Both Chris and I have been both heartened and extremely thankful of how easy it is to do business in New Zealand *touch wood*! Lending from Dave Moskovitz, a well-respected and active Angel in NZ, presenting to US Angels: “…the World Bank rated NZ the 3rd easiest place to do business, and the easiest place in the world to start a business. Oh, and there’s no capital gains tax. The Angel community is close-knit and very friendly, even between nominally competing groups, and if you come for a visit we’ll all roll out the red carpet for you.”
Now despite the fact that we haven’t seen any red carpet (it’d probably get too wet in Wellington), this has all been true and they are all so friendly, helpful and polite. I think Chris may have even been at fault and bumped into a guy the other day who then proceeded to apologise profusely!
In all seriousness, yesterday we had lunch with the ED of the New Zealand Angel Association – Suse Reynolds and the Head of AngelHQ - Dave Allison and they were genuinely enthused and excited about the space and what NZ has to offer. Over a selection of the local seafood (don’t worry not high-end but lean startup-esque) we discussed the ecosystem and some of the success the Angel Association has achieved in programs it’s involved with and some of the investments made. It was great to meet some people who are excited about the future of funding innovative companies in NZ and how Equitise might be able to help!
Having started our trip a week ago in Auckland, we got a sense of how things might be and as we’ve met more people and lined up meetings with people we’re looking to forge some sort of relationship with, it’d become apparent how willing people are to help. New Zealanders seem to see the merit in an idea and look for positives, which is ultimately very refreshing and empowering to Startups. As someone said yesterday, it’s probably related to being on a small isolated island that is a long way from anywhere else!
Even prior to coming over to NZ, we had spoken with the Financial Markets Authority about our Equity Crowdfunding licence and they were most helpful and willing to interact with us. The process in getting our licence required us to apply for a couple of government ID’s as well as registering our business as an Overseas Registered Company (the trick is only Aussie companies can get this classification) as well as a Financial Registration Number, all of which have been very quick and painless and any issues have been quickly resolved by attentive and friendly staff.
Not only dairy and world class rugby to offer, New Zealand is full of smart, friendly and positive people, who both Chris and I are truly enjoying meeting and interacting with. All of this combined with a can do attitude, no wonder they have such a vibrant startup community!