The premise is simple – your energy and ambitions and our expertise and resources combine to build your company more quickly than you would be able to on your own.
We put resource behind our founders to help (in rough order of priority)
- Build a product that your customers love
- Repeatedly acquire new customers and grow
- Build a great team (board, advisors, employees)
- Raise further capital from the next best set of investors
Flux helps you accelerate the growth of your company by investing capital and providing
space, perks and guidance for your team from Flux staff and mentors. Startups chosen for our 2018 program will join us at our dedicated co-working space in Parnell from February – July 2018. Our staff and mentors help each company set and achieve key operating milestones that put teams in the best position to succeed. We help teams raise further funding (including from our own Demo Day) to fuel the next stage of their growth.
Read this explainer for an overview of the 6 months by our Accelerator Manager.
We do not charge you any fees to participate in the Flux programme. We do invest $50-100k in your company at the beginning of Flux in exchange for 5-10% of your company.
The key benefits for your company from the Flux programme are:
Reduce Burn, Increase Resource– Our investment adds to your working capital and the perks we provide founder (including rent-free office space, AWS credits, and free or reduced cost legal services) help you keep your burn rate down. And that doesn’t account for the free resource provided by leveraging our staff and mentors, including our interns who operate like on-demand members of your team on UX, analytics, development, beta testing & sales projects.
Retain Focus on What Matters – As a startup you will always have too many things you could do. We help you figure out the three or four things that really move the needle and create value. We also help you figure out how to measure your progress with the right metrics, and we keep you honest about whether you are on track or not.
On- Demand Expertise – We have an ability to bring in experts as needed to help you navigate key challenges. Starting with our staff, who bring years of experience working in and with startups, later stage growth companies and venture capital firms. They extend to our large mentor pool which includes founders and senior staff of growth companies or startups, to domain experts in areas like product management and development, marketing, sales, finance, intellectual property, recruiting and more. Chances are we can quickly hook you up with people who have already faced the challenge you are confronting.
Community – When you participate in Flux, you become part of the Flux community. Our companies tell us that being around other driven teams during the programme is hugely valuable, as they all learn from each other and share the ups and downs of building a startup. After the programme, these relationships continue and our alumni often “pay back” by assisting the newest crop of Flux companies. And your community doesn’t stop with Flux. Flux is part of the much larger Icehouse community, which includes startup alumni of investing groups ICE Angels, Tuhua Ventures, First Cut Ventures, ArcAngels, Eden Ventures and more.
Positioning for Further Fundraising – We know that building high-growth ventures often requires more capital to continue building your company. A core part of the Flux program is ensuring you are in the best position to raise your next round from investors you actually want to work with. This starts with helping you select and hit milestones you can accomplish that future investors will be expecting e.g., validating market demand if you are pre-product, shipping your MVP, conducting market trials, building a lead gen-machine, figuring out repeatable (more ideally efficient) sales processes and attracting genuine talent to the company. We help all our companies prepare and execute their next financing event with a focus on attracting a great lead investor and/or board members to join. Finally, we organise a Demo Day where you have the opportunity to pitch to 400+ investors. This includes representatives from all our own groups and funds including ICE Angels, Tuhua Ventures, ArcAngels, Eden Ventures, First Cut Ventures and GD1. And our work doesn’t stop there – we have also helped Flux companies to connect with international investors. With 100+ Alumni via ICE Angels we are able to make warm referrals to international VC’s, angels or HNW’s where we have a relationship via our existing portfolio companies.
We choose a company for Flux because we believe the team are going after a big problem/market with a unique solution and the team are both capable and committed to building the company. The particular industry (e.g. ag-tech, enterprise marketing) or type of solution (e.g. hardware vs. software) doesn’t matter as long as we get comfortable about the product, market and team. That said, domain expertise in your industry or with your type of solution is valuable to helping your company go faster.
Our team have experience with companies operating in a wide range of industries and where we don’t have direct experience in your space, we find people in our networks who are domain experts to help us evaluate and work with you. We also appreciate that some types of companies require us to work with them differently. For instance, if you are a hardware company and need to spend time at an external workspace, we can accommodate that.
