Kōrerorero #8

/ Blog + Insights / 8 Jun 2021 / Katie Hickmer

Korerorero Title

Welcome to our Q&A series Kōrerorero .. a forum to discuss and share insights, inspiration and advice from voices of founders and investors within the Kiwi start-up community.


Meet Marcus of NZGCP

Marcus Henderson joined NZGCP in April 2020 and is one of our Investment Directors.

Marcus's passion that drives him in his role? 
With an analytical mind, he enjoys analysing business plans and making investment decisions. He loves the challenge of innovation and scaling disruptive tech businesses, and having worked with some inspirational founders/companies, he's motivated to share these experiences to help develop the early stage ecosystem in NZ.



My role at NZGCP ...

I am the Investment Director for our Aspire fund and my focus is on leading NZGCP's direct investment activities into NZ tech start-ups and scale-ups.
Our Aspire fund has a co-investment model, which means I get to work closely with a wide range of investment groups, VCs and founders. I’m also actively involved in NZGCP’s market development activities where we are working with various industry groups to help promote and develop tech entrepreneurship and early-stage investment in NZ.


What I'm seeing in the tech start-up ecosystem that excites me for the future ...

The past 12 months have been challenging due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, on a brighter note, this pandemic has accelerated many tech trends and has broken down some of the physical distance and barriers that are challenging for NZ start-ups trying to access global capital and markets. It has also promoted New Zealand to the world as an attractive place to live, work and start a business which will help in our growth.


My single biggest role model in my life and why ...

One of my role models is Sir Ronald Cohen. He has been described as “the father of British venture capital” and is a big role model for me because I started my VC career in the UK. His biography “The Second Bounce of the Ball: Turning Risk into Opportunity” is a great read covering some of the fundamentals in early stage investment. He is now doing a lot of work in the social investment space and has been a thought leader in this area for quite a long time, which is a big passion and interest area for me and something I want to do more of in future.


The top things that I look at before making an investment ...

  • Team
  • Product
  • Market

... When all three align, you have a good chance of achieving great things!


The Aspire fund investment focus sector that is my passion and why (from agri-tech, deep-tech, health-tech and software) ...

Software. The majority of my early investments were in the B2B software space and I’ve built up a lot of experience investing in and helping to scale these types of companies. I’ve been fortunate to achieve some good success to date in this sector and have had a number of successful exits. Software businesses are great for VC investment because the market is huge and very innovative, there are loads of opportunities for start-ups entering the market, they can scale quickly and it is a very active industry from an M&A perspective.


4 things that I believe are essential for successful collaboration ...

  • Alignment of incentives and objectives - Different styles and personalities have a better chance of working together successfully if they are all aiming in the same direction
  • All partners and team members should complement each other so that the team is much stronger than the sum of all the individual parts. As well as complementing each other, everyone needs to be delivering at a high standard and able to work well in periods of stress and difficultly, which are inevitable for all start-up companies
  • Good communication and understanding of your partners strengths and weaknesses is also absolutely key in my experience
  • Be professional with clear operating procedures and legal agreements that everyone signs up to at the start of the venture.



Join our Kōrerorero

This is our 8th Kōrerorero of the series.

Are you a founder of a Kiwi start-up, or a start-up investor, who's keen to share your insights as part of this series? We'd love to hear from you! 
Drop us an email at marketing@nzgcp.co.nz and let's chat.

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