News and events

Tuhua raises $10 million to invest in promising kiwi start-ups

This article was published on 8 April 2016

The Icehouse and ICE Angels have announced the launch of a $10m fund called Tuhua which will invest in 25 leading kiwi start-ups over the next three years.

Tuhua will invest up to $1m per start-up with the fund already backing its first three; two of which are:
1. Avertana – Avertana extracts high value chemicals from industrial waste. Among others, they have developed a unique process for titanium dioxide extraction.
2. Nyriad – Nyriad is pioneering computing software that leverages GPU processors, replacing traditional CPUs, to rapidly compress and stream data.

The partnership between The Icehouse and the ICE Angels enables Tuhua to provide unprecedented amounts of resource and support to start-ups.

Matthew Simmons, CEO of Nyriad says, “The Tuhua fund has added another tier of high networking individuals with a vested interest in our company.” 

ICE Angels CEO, Robbie Paul, says the objective of the fund is to become a game changer in how ICE Angels and The Icehouse impact start-ups.

“The fund leverages the resources and infrastructure of The Icehouse and ICE Angels, which means it is well-equipped to grow portfolio companies.

“In addition to active Board members and Advisors, investees will have access to Board Observers (led by ICE Angels First Cut Ventures team) who are charged with unloading administrative tasks off of the founders, mining our networks for talent, and enabling data-based decision making by leveraging insights from our 97 investments. The start-ups will also have access to The Icehouse space in Parnell and its team.”

This value-add will be delivered as a result of a number of partnerships, including with the NZ Government’s Callaghan Innovation which provides significant year on year funding to support the operations of the Icehouse’s startup offerings.

Tuhua, Maori for obsidian, is volcanic glass created by the rapid cooling of lava. It was a prized tool used for hunting in New Zealand and has a rich history with the earliest known blades dating back to 700,000 BC. Well-crafted obsidian blades can have a cutting edge many times sharper than high-quality steel surgical scalpels.

Paul explains the significance behind the fund’s name, “The analogy of providing entrepreneurs “tools for the hunt” aligns with the Tuhua mission. The visualisation of “unpolished gems” is also appropriate: $4m of the $10m will be invested into seed stage start-ups that are still rough around the edges.” 

Tuhua was established in November 2015 with seven cornerstone investors: Ross Peat; Japan’s internet pioneer, Tim Williams; former PWC London Senior Corporate Finance Partner, Richard Burns; software entrepreneur, Dennis Row; The Icehouse CEO, Andy Hamilton; ICE Angels CEO, Robbie Paul. Tuhua has received investment from a network of world class kiwi business leaders including more than 50 ICE Angels’ members as well as a number of kiwi entrepreneurs, corporate executives and professional investors.

About ICE Angels
Established in 2003, ICE Angels is a network of start-up investors that collaborate to invest in and support exceptional teams that are exploiting global opportunities. 
www.iceangels.co.nz

About The Icehouse
Founded in 2001, The Icehouse is a business growth hub that works with a wide range of businesses at various stages of growth - from entrepreneurs launching new ventures through to successful owner-managers wanting to take their business to the next level. The Icehouse is owned by a not-for-profit trust and backed by the financial support and expertise of Callaghan Innovation and NZTE, and an extensive group of committed private sector partners.
www.theicehouse.co.nz