29 Mar 2012

Rangatira invests in early stage high growth ventures

4:01 pm on 29 March 2012

The Wellington-based Rangatira is pushing into the technology sector, investing in early stage high-growth ventures.

It will spend about $5 million in the listed accounting software firm, Xero, US entrepreneur Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures and early Trade Me investor, Movac, through its third fund.

Rangatira tends to invest in medium-sized manufacturing firms with annual turnover of about $10 million to $15 million, but these new investments mark a change in strategy.

Rangatira chief executive Ian Frame says this approach provides a low risk way to invest in growing firms, using the expertise of Valar and Movac to identify up and coming technology firms.

And he says Rangatira may directly benefit from that exposure as these firms move into their next stage of development.

Mr Frame says once the companies start to develop and they have a better risk profile, Rangatira may be prepared to put more money into them and fund their further growth.

He says at that point the companies may move from Rangatira's prospective growth portfolio to its private equity portfolio.

Mr Frame says Rangatira's most recent investments include listed shares, large international companies and private equities investments in New Zealand in medium-sized enterprises.

He says these prospective growth companies are a new type of investment for Rangatira.

Mr Frame says it is still interested in investing in two or three good, medium-sized firms.

The investment firm is 51% owned by the JR McKenzie Trust, with other community and charitable organisations owning another 15% of the shares. The remainder is held by private investors.