The business of giving
By Kate Pierson
The exchange of knowledge is an age old practise. As the vehicle for personal, social and economic growth, knowledge is not material or tangible in form; it cannot be touched by hand or seen by eye, but evidence of its valuable existence can be identified through societal and global evolution.
Growth in capability and intellectual capacity attached to the acquisition of knowledge is everywhere we look.
It can be monitored in the social and intellectual maturation of a child at school, the professional development of an employee in the workplace, or simply in the understanding an individual demonstrates towards their world after learning from those around them.
The transference of knowledge between countries is imperative for the security of the global economy. Without the exchange of knowledge, growth will simply plateau, imagination and innovation will be stifled and the business mechanics of our economy – our employers and employees, cannot reach their full potential.
Knowledge is power, so it’s no wonder anticipation was been running high in the lead up to the February 2010 arrival of American angel investor, Bill Payne.
The feeling that there are skills to be acquired and knowledge to be gained from his teachings, is a feeling shared by many – and with good reason too.
For 25 years, Payne has invested his time, knowledge and resources in more than 50 companies, served on five university advisory boards, presided over several ceramic societies as an association president and provided more than 120 man-years of service on profit and non-profit boards.
In addition to Payne’s dedicated commitment to entrepreneurship and angel investing, he somehow found the time to establish four angel networks. Bill Payne is angel investment knowledge.
Payne has been described as a entrepreneurial laureate. As the recipient of the 2009 Hans Serveriens Award, he is now in possession of the highest honor available within the United States Angel Capital Association and as a leading angel investment expert, it’s fair to say Payne’s impressive professional resume almost constitutes more than one lifetime worth of work.
In 2007, Payne published a book, The Definitive Guide to Raising Money from Angels, which offers guidance to anyone seeking investment.
New Zealand now has six months between February and July 2010 to experience Payne’s how-to advice, first hand. Investors, students, entrepreneurs and governments organisations can seek his guidance, absorb his intelligence and derive valuable knowledge from his teachings.
Business growth centre, incubator and New Zealand’s largest group of angel investors, The Icehouse, campaigned for Payne’s visit to New Zealand.
In partnership with leading sponsor, the BNZ and with the support of enterprises including the Foundation for Research Science and Technology, Air New Zealand, Jucy Rental and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, The Icehouse has facilitated his visit with the objective of helping national businesses.
Icehouse chief executive Andrew Hamilton says the company is thrilled about Payne’s extended visit. “We are just so lucky that Bill is a keen trout fisherman who has visited New Zealand before and loves the place… when we suggested he bring his wife Ann and live here for six months he was up for it.”
The incentive behind Payne’s visit is to instigate a capability lift within the angel investment industry, Hamilton says. “Payne is here to spread knowledge in the areas where we haven’t matured and to educate, upskill, enthuse and motivate,” he adds.
BNZ Partners head of strategy and specialists, Craig Haycock shared Hamilton’s enthusiasm about Payne’s visit.
“This represents a great opportunity to tap into the learnings and insights of a global investor and entrepreneur. Accessing capital from private investors remains a key challenge for local business and we look forward to hearing from Bill Payne during his time in New Zealand.”
Payne is no stranger to New Zealand and based on his previous visit, our angel investment sector is certainly not underestimating what his presence means in terms of knowledge gain.
His last visit here saw him leading the Power of Angel Investment seminar series, a Kauffman Foundation programme he helped to establish.
During this 2010 stint, in which he will be based at The Icehouse, the expected outcomes include: international syndication opportunities, mentoring start-up businesses, public lectures on angel investment and commercialisation and multiple reviews of New Zealand investment funds.
Payne will run the 2010 Power of Angel Investing seminars, work with Incubators New Zealand and the New Zealand Venture Capital Association on international syndication for angel investors, act as a University of Auckland business school entrepreneur in residence and provide advice to the government on angel investing and its seed co-investment fund portfolio.
In his own words, Payne says angel investment is a fantastic economic tool.
“Angel investment is important in all capitalistic societies. It is the primary source of capital for start up businesses after the entrepreneurs and their friends and family have invested money themselves.”
And what are Payne’s own thoughts on his visit to New Zealand? “I love this beautiful country. I’m delighted to be here teaching and coaching angel investment, working with new angel investors and helping entrepreneurs down their business path,” he says.
There’s no doubt the angel investment sector is delighted too.