We want to work with the best teams working on the best ideas, period. Regardless of whether they are a) getting started and still have to develop the product, b) have an MVP and need to establish product-market fit, or c) generating revenue and are focusing on building repeatable and scalable sales. We accelerate the progress of all of these companies between the collective experience of our staff and mentors. We want to work with the best companies regardless of stage, so we customize our advice and support to each startup based on what they need. That’s why we only work with 6-8 companies at a time.
While the entire company does not need to be based in Auckland, the CEO and key team members should spend enough time with us in person to make participation worthwhile. We see significant benefit as teams work with their cohort and stay close with the Flux Partners. It’s part of what makes Flux special for our founders. We are a hub and it’s a fantastic spot to build relationships with mentors and investors while being connected with the wider Icehouse network. Historically, all startups have based their entire team at our office for a minimum of 6 months. However, the #1 priority for our founders is to be close to their customers. If you need to spend 2 months in San Francisco, Sydney, Singapore or Hamilton to be close with your customers, meet strategic investors or close to a partner, we are supportive of that. There are expectations to make weekly office hours (remotely), staying posted on our community Slack for opportunities, and (digital) participation in Friday community sessions where possible. If you have questions or an existing team that can’t all relocate, the best bet is to reach out and chat with our team. If you are not based in NZ, and don’t have the ability to spend any time in Auckland, Flux is probably not for you.
We invest in every company that works with Flux. Our fund is backed by mentors, private investors from our network and The Icehouse, reflecting our commitment to your success. We have flexibility to invest $50-100k into your startup for between 5 – 10% equity.
If your company requires more than $100k to achieve important milestones during Flux, we are able to syndicate with your existing investors or put together a larger financing with our affiliated Icehouse funds. In general, we are careful not to invest more than what the business needs to get to its next round, as we do not want to dilute you more than necessary.
We want to work with the best founders, period. We know a “one-size-fits-all” model won’t work in NZ. The density of high calibre teams starting out at any one time doesn’t yet exist due to a) our technology sector being relatively young globally and b) factor of a small population. We can work with a company at any stage assuming it makes economic sense for the founding team and fits our investment criteria. We can back hungry young dropouts with an idea, early prototype or MVP in development who are looking to speed up development, seasoned operators dropping out to launch their next venture or established startups looking to scale up. Flux I ranged from solo founders who were pre-revenue, looking to build product, acquire their first customers and build their team, to established teams doing $30k p/m in revenue and ready to scale up sales, marketing and launch a new product. We are happy to lead the first investment into a company and are open to founders who have already raised capital. Contact email@example.com to find out more.
Sure. Many of our teams in Flux 2017 had already had raised small rounds and brought on Flux as an investor to accelerate their progress.
Absolutely. We try pay it forward as much as possible, and are happy to help founders early. The majority of teams we meet, we won’t invest in, but still aim to help with introductions, hashing out a problem or simply sharing our perspective. Outside of Flux we have a number of other initiatives to help new ventures find talent, customers or work through issues and can refer you to our network for more relevant help.
We know that good companies are driven by long term vision and short term execution. We are looking for people with vision – of a business built on a unique insight or advantage into a big market – and, maybe even more importantly, with the ability and desire to execute on this vision as a team. Building a startup is not for the faint-hearted. We are looking for people with tenacity and dedication. We are looking for drive, hunger and a desire to move quickly. We are looking for people with strong opinions, loosely held – those open to new ideas and making decisions based on data. We are looking for people that are brutally honest with themselves. Bottom line, we are looking for people that get shit done.
Yes, although we do have a bias towards more complete teams. Time during Flux is largely spent building your company – talking with customers, building product, user-testing, raising capital, marketing, recruiting and more. Adding in a weekly 1:1, attending a Friday speaker session over lunch or working through an issue with your mentor group, this can quickly reduce the effectiveness of one person to execute and stay focused. We see teams who can divide and conquer as those most likely to make progress and derive more benefit. But we have accepted solo founders in the past, and we encourage you to apply. We advocate that solo founders begin recruiting (or at least spend time searching for) co-founders from day 1 of Flux (and can help with this process).
