Winning Off the Water
There’s only one thing Americans love more than the underdog – and that’s winners. So says Leon Grice, New Zealand’s consular general in Los Angeles, who believes imminent victory on San Franciscan waters will stand New Zealand businesses in good stead. Leveraging the America’s Cup into meaningful business success is the aim of nine Kiwi companies, part of a delegation seeking investment from US venture capitalists.
The nine were selected followed a Government-sponsored competition to win the right to pitch to investors at a special event at Emirates Team New Zealand’s base at pier 32.
All were technology-based companies, reflective of the fact that technology is the country’s fastest-growing, highest per capita earning industry. In the year to 2012, the country’s 200 largest technology companies grew 2.2% and recorded US$7.2 billion in sales.
They hope to raise more than US$80 million, although the group were realistic enough to make clear that they weren’t seeking signed cheques but to get on American investors radars so that, in a few years, partnerships can be formed.
The presentation received a favourable reception from Morgenthaler Ventures partner, Rebecca Lynn, who said she was impressed by the technology and the client list of the start-ups. She also predicted a positive outcome: “The America’s Cup gives New Zealand a platform to stand up and tell Silicon Valley what they’re all about.”