From Raglan with love: Blake Richardson on investing in biodiversity, housing and disagreements

Punakaiki Fund board member Blake Richardson lives in Raglan with his young family, a clutch of chickens and fledgling, wind-battered native forest. On a sunny day we asked Blake to share his investment approach.

What are you finding interesting, right now?

I’m on the PFL board because I’m interested in early-stage Kiwi tech. I think PFL plays an important role in the tech scene and the tech sector plays important role in the economy.  I’m interested in ventures where I can add value, which typically means getting in early.

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Run Weirdly! Run! Weirdly experiences 2021 recruitment tailwind

In the third of our Founders’ Series, Vincent Heeringa spoke to Weirdly’s Keren Phillips about the wave of recruitment happening in 2021. It seems that lots of companies are hiring and they want Weirdly to do it. How nice!

So, Keren, how has your 2021 started?

It’s started strong! We’ve had a wave of RFP requests and expansion pitches off the back of some successful Covid-period pilots, as well as a couple of key hires coming onboard to lift our team’s overall productivity. We’ve released two big product features that will be invaluable to our customers and instrumental in winning new business – the ability to send and manage contracts and offer documents at scale is a key one here. We’ve also completed the first stage of a huge project to streamline our customer onboarding process, cutting the time it takes to bring on or expand new business significantly.

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Sale of Vend for US$350 Million

Today Lightspeed announced that it will acquire Vend for US$350 million ($485m in NZD at Friday’s exchange rate). The press release is below, and there is also a Lightspeed investor presentation.

The sale was covered by NZHerald (and here), Stuff and NBR. Following the announcement the price of the  Lightspeed shares rose, which, if sustained, will add to the value of the transaction in dollar terms.

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Devoli shines in Contact Energy interim reporting

Contact Energy posted a wicked result for Punakaiki investee company Devoli in its interim result. At the end of January 2021, the energy retailer reported 40,000 broadband customers, up 90% over January 2020’s reported 21,000 customers. Most of the customers were added using Devoli’s virtual ISP system.

Devoli is one of PFL’s largest investments. It’s a provider of software and network services for internet service providers. Devoli won Contact Energy’s business in 2020, with new customers being provisioned by Devoli from mid-year, and the full handover of customers completing near the end of the calendar year.

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Investment trends in 2021: Power grabs and new ways to work


In the first of a new series we ask the team at LWCM for their analyses of the investment year ahead. Taking the microphone first is Nadine Hill, our investment manager. With a background in M&A and banking and a good time working with high-growth companies at NZTE, Nadine can see an opportunity at fifty paces. So what’s on her agenda in 2021?

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Punakaiki makes two new investments

It’s a sunny start to the year in Aotearoa – and also here at Punakaiki Fund. We are very happy to announce that we used half of the proceeds of the December 2020 retail offer to make two investments, into Weirdly and Get Home Safe, each just before the Christmas break.

Get Home Safe

Get Home Safe is a new investment for Punakaiki Fund. The company helps ensure that lone workers are safe, by allowing those workers to check in and out when they are working remotely.  It provides support to over 10,000 people across ~250 customers, mainly in New Zealand and increasingly in Australia, as well as in the USA and Canada. Their clients include local government entities, health and social care operators, security firms, utilities and much more.

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Punakaiki Rocks! (or 140.9m reasons to invest in our offer)

Punakaiki does indeed rock. We could have chosen 140.9 million reasons why but that would be too easy. Instead we’ve chosen four. It helps focus the mind. 

By the way, our 2020 Retail Offer closes Thursday 17 at precisely 11:59pm. That’s toady!  Remember to read the PDS before making any investment decisions.

Read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)

Invest now:

To help convince you to invest, here are 4 great reasons to join in the offer.

1. Invest directly into 14 great companies
Punakaiki Fund puts your capital directly into our 14 companies. And we stay with them. Our aim is to invest, hold and nurture these awesome companies and enjoy their success as they grow. Half of the funds raised in this round will be invested in the existing portfolio. The other half will be used to find new, high-growth companies.

2. The VC sector is undervalued
Unlike other asset classes, such as property and the sharemarket, the New Zealand venture capital market has not experienced rapid rises in valuations in recent years. However Australian VCs and a series of new funds are arriving, with some already actively investing, and obviously international VCs have noted the success of both Australian and New Zealand start-ups. Now’s a great time to invest in New Zealand tech.

3. Our companies are proving to be robust
Despite the turbulent year our 14 companies continued to grow their revenues and in some cases showed spectacular success. For example, Mobi2Go experienced huge growth due to the demand for home delivery of food during lockdown. The total revenue for our companies now exceeds $140m. 

4. You get bragging rights (and the returns)
One of the great bits of feedback we get is that investors love being involved in the tech sector. People want to see IP invented here, staff employed here, taxes being paid and prospects for young talent. That said, we also deliver returns. Our investments have returned to Gross Internal Rate of Return of 23.4%, and overall a 94% increase in value to date. This is despite writing down and/or selling lower performing investments.  

Remember: Read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)

Invest now:

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