The Kiwi tech startup veteran instrumental to the success of Neighbourly and GrabOne, Casey Eden, has come together with private equity marketplace, Snowball Effect, to launch Orchestra – a centralised company investment and stakeholder management platform.
Uniquely positioned as the intersection between private companies, their investors and business advisors, Orchestra’s all-in-one platform provides a completely new way for companies of all sizes to manage a range of compliance tasks. It also offers a user-friendly hub for investors to view and interact with their private investments.
Features include a fully compliant share registry digitally integrated with the NZ Companies Office, as well as services for company compliance, document storage, stakeholder engagement and employee stock ownership plans (ESOP). Orchestra can also integrate with secondary markets, allowing investors to partake in secondary trading events.
In New Zealand alone there are over 630,000 companies, all of whom are legally required to meet certain compliance tasks, including having a share registry. Orchestra provides the ultimate tool to meet these obligations whilst building stronger connections with private investors.
Co-founder and managing director, Casey Eden, says, “There are thousands of Kiwi business owners that aren’t aware of, or know how to manage company compliance requirements and investor correspondence efficiently. We know from experience that investors who are more engaged with their portfolios and receive regular communications usually invest more. Companies that act on this are better placed to take full advantage of the benefits that come with private investment.”
Investors can also use the platform to manage their private company portfolios, track share transactions, as well as easily access and engage with important correspondence or documents from companies on the platform.
Eden says the idea of managing private investments (from both the company and investor point of view) was something he’d been very aware of from his experience in the startup tech game.
“It’s usually dealt with in a very disjointed way. There might be a spreadsheet here, an email system there, and we often thought there needed to be a way to manage stakeholders in a private company in one place,” he says.
Orchestra’s foundation investor, Snowball Effect, had already designed a digital share registry system which proved useful in coming up with the concept.
“It seemed logical to take the back-end of that system and build it into a broader stakeholder management tool to meet the needs we’d been talking about for years.”
In terms of proving demand for the product, Eden says because they knew Snowball’s share registry was a sticky tool, it was a good place to start.
“We also looked around the world and found a couple of similar tools, so we used those to understand how they’d tackled the market. Then we got out there and talked to members of the public.”
Eden believes finding out as soon as possible if people will actually pay for a product, even at low rates, is important.
“But there’s also an element of trusting your gut. You can do all the research you want, but ultimately you’ve got to decide whether you genuinely believe the problem you’re solving is there, and we certainly did.”
In deciding what features to build into the platform, Eden says they focused first on paying customers, making sure they had the features they’d needed and went from there.
As a foundation investor, Shane Bradley believes Orchestra solves the problems that thousands of companies and investors come up against every year.
“Casey and I have worked together for many years and he was instrumental in GrabOne’s and Neighbourly’s success. I know him well, trust him explicitly and it was always my intention to back him in his next venture. As a regular investor into private companies in New Zealand, I’ve experienced first-hand the challenges that come alongside the absence of a comprehensive platform like this. Personally, I’m really excited to be able to use Orchestra to manage my own investment companies.”
In addition to companies and investors, business advisors such as accountants and lawyers are able to use Orchestra to manage their clients’ equity and Companies Office obligations, via the platform’s built-in compliance checks and simplified workflows.
Snowball Effect co-founder and CEO, Simeon Burnett says, “Just like Snowball Effect, Orchestra has been developed to help simplify the world of investing for Kiwi investors and companies alike. We’re looking forward to working together with Casey and the team to continue to introduce New Zealand and other countries to more modern, simple ways of investing.”
With an international market in mind, Orchestra plans to begin expanding within the APAC region by early 2021, and has begun discussions with investors about a future capital raise to support this.
Eden concludes, “We believe that investing in private companies is incredibly beneficial for New Zealand, especially during a time like this. More importantly, we want to give investors the confidence to get involved with our economy in a new, innovative way. We’ve got big plans for Orchestra, so watch this space.”
To learn more, see the introduction video: https://www.orchestra.co.nz/orchestra-intro.html