Data shows that mentor-driven accelerators are the most successful.
Our mentors add massive value by helping to create viable startups and investable teams.
Marcel van den Assum
Karl von Randow
Serge van Dam
Belinda Simcox (Sim)
Heather Anne Carson
A director and member of the Pasadena Angels I manage deal flow, conduct due diligence, create investment deals, work directly with portfolio companies on operations & finance, and consummate exits for the group.
I have personally invested in over a dozen startups, working with these early stage companies to create value through strategic and operational solutions and by implementing and adjusting to their business model.
While COO of Phase 3 (now NeoStem), I focused on investing in revenue and royalty agreements in the life sciences and bio-technology arenas. The firm provided both capital and guidance to our portfolio companies. I was responsible for working with target companies on due diligence, marketing and technology evaluations.
As a founding partner of SDI and current managing partner of SCD, my clients include Sony Pictures, j2 Global Communications, Toyota Motor Sales, Reelz, Channel, Universal Studios and Technicolor. I have served as a Divisional CIO, overseen program development, project implementation finance and operations.
I am a senior executive who brings a diverse skill set and outside the box thinking to each opportunity.
Specifically, I have:
• investment management oversight and deal closing expertise;
• strategy execution for early stage companies;
• operations experience in a public corporation in bio-tech/life sciences area;
• CFO experience for private consulting and public relations organizations, and
• technology management including CIO, program and project management on very large scale programs.
Serial entrepreneur, Silicon Valley Connector
- Silicon Valley Connector, LightningLab
- Technical Advisor (Board), TranscribeMe
- Stanford Law School, China Guiding Cases Project
- Founding Team, KickApps
- VP, International Business Development, InvisibleHand Networks
- Director, Network Operations, Akamai Technologies
- Chief Architect, Satellite Communications AT&T Bell Laboratories
Jim Robinson is a serial entrepreneur, successful technical start-up veteran and key connector in Silicon Valley for Lightning Lab – New Zealand’s Digital Accelerator, where investors and mentors seed elite teams of start-up entrepreneurs. He assists Kiwi companies in securing funding, networking and technical business development in key USA and international domains.
Jim is long time advisor of at StartupWeekend (a globally successful experiential learning programme for early-stage technology entrepreneurs) having mentored in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch New Zealand and the most recently the inaugural at Stanford University Startup Weekend in Silicon Valley in October 2012. He is Technical Advisor to the board of TranscribeMe winner of the Auckland event.
With a firm foundation and deep technology background from Bell Laboratories where he was responsible for architecting service delivery for Software Defined Network service, he led HDTV genesis for approval by FCC in USA, and served as chief architect for satellite communications for video and content distribution.
Jim served as original Director of Network Operations at Akamai Technologies, Inc. legendary start-up from M.I.T. in Cambridge, where he was responsible for building and managing the global Network Operation Center from the ground up through to the US$12.3B IPO (NASDAQ: AKAM), and the development of operational policies in support of deployment and build-out of Akamai’s worldwide scalable content delivery network (CDN) of 15,000 servers spanning 100 networks, in over 60 countries. Today, the network delivers 20% of all Internet traffic.
Innovator - Ideation, Experience, Strategy, Design
Gamification and Innovation Marketing
Geoff is returning to New Zealand after 27 years in the US in finance and investing, and for the last six years running his own web-based business. He holds a Masters of Commerce Honours from University of Canterbury and completed NZACA qualification requirements.
Geoff worked in investment management firms in South Africa and New Zealand, before heading to New York in 1985 to open an office for Chase Corporation. After a year at Brierley Investments in 1991, Geoff started a hedge fund, Mission Partners in 1992. His funds invested in US micro cap stock long & short averaging a 17% return to investors over 14 years , a 7x return on starting capital.
