Elevate NZ Venture Fund is committing $30 million into Blackbird Ventures’ second New Zealand fund which is targeting a final close of $100 million.
Initially an Australian venture capital fund manager, Blackbird Ventures established its first New Zealand fund in August 2019, into which Elevate invested $22.75 million. That fund invested into companies such as Mint Innovation, Halter, Foundry Lab, First AML, Multitudes and Partly.
From two investors led by Samantha Wong, General Partner in Fund, the team has grown to include Phoebe Harrop, Principal, and James Palmer, Associate plus a dedicated community manager, and with this Fund 2 the team plans to expand further.
NZGCP’s Chief Investment Officer James Pinner said it was exciting to be announcing a conditional allocation to Blackbird NZ Fund 2, which is expected to be significantly larger than Blackbird’s first New Zealand fund.
“The size of this second fund validates the opportunity set that we and other managers are seeing coming through and enables Kiwi start-ups to get access to more domestic capital, particularly at the Series A/B stage.
“With the recent first close of Blackbird’s latest Australian core fund and their follow-on fund which will invest across New Zealand and Australia, we believe this provides significant potential to accelerate the growth of some of New Zealand’s most promising start-ups.
“Blackbird has established a strong and growing presence in New Zealand under the leadership of Sam Wong and there is a genuine commitment from the entire Blackbird partnership in supporting Kiwi start-ups to become major successes.
“We see some very exciting companies already in Blackbird’s portfolio and the extremely strong feedback from founders that they have already invested in, especially with regard to Blackbird’s support and founder community-based approach, has been very pleasing to see”.
General Partner of Blackbird Samantha Wong said “The investment commitment from such a respected institution is incredibly humbling. The level of support also reinforces the belief which drove us to set up in Aotearoa in 2019: Kiwi founders are up there with the best in the world.”
Mr Pinner said that this is Elevate’s first follow-on fund investment.
“It aligns with our hope that the funds we have invested in will grow with each vintage. The recent growth in the number and size of New Zealand venture funds is a very positive sign for the future of the New Zealand venture landscape and an endorsement of the quality and quantity of our maturing start-ups,” he said.
“The number of emerging and maturing venture managers has significantly changed over the last three years since Elevate was launched and we are still encouraged by the interest this space is generating domestically and internationally. It is also really encouraging to see early signs of more institutional investment into this space and we hope more will follow.”
Since its establishment in March 2020, the Elevate Fund has made total commitments of over $194 million which we expect (at final close of the two recent funds invested in) will have been matched by almost $700 million of private capital. Elevate is a $300m fund of funds program which looks to fill the capital gap for high-growth New Zealand businesses at the Series A and B fund raising stage. Elevate’s objectives are to stimulate a functioning venture capital industry and make sure that high-growth New Zealand businesses have access to the capital and connections that they need in order to be successful. It is managed by NZGCP with oversight from the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation.
NZGCP media contact: David Lewis 021 976 119