Founders FAQs

Why we say no?
We respect the time of the founders we interact with. We respect our own time too. We know that one of the hardest part about fundraising is getting "venture nos", not a no but not a yes. This creates ambiguity, false hope and frankly wastes everyone's time. We are committed to being upfront, honest and clear with our feedback and we try and do that as fast as we can. In reality, we are all busy. We meet with hundreds if not a thousand new companies every year, so it's hard to get back to everyone immediately. But our ambition is to be as swift as we can be.

However, it's important to point out. If we say no, it doesn't mean we don't think your venture has merit and potential. Our view on ventures potential of being a successful company is not necessarily the same as what we say yes to as a fit for our funds. We have a certain investment thesis and a view to invest in very ambitious founders building global companies that have unique tech - 90% of companies don't fit this bill and for good reason. It's hard and risky. Sure the pay off could be great it if works, but there 's a tough road to get there. A few more thoughts: We are wrong as often as we are right. We are only making educated guesses based on limited information. The founder is always going to be 100x more informed than us about the market and the opportunity. Our opinion is only that, our opinion.
What’s the difference between seed and pre-seed?
What's the difference between pre-seed and seed investment?
At Icehouse Ventures we consider the purpose of a pre-seed round to be for product development in order to demonstrate that your solution meets a market need. The size of the raise is usually between $200K - $1M, on a convertible note or at a $3M - $4M valuation. At the stage of a seed round it's expected that the initial core team have already validated their value proposition and are using the funding to prove product-market fit and prepare to scale. The raise is expected to be between $1M - $4M at a $3M -$10M valuation.
Do you have area of focus?
We invest in a range of ventures from spaceplanes that deliver satellites to space, or large scale energy storage systems and a lot of innovations in-between. Our focus is typically on startups in the tech space, software as a service for consumers or enterprises, and hardware product companies. We don't often, but have invested in consumer products, service businesses and biotech/pharma companies.
What is your investment Strategy?
We invest in companies that have established product market fit and are ready to scale. To date, we have over $3 billion under management across 45 active consumer and enterprise companies.

We offer bespoke, tailor-made help and engagement for each of our investments. We are patient capital holders and have a track record of supporting our companies in follow-on rounds and through IPO. We invest globally; we have investments in companies in Europe, China and India.
Do you have a minimum threshold (revenue scale,
growth, etc) that you look for?
No, as growth investors we have a flexible mandate - there are no hard and fast rules. We’re largely looking for companies that have established product market fit and are ready to accelerate growth.
Do you sign NDAs?
As a general rule, like most VC firms, we do not sign NDAs - here is an article that helps to explain why.

There is the odd exception, for example, if we needed to examine source code of a software product or examine the novel IP of a deep tech company.

Moreover, our history stretches back 18 years – and we have never been accused by a founder of impropriety of their IP. You can imagine what would happen to our brand equity in the small NZ early-stage ecosystem if we behaved improperly.
Do you have a responsible investment policy?
Yes. We believe that the ventures our founders build will shape the world we live in, and we want that shaping to make a positive impact. Accordingly, we are committed to investing responsibly. Read our responsible investment policy.

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