New law sets up $300m Venture Capital Fund

New Zealand firms expanding beyond the start-up phase are set for more support after today’s passage of the Venture Capital Fund Bill, Associate Finance Minister David Parker said.

The Bill, which establishes a $300 million Venture Capital Fund, puts in place a key initiative of the Wellbeing Budget’s economic package.

“This Bill marks an important milestone in the establishment of this new fund.  New start-ups are well served by angel investors with some seed capital support from the Government, but mid-sized ones, between about $2 million and $20 million in size, often struggle to find a source of funding in New Zealand,” David Parker said. 

“The Venture Capital Fund will play an important role in building a more productive, inclusive and sustainable economy. New Zealand needs fast growing businesses operating in a healthy, well-capitalised venture capital market.

Developing early stage capital markets will strengthen the pipeline of innovative firms that have the potential to grow from New Zealand, generating employment, lifting productivity and economic growth and boosting international connections.

“I expect the fund will be leveraged by investments from the private sector, so far more than $300m will flow into the sector.  

“The effect will be to ensure more of our start-ups and are not forced to sell – or forced to sell too soon – because of the capital constraints they face.” 

The Fund will begin with $260m of available capital. The remaining $40m will be made available when required and is expected to support the fifth year of the Fund’s investment period. 

The Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation will oversee and monitor performance of the Fund. From early 2020, the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF), on behalf of the Guardians, will start formally engaging with private sector venture capital fund managers.  

Once appointed, those fund managers will invest in companies with capital from the Venture Capital Fund as well as from private investors.