Paul Matthews at 12:52 on Thursday, July 15. 2010 in NZCS Blog Despite what appears to be a big-budget lobbying effort by the pro-patent fraternity, Hon Simon Power announced today that he wouldn’t be modifying the proposed Patents Bill hence software will be unpatentable once the Bill passes into law.
This is significant. As we’ve previously pointed out software patents aren’t black and white, and there are certainly pros and cons. However on balance, we believe they represent a far greater risk to smaller NZ-based software providers than opportunity, and there are many cases where they have significantly stifled innovation.
We believe it’s near impossible for software to be developed without breaching some of the hundreds of thousands of software patents awarded around the world, hence many software companies in New Zealand, creating outstanding and innovative software, live a constant risk that their entire business will be wound up overnight due to litigious action by a patent holder.
In an update from Silicon valley a new VC firm has been launched.
“Andreessen, a co-founder of Netscape, knows a thing or two about what young, inexperienced, brainstorming whiz kids might face in the big bad world.
Netscape’s appearance in the mid-1990s is considered the internet’s Big Bang. Netscape served up the first eye-popping IPO of what was to become the dot-com boom and at one point its eponymous browser had 90% of the market.”
Marc Andreessen launched Boutique Venture Capital Firm with business partner Ben Horowitz VC fund last Monday with an initial capitalization of $300 million that the pair intends to invest in “anything that involves chips and computers” at a clip of $50,000 to $50 million per start-up.
“they they won’t invest in anything they don’t understand, period. This includes a lot of “cool stuff,” the eternally-boyish Andreessen explains, like clean and nano technology.
If you get to make a pitch a decision won’t be long in coming because it’s only the two partners deciding. But don’t bother to cold e-mail them with your Google-killing idea. You need an invitation to this party — a referral from somebody you both know and that they respect. This rule, however — more bean-counter than dreamer-friendly — is pretty much disposed of almost as quickly as it is enunciated. “We’ll probably read the e-mail,” they say, shrugging and shooting each other a look after a moment’s reflection.”
Continue reading over here Marc Andreessen Forms Boutique Venture Capital Firm
Companies trading with the United States are invited to enter the 2009 American Chamber of Commerce – DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards, held in conjunction with Qantas Airways. Over the last nine years prizes valued at more than $300,000 have been collected by winners.
The awards celebrate business achievement between New Zealand and its second largest trading partner, the United States. Award winners receive a travel voucher worth NZ$2,500 to be spent through Business World Travel, on air travel to the USA on Qantas Airways.
Award winners will be announced at a gala dinner at the Hyatt Regency Auckland on 3 September.
Awards categories are:
- Exporter of the Year to the USA – with export revenues to the USA up to $500,000
- Exporter of the Year to the USA – revenues from $501,000 to $5 million and
- Exporter of the Year to the USA – revenues over $5 million
- Importer of the Year from the USA
- Investor of the Year for New Zealand companies investing in the US, as well as US companies investing in New Zealand
A Supreme Award winner is selected from winners of each of these awards. AmCham also makes an award to the Supporter of the Year.
Entries close at 5.00 pm on 30 June. Finalists will be announced on 31 July and the winners announced at the black tie awards dinner on 3 September.
We have changed the criteria and previous winners are now eligible to re-enter the awards.
Previous winners of the Supreme Award have included ZESPRI International, Peace Software, Airways Corporation, HumanWare, Tenon, Orion Systems International, Zeacom, Specialist Marine Interiors & Fonterra.
In addition to AmCham, DHL Express and Qantas Airways, the awards are supported by: Baldwins, Ernst & Young, and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise.
New Zealand should focus on increasing the number of small, early-stage, high-growth companies fourfold by 2015 rather than aspiring to have five Fonterras in place by the same deadline.
“It (Metro Innovation Project) isolates early stage investing as critical to New Zealand’s goal of getting back into the top half of the OECD’s economic rankings. “Achieving this requires five companies of an equivalent size to Fonterra or 3000 ‘globally capable & competitive’ firms – four times the current number.
Five Fonterras is unlikely and unrealistic, therefore four times the number of ‘globally capable & competitive’ firms by 2015 needs to be the goal.”
That’s the thrust of the Metro Innovation Project chaired by Andy Hamilton.
The investment culture in NZ is different to overseas in that most early-stage companies attracted angel funding first, and then venture capital came later.
Hamilton: “The reality is that the venture capital model is much challenged internationally and in NZ it’s no different. They’re struggling to get the returns and the support from the institutional investors, whereas there’s a lot of angel money and people with angel money out there.”
“It’s easier to get angel money for start-ups: the problem though is that a lot of these angel companies will go on and need a lot of capital, which is where VC comes in and why that is actually very important.”