Kiwi VC Icehouse Ventures raises $10 million

- November 30, 2023 2 MIN READ
The Icehouse Ventures team
New Zealand’s most active venture capital firm Icehouse Ventures, says it has “VCed itself” after raising NZ$10 million (A$9.3m) in equity capital.

The raise was supported by business leaders and family offices across Aotearoa, as well as Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, and the US.

Icehouse’s backers are a who’s who of Kiwi startups, including Brooke Roberts (Sharesies), Philip Fierlinger (Upstock). Sean Molloy (Ternary Kinetics), Milot Zeqiri and Brittany Gribben (ArchiPro), Mike Carden (Joyous), Scott McPhee (Torque Bio), Anne Fulton (Fuel50), Jamie Beaton (Crimson Education), Guy Horrocks (Carnival & Solve), Will Barker (Mint Innovation), Derek Handley (Aera), Shaun Quincey (Simfuni), Andrew McPhee (Seene), and Tim Norton (90 Seconds).

While Icehouse has also raised NZ$95 million for its funds this year, with Growth Fund II nearing a close, the $10m is specifically for new hires to support their portfolio companies, including in legal, communications, HR, and finance, as well as technology such as data science for greater insights for portfolio companies and to improve the precision of the VC’s due diligence.

Icehouse Ventures CEO Robbie Paul said the cap table reflects the community’s buy-in to the firm’s mission to make technology New Zealand’s largest export.

“Even the investors who declined this opportunity shared an optimism for the bright future ahead for New Zealand’s startup community,” he said.

“The entire VC industry exists to enable businesses to grow faster and aim higher. Since our first capital raise in 2019, we have proven that equity capital can help us do the same and be a better partner to the most ambitious founders.”

In its four years since launching and raising NZ$5m in equity capital, Icehouse V has tripled its staff to 24, increased funds under management by fivefold, built a proprietary technology platform, and grown its valuation from $18m to $50m.

Growth Fund I backed 32 companies including Hnry, Tracksuit, Halter, and Crimson Education. The 32 companies generated more than $360m in aggregate revenue in the last year, an increase of $100m since last year.

Alongside its VC investments, Icehouse  partnered with Outset Ventures (which fired up Rocket Lab and Lanzatech), and added more alternative models such as its Brand Fund, in collaboration with Previously Unavailable.

Paul said they also plan to double down on the community building that’s made them Aotearoa’s favourite fund. They’ve hosted more than one event a week over the last two years, including the annual Showcase, the First Cut challenge, Careers of the Future, their Women Founders Retreat, and portfolio company bus tours that connect investors with Kiwi startups.

Meanwhile, the investor portal, set up three years ago with CTO Peter Thomson at the helm, has facilitated >$265k in investments per day into New Zealand startups since 2021.

“With 1,500 investors in our funds and 320 portfolio companies, we have proven that a large, diverse, and aligned network can provide unmatched support to founders,” Robbie Paul said.

“This capital raise- and in particular the great individuals providing the capital- help us build upon our network-led model.”

90 Seconds founder Tim Norton is one of the VC’s backers, saying it’s his chance to reinvest in the future of Aotearoa’s startup ecosystem.

“Icehouse Ventures has been a great investor in my company over the last seven years. I am excited to partner with them to back the next generation of Kiwi startups,” he said.

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