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US tech investor's $15m kiwi contribution

23 Mar 2012

The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) has announced a partnership with US tech investor Peter Thiel’s VC company, Valar Ventures, that will result in the creation of a $40 million venture capital fund for early-stage kiwi tech companies.

Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and one of the first outside investors in Facebook, is contributing $15 million to the Valar Ventures LP scheme, with $20 million coming from NZVIF and $5 million from other New Zealand investors.

Valar Ventures’ Andrew McCormack says he has seen how New Zealand’s startup ecosystem is ‘flourishing’ through his work with ‘globally focussed technology companies like Xero’.

"We were drawn to invest in New Zealand because of the vision and hard work of entrepreneurs like Sam Morgan and Rod Drury, incubators such as the Icehouse, and government initiatives like the NZVIF,” McCormack says.

"New Zealand has good technical talent and an attractive cost base, and we’re looking forward to strengthening the ties between Silicon Valley and New Zealand.”

NZVIF chief executive Franceska Banga says Valar Ventures’ involvement will also help kiwi tech companies break into international markets.

"For web-based technology companies especially, the major market is the United States,” Banga says.

"That is where Valar Ventures’ networks – whether in Silicon Valley or on Wall Street – will be significant.

"Valar Ventures also brings considerable experience to bear on behalf of their portfolio companies. Their team has been through every stage of the start-up process, from inception to IPO, and they have the financial resources to fund companies throughout their growth stages.”

Go here to check out the NZVIF website.