We can’t get visas for your team but if you submit an application, are shortlisted, and can convince us why NZ is a realistic launch spot for your company, we will put you in touch with alumni who have been through this and immigration lawyers to discuss your options.
You will receive a decision on whether you’ve been shortlisted within a week. Shortlisted teams receive an invite to meet with the Flux Partners and go through a deeper Q&A.
Applications open: October 1 2018
Applications close: December 2 2018
Programme Start: February 2019
Demo Day: June 2019
Concludes: July 2019
We limit our annual cohort size to 6 companies. We make investments as and when we find teams that we want to support. It is likely we find 6 companies who fit our criteria during the application window, at which point we’ll close applications for Cohort 3. We encourage anyone interested to Apply ASAP. For those with further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We invest $50-100k in exchange for 5-10% of your company’s equity and we complete this investment as quickly as possible after you are accepted into the Flux programme. While rare, if your team demonstrates a clear need for more than $100k investment, we can co-invest alongside other investors you want involved or structure a larger financing involving other Icehouse investing entities.
Flux has three senior staff supported by the wider Icehouse Ventures startup team. Our Flux team are the people who will work most closely with you during the programme. We also have a group of ‘special ops’ graduates (high-achievers in UX, product-development or sales) who become a full-time resource for our startups between Feb – July.
Managing Partner @ Flux. Seed Partner @ Tuhua Ventures. Formerly co-founder and Managing Director of ILoveUgly (Deloitte Fast 50, 2014). Director: The Social Club.
Managing Partner. Former Managing Director at Granite Ventures (SF). A $500m+ venture fund with portfolio exits to Adobe, Cisco, QualComm and West Communications. Former partner at the Silicon Valley office of DLA Piper.
Co-Founder and Operating Partner at Flux. Board Observer at The Social Club. Early Uber NZ employee.
The Flux team are supported by a number of Icehouse staff:
Robbie Paul (CEO Ice Angels, Partner at Tuhua Ventures, Investor in 40+ Kiwi startups)
Andy Hamilton (CEO The Icehouse, Partner at Tuhua Ventures
Jack McQuire (Partner at First Cut Ventures, Tuhua Ventures & Network Manager of Ice Angels)
Mitali Purhoit (Manager: Arc Angels)
Jason Wang (Fund Manager: Eden Ventures)
The companies in Flux 2017 collectively have raised $3.29M with six out of six companies funded to date (Dec ’17).
Genoapay – Closed the largest round into a Kiwi accelerator company, raising $1m after Demo Day. Seed round led by ICE Angels & Tuhua Ventures (August 2017). Flux Mentors Mark Rushworth (former CEO of Paymark) joined as Chairman, Flux Mentor Rod Snodgrass (ex CEO Spark Ventures, Director JUCY Group) joined Board.
The Social Club – $300k seed. Currently raising $1m round (October 2017). More than doubled monthly revenue during Flux, built and shipped automated platform. ICE Angel Kevin Malloy (ex Chair ANZ at StarCom, Board at KiwiBank and TVNZ) is Chairman.
1Centre – Closed $845k (April 2017), Flux Mentor and active investor Ben Kepes (Chair at SwipedOn, CEO Diversity Ltd) joined Board of Directors.
VidApp – Signed major partnership deal with US ‘SVOD’ company. Closed $545k led by Flux Mentor Aidan Kenealy (EMGN) with participation from ICE Angels and Enterprise Angels. Mark Macleod-Smith (Programme Director Flux 2017) and Tom Furlong (ex Granite Ventures, Mentor in Residence) joined board.
Osnova – $600k round (closed October 2017) led by ICE Angel Graeme Bulling. Dave Moskowitz (Angel HQ) joined as Investor Director.
Jude – Opened Seed Round at Showcase (September 2017). Developed and shipped MVP to Beta Users during Flux. Lead mentors included Nick Houldsworth (formerly CMO at Vend), Graeme Ransley formerly COO at M-Comm (acquired by FiServ), Melissa Fletcher (formerly Head of Product Management at ANZ, Head of Marketing at The Warehouse) & Sam Stubbs (Founder Simplicity KiwiSaver).