The Launch of Icehouse Ventures
I joined The Icehouse ten years ago. The first thing that inspired me was the calibre of the people involved. 100s of entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders lined up to contribute to our mission of creating a high performing New Zealand economy where ideas and businesses thrive.
Our opportunity (& challenge) has always been to truly harness the expertise and resources of our network. We have leveraged many tools to do so. We incentivise them, inspire them, provide them an identity, and simply beg them.
As an investor in >80 startups, I have seen ample evidence that the most effective tool to harness the firepower and willpower of others is to align them with equity. That has not been an option for us. Until now.
Today we announce the establishment of Icehouse Ventures. As the investment arm of The Icehouse, the Icehouse Ventures group includes the Ice Angels and ArcAngels investor networks, Tuhua Ventures, Eden Ventures, First Cut Ventures, a variety of passive funds, and the Flux Accelerator. We have collectively invested >$100m into 165 Kiwi startups.
Icehouse Ventures is launching with $3m in investment from Simplicity Kiwisaver, FNZC, and Sir Stephen Tindall’s K1W1. I cannot imagine a more iconic and aligned set of lead investors. We will raise an additional $1m from the amazing angel investors within our community.
The investment is about enabling us to significantly increase the support we provide to startups. This capital will afford more resources and templates, a larger and more relevant global network, increasing investment for startups by growing our community of active investors and our managed funds, and more high pedigree team members and fund Partners to provide hands-on support.
However, this capital raise is not just about financial capital. It’s about intellectual capital. Financial capital keeps the lights on. Intellectual capital underpins bold missions. Financial capital seeks an ROI. Intellectual capital creates an ROI. Financial capital is finite. Intellectual capital is infinite.
I have always admired the virtuousness that founders benefit from when they raise capital: they start with a bold vision and through the process of convincing investors and team members to believe it they become more emboldened. As a result, they are better able to harness the intellectual capital of their investors and team members. This has absolutely been our experience launching Icehouse Ventures. We are better off having simply gone through the process.
This is an exciting new chapter for us.
It was inspired by watching founders establish and pursue massive visions. It was enabled because founders gave us the chance to support and invest in their journeys. It was funded because Simplicity, FNZC, and K1W1 recognise the amazing impact founders can make on New Zealand’s future. Thanks to you all.
Ten years into this journey with The Icehouse I can conclude this: patience and persistence is highly rewarded in the startup ecosystem. It takes a ridiculously long time to build anything of meaning.
The support of Simplicity, FNZC, and K1W1 provides us the ability to remain patient and persistent. It positions us to build an institution that thrives by investing in and adding value to New Zealand’s leading startups over the coming decades. I feel super privileged to be a part of this mission.
CEO of Icehouse Ventures