Geoff closed the fund at its all-time high value in December 2005, and then, based on personal experience in his own family, started a virtual learning business serving the US and Canada
- Financial models — understand the mechanics of a business and measure accurately
- Business models – understands attributes of a health business model
- Financial planning – trained accountant that can build sound budgets
- US business world – met CEOs and researched >1,000 US businesses in wide array of sectors
- Web based search and pay-per-click – familiar with the latest trends
Technical Evangelist Microsoft
Thiago Almeida is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft New Zealand, with over ten years of experience working as a solutions architect and technical leader with a proven track record in designing and delivering solutions in the Asia Pacific region. Along with promoting Microsoft developer platforms he focuses on three specific areas: Software startups, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), and Windows Azure.
Business Leader and Strategist, GM Weta
- General Manager Weta Digital Limited
- Chair Park Road Post Productions
- Director Booktrack
- Director Papillon Group
Before joining the film industry in 2005 Tom held senior leadership positions for a global consulting company in NZ and Australia where he specialised in business and technology strategy for a wide range of industry sectors.
Over the last six years Tom has fulfilled the role of General Manager of Weta Digital – a time that has seen the company diversify into a provider of digital effects for a wide range of Directors and Film Studios. Weta Digital is widely recognised as the premiere visual effects house for large scale film productions including Avatar, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Adventures of TinTin. Weta Digital is currently working with its founding partner Peter Jackson on The Hobbit series of films.
While Weta Digital is soon to celebrate its 20th anniversary the industry has always been subject to immense change and Tom has played a key role in helping the company negotiate its way through the commercial realities of those changes.
Co-founder, Head of Design at Xero
- Co-founder, Head of Design at Xero
- Advisor & Investor at Storypark
- Investor at Box.es
- Advisor at Advise.me
- Advisor & Investor at Chart.io
Philip Fierlinger is one of the founders of Xero online accounting software. Philip had a substantial role in helping Xero become a market leading public company, listed on the NZX 50, currently worth over $550M, with over 100,000 customers and over 250 employees worldwide.
Philip oversees the design of all things Xero: product, marketing, branding and overall customer experience. Prior to Xero, he was a founder of Turntable a leading digital design firm in San Francisco which did groundbreaking work for clients such as Apple, Dreamworks, Palm, Sony Playstation, among many others.
- Design and user experience strategy
- Product strategy
- Marketing strategy
Starting straight out of university Susan co-founded a number of companies, first a partnership designing & manufacturing lead light panels, then a sporting goods manufacturing & distribution business, then an award-winning restaurant. Early involvement with Vega Industries resulted in strategic experience of successful global sales expansion, and combined with personal experience in stock market investment lead to a keen eye for business analysis and the value of hands-on involvement.
Her experience with start up businesses has lead to an interest in investment in early-stage companies, and her financial successes allowed her to enter into the venture capital scene as an Angel Investor. In this role, Susan has assisted Kaynemaile with its early funding and as a director, as well as having an active involvement with Azion.
Susan is an active member of the New Zealand early-stage venture finance community and is on the board of Angel HQ and Angel HQ Nominees.
Expert on emerging Internet technology
Donald is most well known for his recent role as the inaugural CEO of REANNZ (Research and Education Network New Zealand), the high-speed, unrestricted broadband network for New Zealand’s education, research and innovation communities. He was responsible for establishing the company and growing it to a team of 17 and a $14M break-even revenue target.
Of his work with REANNZ Donald says, “It has been an amazing opportunity for me…to take the company from its earliest days before we even had a network, through to now where it is firmly embedded as a piece of essential national infrastructure.”
Donald’s previous appointments include public sector roles at Treasury, and as a policy advisor to the Prime Minister, and private sector positions with Booz & Co, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Ask Jeeves.
Donald currently runs a niche consultancy company, 1through8, that provides advice to leaders in the private and public sector on responding to rapid development in Internet technologies.
He is also the regular technology commentator on Radio New Zealand National’s Nine to Noon programme, and a Councillor of Internet New Zealand.
Donald recently completed Executive Education (Product Management + Pricing) at University of California, Berkeley – Walter A. Haas School of Business.
Serial Entrepreneur, Sales Expert, Engineer
Hailing from the exotic land of Chicago, Illinois but currently residing in Wellington, Brett has a history of startups and startup successes.
