In 2019 the Government announced it would give the Guardians a second fund –a venture capital fund--to manage alongside the NZ Super Fund.
The new venture capital fund, which operates in the market as the Elevate NZ Venture Fund, is a Government initiative aimed at growing more innovative industries in New Zealand and lifting productivity. It aims to attract private sector investors to the domestic venture capital market to grow innovative, knowledge‐intensive businesses. This is an important step towards future‐proofing the New Zealand economy in a time of rapid technological change.
The new fund is designed to support Series A and B investments into New Zealand companies that have moved beyond the start-up, or "angel" investor stage, and need capital for further development. The Government believes that there is a gap in these early stage capital markets in New Zealand, leading to many innovative young companies heading offshore. The fund will support early stage companies and encourage private investors into the domestic venture capital market by providing matching capital. The policy aims to develop the early stage capital ecosystem in New Zealand and support innovation in the economy. The fund is expected to have a life of 15 years (consisting of a five-year investment period and a 10 year "harvest" period) and will receive up to $300 million over four years.
The Government tasked the Guardians with overall responsibility for the new fund because of our experience as an institutional investor and reputation for best-practice management. The Guardians’ role is one of governance and oversight to ensure best practice investment management in the context of venture capital markets. Elevate NZ Venture Fund is a fund-of-funds programme and is managed on behalf of the Guardians by NZGCP (formerly the NZ Venture Investment Fund).
The Guardians worked closely with Government on the development of the policy settings for the new venture fund, the legislation required and a supporting policy statement, which includes definitions of key terms and investment requirements. The Venture Capital Fund Act was passed in December 2019 and the policy statement was released on 19 December 2019. The fund was launched in March 2020.