Nuance fund receives $17m NZGCP commitment

/ News / 27 Sep 2021 / Shelley Johnston

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New Zealand Growth Capital Partners (NZGCP) today announced a $17 million commitment by its Elevate Fund to Nuance Connected Capital, a new Auckland and Tauranga-based venture capital fund manager.

With the Elevate funding, Nuance has raised $55 million so far for its first venture capital fund, with a cornerstone commitment from Alvarium Investments. The fund is open until March 2022.

This is NZGCP’s sixth investment via the Elevate Fund and takes Elevate’s total commitments so far to $157 million. Combined with the private capital raised by fund managers, almost $600 million has been raised to invest in New Zealand startups at Series A/B since NZGCP launched the Government backed Elevate Fund in March 2020.

NZGCP Acting CEO and Elevate Investment Director James Pinner said that the Nuance fund represents a significant commitment from the private sector to invest in deep tech ventures, which aim to solve large societal challenges - like climate change - using emerging technologies like synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, or quantum technologies.

“The Nuance team is focused on using their investment experience and international connections to invest in deep tech innovations which find better, smarter, faster and cleaner ways to improve our daily lives. The likes of Lanzatech, PowerbyProxi, Aroa Biosurgery and Rocket Labs have shown that deep tech ventures can deliver significant solutions and also significant value to New Zealand investors.”

“Of the six New Zealand venture capital funds Elevate has made commitments to, four have been experienced VC managers and two – Nuance and Pacific Channel – have been experienced portfolio managers, angel investors and offshore fund managers transitioning to be first-time New Zealand VC managers. It is pleasing to see the developing mix of experience and new talent in our early stage investment space. We are also pleased with the mix of sectors covered by the Underlying Funds that we have invested in with three non-generalist funds (Pacific Channel, Nuance and Finistere) and three more generalist funds.”

Nuance’s two general partners, Ngaio Merrick and Adrien Gheur, have been investing in New Zealand and international early-stage companies for a number of years.

Merrick says “A decade of managing investments for Sir David Levene has fired up my passion for working with deep tech early-stage entrepreneurs in an eco-system which is collaborative, energetic and highly skilled. We went live on 14th May and are making our fourth investment this month. There is significant, quality deep tech dealflow in New Zealand focussed on solving global problems and we are thrilled to be joining them on their journey to success”

“We are grateful to Elevate for their faith in us through co-investment and also for the very thorough Due Diligence process which has helped us with best practice from the start. We look forward to making a significant financial return to the New Zealand government while contributing to a better future for every-one.”

Adrien Gheur says “Coming from 15 years in South East Asia running venture funds, I have been conscious of the emerging world’s enormous digital-first market in need of true deep tech solutions.  Inversely, I have seen enormous levels of innovation in New Zealand with a need for mass markets, so it was logical to me to combine the two and run a fund in NZ connecting start-ups directly to the rest of the world. I am thrilled with Elevate’s commitment and am excited to promote Nuance as a NZ government backed fund to offshore investors.”




Was established by the Government to build a vibrant early-stage investment market in New Zealand. It currently has two investment vehicles – the Aspire NZ Seed Fund (Aspire) which is focused on seed and angel investment, and the Elevate NZ Venture Fund.

The Elevate fund is a $300m fund of funds programme that looks to fill the capital gap for high-growth New Zealand businesses at the Series A and B fundraising stage by helping to develop New Zealand’s venture sector. It is managed by NZGCP, with oversight from the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation.


Nuance Connected Capital

Nuance Connected Capital is an Auckland and Tauranga-based first time Venture Capital manager specialising in deep tech and headed by two GPs, Ngaio Merrick and Adrien Gheur. Ngaio has been an active investor and investment manager for many years and Adrien is an Edmond Hillary Foundation member with experience in fund management in Indonesia and Singapore. Nuance’s advisory board includes experienced US investor Dino Vendetti and the fund is supported by large international family office, Alvarium.




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