Initially trained as an engineer, Brett started BoxDirect in 1998 which was the leading Internet marketplace for the packaging industry at the time. As CEO from founding through company sale to PaperExchange 2 years later, he developed experience in starting, exiting and integrating companies.
Brett’s second startup Akoya, Inc. was a spinout of Caterpillar that helps large manufacturers manage their design and procurement processes through analytics. As a founder, he spent time in the roles of COO, SVP of Product Development and Company President, eventually leading the company toward multi-million dollar growth and profitability.
Brett currently runs the e-commerce operations for the US-based sporting goods retailer Rainbo Sports, in which he is an owner. He also recently partnered with the sales consulting practice Pathworks, to launch an online sales training product based on their successful Path Sales Discipline program.
Before arriving in Wellington, Brett played an active part in the mentor group for Lightning Lab’s successful Global Accelerator Network partner Excelerate Labs, based in Chicago. Prior to that, he was one of the founders and served as director of the Chicago-based entrepreneurship group, The Big Idea Forum.
Mobile Film & Digital Media
Dr. Max Schleser is Subject Director for Digital Media at Massey University and a Creative Consultant.
Max has worked on mobile media consultancy projects for Nokia and Frontier Strategy, conceptualised and conducted mobile creativity workshops with 21cc (the educational link of the BBC), local council authorities, community groups, universities (including Tisch School of Arts at New York University) and film festivals in UK, USA, NZ, Russia and Brazil, exploring mobile devices as creative and educational tools.
Before joining Massey University, Max lectured at the University of East London and the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in London and Kuala Lumpur.
Industry Innovator, Closet Geek
A closet geek since 10, Ari cut his teeth programming assembler for the 6502 processor on an Apple II computer, and then Z80 machine code on a ZX81 and a Sord computer.
Ari trained as an electrical engineer, completing an honours degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering in 1989. Since then has worked in the electricity industry in NZ.
By day he heads up Powershop – a job he cherishes. It is a rare opportunity to combine his professional experience in the electricity industry with his personal passion for technology and inner geekiness.
Powershop is the world’s first online energy store committed to giving us total control and knowledge around how much power we buy and use. Harnessing the power of the internet, shopping online with Powershop means we can pick and choose as we like. Powershop’s innovation and supreme marketing strategy placed them number 1 on the 2011 Deloitte Fast 50 Index.
Managing Partner Movac
- Investor at MOVAC
Phil is the Managing Partner of MOVAC and a cornerstone investor in all the MOVAC Funds. He was a founding partner of MOVAC, and one of the first investors in Trade Me.
Prior to MOVAC, he served a 10 year apprenticeship with Deloitte Consulting in New Zealand and the United States. He was awarded a Senior Scholarship from Massey University and has a Bachelor of Business Studies majoring in Accounting & Finance and Information Systems.
Professional Geek & Investor
Dave is a professional early-stage investor from Wellington New Zealand, and has invested in a number of Kiwi startups including MusicHype, ShowGizmo, Ponoko, 8interactive and others. His Wellington-based company, WebFund, invests in and nurtures companies from concept through to investment and execution. He’s also a member of Angel HQ, Wellington’s angel investment club, and organises the Lean Startup Wellington meetup. He’s also on the InternetNZ Council, serves on several boards, and does a significant amount of work for non-profits.
Dave is one of Startup Weekend’s Global Facilitators, and is or has been on the organising teams of Startup Weekends in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Palmerston North, and Perth WA. Dave is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and their startups move from inspiration to perspiration and global success.
You can find out more about what Dave thinks makes a great startup, and listen to his recent interview on National Radio’s Kim Hill show on his blog.
- Founder at MiniMonos
Melissa Clark-Reynolds, of Wellington, is a serial entrepreneur and business leader. In 2009, Melissa founded MiniMonos, the virtual world for boys aged 8 -12, designed around the values of sustainability and generosity. MiniMonos has almost 1 million members, in over 150 countries.
