCE INDEX
Year Amount invested
2006 $21.4m
2007 $29.5m
2008 $32.6m
2009 $43.2m
2010 $53.1m
2011 $34.8m
2012 $29.9m
2013 $53.1m
2014 $56.4m
2015 $61.2m
2016 $69.0m
Total $483.7m