Investment disclosure of current listed investments along with private investments made in the last few years.
(updated October 2014)
I currently hold shares in the following publicly listed companies: Xero, Apple and Berkshire Hathaway.
Lance Wiggs Capital Management was co-founded by myself and Chris Humphreys to be a premier NZ investment manager for growth funds. It is the Manager for Punakaiki Fund Limited.
Punakaiki Fund Limited attempted a public offering in 2013, and failed to make the minimum stated in the prospectus. We gave the money back, waited a few months and quietly raised slightly over $1.5 million from private qualified investors, and have invested everything in four great companies: Timely, Vibe Communications, Mindscape and InfluxHQ. We are very excited about progress to date and are always investigating raising further capital.
Current Personal Investments
Listed below are the private companies where I have a direct or indirect personal shareholding. I have invested a combined total of over $780,000 in these and estimate my IRR is over 50%. It is very hard to value tightly held private investments, especially to do so publicly – suffice to say that I am very happy that the vast majority of my private investment dollars have been placed with successful companies.
Vend is a point of sale, inventory and customer software that retailers love to use. They are growing quickly, collecting awards and closed a round of over US$20m from some very smart investors in March 2014. I was an investor from the second round, sadly selling down slightly at the last round to pay back some of the money invested in trying to get the Punakaiki Fund public offer away. Vend are nearing 200 staff and always hiring even more awesome people.
Syft develops and markets machines that detect minute amounts of volatile organic compounds in air. The machines are used for occupational and environmental air quality monitoring, medical testing, oil and gas exploration and so forth. I wrote in 2013 about my small investment in Syft, which is not publicly listed but is tradable over the counter.
200Square is an online real estate agent founded by Grant Wakelin and several others. 200Square sells houses, and does so very efficiently, saving real estate agents’ time and removing expensive legacy industry costs. This is possible as 200Square has leapfrogged much of the traditional real estate practices while still retaining experienced agents who take care of the process of selling, negotiating and closing. I wrote about 200 Square in 2013.
Pocketsmith is a cloud based personal financial manager that brings a new level of functionality to people who are no longer content with products like Mint.com. The program imports your data from a variety of banks and other financial institutions, and allows you to project forward using powerful forecasting tools. Pocketsmith is continuously evolving and the team are doing an amazing job of making managing your money simple and easy. It’s the tool of choice for people migrating from BNZ Money Map or Xero Personal. Pocketsmith is run by founders James Wigglesworth and Jason Leong, and I covered the company in this post in 2013, but things have grown a lot since then, with an office and talented crews in Dunedin and Auckland.
Define Instruments designs and manufactures a range of electronic devices that allow you to intelligently control your machines. It was founded and is led by Anthony and Anna Glucina.
The products range from meters and displays through to transmitters and the Zen16 controller, and provide a simple way to control things like flow, weight and temperature. Define export to the world, and are opening an office in South Africa shortly, with more to come.
Define Instruments also designs electronic hardware and embedded software for a variety of OEM clients and industries and performs high quality contract manufacturing, including sourcing components, printing and assembling PCBs using SMT & wave soldering (non lead) technology, mechanical assembly, testing and packing. I wrote about the name change from Texmate NZ to Define Instruments and an update at the beginning of 2013.
Director, substantial minority shareholder.
Authentic Tours, trading as MyTours, allows museums and tourist authorities to create compelling iPhone, Android and Windows mobile apps from their own content. The apps are museum, walking and tour guides, and there are a host of them.
My Tours grew organically until this year, where we completed an internal funding round to increase speed. My Tours is lead by founder Glen Barnes, with an Auckland team, although he does travel a lot, and we have sold apps to institutions all over the world. Check out the Welly Walks iPhone app.
LTW Wiggs is a joint venture between Lance Wiggs Consulting and Lee Ter Wal design, which in turn was founded by Baruch Ter Wal and Shaun Lee. We hold a shareholding in Performance Labs (who were Highly Commended in the 2013 Hi Tech awards). I wrote about PLTech and the Arda Engine earlier in 2012. Performance Labs raised a round from Intel Capital earlier in 2014.
Lingopal developed mobile phone based translation applications. There are 44 languages, the normal phrases but also flirting and some pretty rude insults. We spent a lot of time and money developing a J2ME application (and a mobile app), but we were too early, and it was not until we launched an iPhone app in 2009 that we saw success. There are around 100 iPhone apps and almost the same number for Android. The main iPhone application is Lingopal 44, with 44 languages and over 900 phrases per language.
Lingopal was founded by my cousin in Perth, and attracted AU$700,000 in investment from VC firm Stoneridge Ventures and 2 substantial angels. Here’s the April 2009 post announcing the Lingopal iPhone app launch. And here’s a very short post visually showing the number of apps.
Director, minority shareholder.
PowerKiwi provided products through NZ’s online electricity store – Powershop. We had three products, the cheap and very cheerful FlowerPower, GreenPower – which purchased carbon offsets to account for customer’s share of thermal power generation, and Tree Power – where each 30 units planted a tree.
We sold several hundreds of millions of kWh (units) of electricity credits, generally representing just under a quarter of Powershop’s sales.
Powerkiwi was second in New Zealand’s 2012 Deloitte Fast 50, and 18th in the Asia Pacific Technology Fast 500. Here’s a post on the Fast50 and another on our size versus the market. Flowerpower was an extraordinarily low margin business, but was a fun ride and it was great to help Powershop. We sold the rights to our contract with Powershop back to them and the business has now (almost been) wound up.
Co-Founder, Director, majority shareholder.
Taggle (formerly Widentifi) is a VC backed (Stoneridge amongst others) Sydney based company concentrating on city-based location services. Their first products are water meters that give readings every few minutes versus once a year in the old manual process. They have thousands of water meters in various locations in Australia.
Allaboutthestory.com was a site founded by Julie Starr that matched high quality writers with editors looking to fill the gap in their newspapers, magazines and other media. We closed the business (post) after failing to prove that we could create a market.
Shareholder, former Director
Valuecruncher was founded by Wellington investment banker Mark Clare, and aimed to help you decide whether to buy or sell stocks. The front page of valuecruncher.com had suggested buys and sells, but the real power was that customers could dig into the numbers for each company, play with the forecast assumptions and create their own valuations. Valuecruncher failed to live up to the promise, and the assets were purchased by Pocketsmith.
Groupy Deals Limited
Groupy, founded by Scott Kitney, was the first group buying deal site in New Zealand. We sold the company after a few months to Yellow, who subsequently on-sold it to Daily Do. I also wrote a how-to post for launching Group-On clones.
Pacific Fibre was launched in 2010 to connect Australia and New Zealand to the USA with a high capacity fibre optic submarine cable. In a well covered story in NZ we failed to get through the final hurdle of raising the US$300m required. I still believe in the opportunity and have written a post for aspiring new entrants.
SafePlus was founded to help companies improve safety results through well designed compliance testing. A key founder, the Captain, Brian Wyness, passed away and we later decided to cease operations.
Co-founder, former Director