Melissa has been a judge for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and she is a member of advisory boards of several technology companies. A believer in “walking the talk,” Melissa started her business while Entrepreneur in Residence at Creative HQ, she then took her company through the SpringBoard accelerator programme in the UK, and has raised almost $4m for MiniMonos in NZ and Europe.
Founder Countdown.com acquired by Dreamworks
Linc is a startup entrepreneur who is passionate about trying to solve big problems. Linc has started over thirty tech companies during the past twenty years in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. This includes CountingDown.com, acquired by DreamWorks, Imagine Entertainment and Vulcan Ventures in 2000.
Here are some of the ventures Linc is involved in: Loom.io, Papinelle , Entp, LighthouseApp, TenderApp , Adventure Wellington, Chalkle, Photobooth, Enspiral Village, KiwiApp, Outdoor Capital and Eleface.
Investor, Founder, Business Growth Specialist
- Founder Growth Cubed
After a grounding in management consulting in London and Melbourne during the early-mid 90s, Jamie caught the dotcom wave in the US by becoming part of the founding team of supply chain software business Celarix.
Jamie moved to New Zealand in 2001, and started Igniter with two partners, helping it grow to become a leading consulting firm in this part of the world. In 2007, he co-founded WebFund to invest in and support the growth of early stage web businesses.
Jamie has spent the last few years leading global sales and business development for UK-based Onzo, a venture backed smart energy and data analytics business. He currently provides growth and innovation support to high growth companies through Growth Cubed, and is a Board member at Sport Wellington.
Founder Agora Games, Head of Strategy TradeMe
Mike is a startup junkie and fills his precious spare time with as much interaction with entrepreneurs and startup companies as he can.
Mike founded Agora Games in 2005. Agora Games develops online video game technology and provides online community development services to developers and publishers around the world. The company works closely with game developers and includes such legendary titles in their stable as Mortal Kombat, Call of Duty and Guitar Hero.
Mike grew Agora to the point where it now reaches 65 million gamers worldwide with online features to connect web-based gaming communities. He grew the business organically – without outside investment – from himself to 25 people at the time of acquisition in 2009, to over 40 people as of 2011. The company was acquired by Major League Gaming in 2009.
Mike frequently advises other start-up companies, mentors entrepreneurs, and speaks at local universities.
As Head of Strategy at TradeMe, Mike is responsible for corporate strategy, leading external partnerships, investments, and acquisitions, and managing growth though new initiatives and ideas.
- High-level business strategy
- Building strong tech teams
- product development
- technology sales
- Managing start-up growth
- Building an awesome company culture
Global Entrepreneur, Kiwi Landing Pad
- Director at the Kiwi Landing Pad
- Director at Visfleet
- Director at Generator
- Advisory board member at Revenizer
- Advisory board member at Big@Business
John was co founder, Director and CEO of HR Software provider Sonar6 which was recently sold to NASDAQ listed company Cornerstone On Demand. He is currently the Managing Director of Kiwi Landing Pad, a non profit collaboration between private investors and the New Zealand Government which has created a technology hub in San Francisco to help Kiwi Tech companies establish and grow in the USA. John is passionate about growing businesses of all types. He was recently named by Unlimited Magazine as one of the 25 most influential people in New Zealand Business and is a Director and Advisor to a number of companies including Generator, Kiwi Landing Pad and Revenizer.
- General Management
- Sales and Marketing
- Talent Management and HR Consulting
- Salesforce / Channel Consulting and Design
- Advisory and Strategic Governance
Marcel van den Assum
Angel investor, former CIO Fonterra
- Director at Yonix
- Chairman at GreenButton
- Chairman at Voco
- Director at Simplgroup
- Partner at Lush Design Gallery
Marcel van den Assum has been an information services professional for over 25 years touching on most aspects from support to strategy, both in New Zealand and overseas. His most senior leadership positions have included managing principal in Unisys Corporation and CIO for Fonterra, providing both supplier and customer experiences.
