Start-up investment group Enterprise Angels has achieved a long sought after turnaround by significantly increasing the amount it has invested in local Bay of Plenty companies, says executive director Bill Murphy.
Since launching in 2008, Enterprise Angels members have invested almost $12 million in 37 early stage and established businesses across a variety of industries. And for most of its existence, the local members were investing most of their funds in companies outside the Bay of Plenty.
But over the past year, investments in the local region have reached 45 per cent of the total value invested since the group was started, said Mr Murphy.
"That's a big shift and a real turnaround.
"For a number of years it was disappointing for us that we had so few local investment opportunities. I was surprised my door wasn't being beaten down. Especially since we also had fantastic members who can add value. But I always felt the presence of a large group of investors looking for early stage investment opportunities would attract local start-ups."
Mr Murphy said it had taken time but local companies were now coming forward.
"The presence of a large investor group like this encourages innovation and entrepreneurship."
Mr Murphy was speaking after Tuesday's Enterprises Angels pitch meeting, where eight new members were welcomed, bringing total membership to almost 160. More than 75 members attended the meeting.
Pitching companies included Havelock North Fruit Company, SHIFT72, which provides a secure video on demand platform for independent film-makers and distributors, and Figured.com, which has partnered with Xero to build a business planning platform for farmers. Figured.com is led by Paul Reid, chairman of Pukeko Pictures, who is a former chief executive of the MetService and a former chief operating officer, channels and digital, of NZ Post.
The meeting also showcased the new prototype of the Ubco electric farm bike, co-developed with local company Locus Research by Tauranga's Anthony Clyde and his partner Daryl Neal from Wellington.
"Each meeting tends to be an improvement," said Mr Murphy. "We are continuing to attract higher quality deals."