The non-visible community

Today we saw an announcement that Optimizer HQ has raised $4 million from local and offshore investors. They are apparently considering an IPO, but needed cash to tide them over for the next few months.

For me Optimizer HQ, who have 60 staff here and offshore, comes out of nowhere, from the non-aligned community or non visible community in the diagram below.

I know very little about them aside from what I can read on their websites, but it’s yet another sign that the number and size of the early stage and growth companies in the innovation sector is a lot bigger than anyone has yet recorded. The NZ Young Company Index, which VIF reports, records around $36 million of investment goes into the sector each year. My own belief is that substantially more than that is being invested, and that there is also even more substantial pent up demand from quality companies.

About Lance Wiggs

@lancewiggs
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2 Responses to The non-visible community

  1. While it’s little more than a hunch, I have a pretty strong feeling that the companies interacting with T&E, Incubators and MBIE represent an unhealthy subset of the high tech sector as a whole.

    Either run-away successes which they’re very keen to serve (Xero etc.), or … lower performing … companies which are very dependent on the continued flow of grants and funding for continued operation.

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  2. Thanks for the post Lance.

    Reading Michael’s comment above… I think I can feel where he’s coming from. A lot of people I speak with around the world that have had a run with NZTE had similar sentiments to share.
    However, I have to say…organizations like NZTE are needed in the market to facilitate growth and expansion and in recent months I have seen a transformation in their approach toward new entrants and companies that were not on the radar previously. I have personally experienced first hand, a change in their approach with us where 2 years ago they didn’t want to answer the phone, now they are working closely with us to help with our expansion in several markets.

    I think they want to see you making an effort first. They are not going to roll out a red carpet for anyone or open up their CRM for you to tap into their network… they want to see you are actually out there, pounding the pavement, making your own fortune (however small) and getting runs on the board. Not unfair, I say.

    NZTE has come a long way and I would encourage anyone wanting to expand into a new market (or even grow locally) to engage them early. From my personal experience, I got more traction meeting with the NZTE counterparts in offshore offices than I did with the local team… so don’t discount them…that’s all I am saying.

    As for some of the decorated incubator and angel programs around Auckland and Wellington, some of them (that I know of) need to rethink their purpose and existence…I think some of your readers might know what to add after this statement !

    Also, I believe what you’re saying Lance has some truth in it. Far more than $36 million is likely being pumped into these young companies you’re talking about. A lot of it though is probably coming from off-shore sources and being pumped into offshore subsidiaries that are using it to continue expansion in offshore markets. As a result New Zealand never sees that money and hence unable to report on it.

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