Since leaving Fonterra in 2005, van den Assum has focused on a governance career as a professional director and independent advisor to various commercial and government entities.
Entrepreneur and Investor
- Entrepreneur and Investor at Movac
Dion is a full time professional Director and Investor with a passion for iconic NZ entrepreneurs and ventures with international, high growth aspirations. He currently serves on the Boards of six organisations; two Movac ventures (Ponoko and Givealittle), three SME’s and a Not For Profit.
Dion’s original training was in IT, he has held a variety of senior management and sales roles with local and international companies. Over the last ten years he has held two Chief Executive roles and served as a Chairman or Director on a total of 18 Boards. Over the last five years with Movac, he has led or participated in the investment and development of 13 early stage high growth ventures.
Entrepreneur, Founder Click Suite
I’ve spent my entire career in media; making, commissioning and guiding programmes, products and experiences that people love. It’s those last three words that are the key – no point in making anything if your audience isn’t going to love it.
For the last 18 years, I’ve been focussed solely on digital media at Click Suite where we’ve won almost 100 awards and finalist placings for a huge range of interactive work. For me, it’s been a natural progression from my previous background in television as I’ve moved mediums with the technology and the audiences. I love the digital world; I love how the audience is in control and I love how it’s chocka block full of opportunities.
My involvement in Click Suite work tends to be at a strategic level, making sure we are working to objectives, that we know who our audience is, and that we are making something that will delight them. I really challenge our teams to create innovative, exciting work.
Richard’s career has seen him running an illustration and design business in Scotland, scaling a Software as a Service company in Australia and studying business in New Zealand and Australia.
Each entrepreneurial endeavor serviced numerous industries simultaneously, from national utilities to international publishing houses and from global insurance providers to niche games studios.
In between growing businesses he has contracted and consulted into financial institutions, health providers and energy markets.
This range of geographic, industry and business stage exposure has allowed Richard to build an interesting perspective on designing, targeting and growing businesses while keeping the customer and end service user squarely in mind.
His experience has allowed him to appreciate the raw entrepreneurial potential that New Zealand, and in particular Wellington, has to offer the world. He is a firm believer that this is something to be nurtured and fuel injected, ultimately allowing many more successful businesses to be launched into the world from this part of the planet.
Richard has a keen focus on service design, customer development and growing high value companies and teams.
Ed has 20 years experience in the Information Technology industry in both the United States and New Zealand and has a global vision for adding business value with better technology and communications.
His background includes six years at Microsoft shipping Microsoft Visual Studio .NET, Microsoft Content Management Server, and Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server.
Ed Holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Otago.
Aptimize revolutionised web performance with the world’s first automated software products for Web Content Optimisation. Aptimize’s acceleration products include Aptimize SharePoint Accelerator and Aptimize Website Accelerator for Linux and Windows. Aptimize’s software is used by hundreds of the world’s leading organizations including Microsoft, Google, Disney, Dell, Raytheon, Fluor and the US Army.
Acquired by Riverbed Technology July 2011
Technology lawyer, specialist capital raising
- Managing Partner at Simmonds Stewart
- Director at ARANZ Geo
- Director at ARANZ Medical
- Director at Eventfinda
Andrew is a leading technology lawyer and is widely considered to be the “go to” advisor for NZ tech companies raising capital here and offshore. Andrew works with start-up and established tech companies along with angel, VC and private equity investors. He is particularly focussed on helping companies position for capital raising and exit transactions.
- Commercialisation strategy
- Capital raising
- International expansion
Film technology innovator, Academy Award Winner
- Founder at 77 Pieces
Sebastian is a film industry veteran with over 15 years of experience as a technology innovator with A-list film studios such as Industrial Light + Magic, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Weta Digital. In 2002 he received an Academy Award (Science & Technology) for inventing software that simulates the motion of cloth, musculo-skeletal structures and skin and hair for feature film production.
Sebastian has made significant contributions to numerous Oscar and VES award winning films, as well as some of the most successful film franchises of all time including Avatar, Spiderman, