Innovation and Failure – IITP speech

On Friday afternoon, just as Punakaiki Fund was closing well short of the $5 million minimum, I gave a speech (video) to close out the IITP annual conference. I was asked to talk about innovation and to be inspiring as the conference ended.

It was a tough call as the spectre of a public failure hovered over me, and as I felt even more disappointed that we would not be able to fund any of the many great companies who need smart money to accelerate growth.

But then I realised, as I put the speech together, that despite the failure of Punakaiki Fund, and of Pacific Fibre before that, that I’m proud to have been involved in both endeavours, that they both proved a market need and that I’ve learned a vast amount while staying true to my own standards.

I asked the audience members to consider whether or not they are working for an organisation that is seeking to change the world, and almost nobody could say that. Only a third could say they were working for an organisation seeking to improve the lives of their end users, which I find quite sad. I challenged everyone there to lift their standards, and to work within their business to change the world, the country and their end users lives – or to get out. The future economy of New Zealand will be driven in large part by the ICT sector, and we all need to stand up and take risks.

The worst thing that can result  from trying innovation is failure. It’s happened to me twice in a row now, and look – I’m still here.

Published by Lance Wiggs


12 replies on “Innovation and Failure – IITP speech”

      1. Why do you think that is given Geo Op was 3 times oversubscribed. Do you think it was the unknown nature of what they were investing into (not just your fund, but what investments your fund would make). I dont currently have NBR access in case you have already covered it there.

        With the change to crowdsourcing rules in NZ, do you think that will open the option for you to do syndicate type deals like Angellist has started doing – no annual fee but the carry will still be there.


  1. “The worst thing that can result from trying innovation is failure. It’s happened to me twice in a row now, and look – I’m still here.”

    That’s an awesome quote, hopefully more entrepreneurs can develop the thick skin you have. Sorry you didn’t get it away but bravo for trying.


  2. Im not even sure there was a lack of local investors, I think maybe a lack of local investors educated enough in investment to ‘get it’. From my conversations with people outside of tech, they are TOTALLY unused to investing in anything outside of property and were really excited about the prospect of Punakaiki, but maybe didn’t invest the amount of cash they would had they been more used to investing in the sharemarket in general?

    Anyway, as always, the biggest failure is sitting back ripping into those trying to get something off the ground. For what it’s worth, you always have my huge respect, regardless of the outcome.


  3. Lance! How can you say you were involved in ‘failures’ when your humble, determined and willing example to put in the HARD YARDS going into bat for novices and new comers to the world of IT such as us has been inspirational and has given us hope that we count, to some! We are 100% determined to follow your example and work equally hard as we ARE an organisation that is seeking to change the world, to improve the lives of our end users, and by proxy the world!” Thank you Lance for trying your damdest and for giving us a measuring stick for true success!


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