Hamilton, New Zealand – 6 November, 2009 – AngelLink, a national angel investment network backing New Zealand high growth technology ventures, with an emphasis on life sciences, engineering and ICT, welcomes the inclusion of the Life Science Angels Network into its structure.  The move is designed to create greater scale and focus in the life sciences angel investment space.
AngelLink’s members include some of the country’s leading biotechnology and high technology investors including Movac, K1W1 and Sparkbox.  AngelLink has also partnered with the NZ Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) through its Seed Co-Investment Fund.
AngelLink Chairman Chris de Boer says, “Our national network of angel investors and international partnerships provide excellent leverage for high-growth potential start-up companies that are seeking to develop unproven markets or technologies.  Life sciences are a key part of AngelLink’s focus. The inclusion of the Life Science Angels Network helps AngelLink achieve greater scale and expertise in this area.  As a result we’ll see more investment activity in the life sciences space which will benefit the network and the sector in New Zealand.”
The Life Science Angels Network was created by a collaboration between NZBIO, ICE Angels and Auckland Plus to validate the concept of creating a virtual network of angel investors who are interested in investing in life science technology deals.
Andy Hamilton, Director, ICE Angels says, “When it comes to early stage funding there is a case for some sectors, such as life sciences, to have specialisation.  The ongoing viability of the sector depends on its ability to raise funds from a variety of sources and to complete value-creating deals. This access to funding is consistently one of the key constraints identified across the bioeconomy in New Zealand yet, based on international experiences angel investment has the ability to be a key part of the funding solution.”
“Having validated the need for The Life Science Angels Network we readily came to the conclusion that the natural home for the network was actually AngelLink as they already have in place a number of critical partnerships for deal flow in the life sciences space.  As a small country we need to take every opportunity to achieve scale.”
The merger will include all research, contacts and emerging international partnerships, including the Australian Life Science Angel Network, Life Science Angels Inc (USA) and Bansea, Singapore.
NZBIO, the national bioscience industry group, has applauded the transfer to AngelLink.
Chief Executive Bronwyn Dilley says, “AngelLink’s strong focus on life sciences and nationwide coverage will be further strengthened by the inclusion of the Life Science Angels Network.  Angel Investment is an important part of the investment landscape and a strong, focused approach is vital to the success of a mature New Zealand life science industry. It’s great to see AngelLink continue to gain momentum, as the result will be more early stage life science projects are spun out of the lab into the market with benefits to all.”
AngelLink, which was initiated by WaikatoLink, the commercial arm of the University of Waikato, connects investees to the full continuum of funding through its lifecycle from science to market spanning proof of concept, angel investment, early stage venture capital, expansion stage venture capital, and public markets.
AngelLink was launched at a function at NZX in August.  The Minister for Research, Science and Technology, Wayne Mapp was the guest of honour.
At the launch, WaikatoLink Chief Executive Mark Stuart said, “At an industry level there is a real need to make some improvements to generate more economic benefit from life sciences and technology research.  We need to start with the end in mind and bring the market in from the start. We need to encourage a co-ordinated approach and funding models that encourage collaboration rather than competition.  AngelLink represents a step change in early stage company investment by formalising visibility to upcoming investment opportunities to all of the partners across the investment continuum”.
Dr Mapp said, “The highest priority for the New Zealand Government is growth. Future opportunities will depend on innovation and entrepreneurship and much of this comes from fundamental science. AngelLink will connect research and investors with the intent of getting science to the marketplace. Our future prosperity depends on getting this right.”
The first Australasian Life Science Angels Network Meeting today in Queenstown, part of the annual summit organised by the Angel Association of New Zealand, is the setting for the first meeting between AngelLink, the Australian Life Science Angel Network and Bansea, Singapore.
For more on AngelLink see http://www.angellink.co.nz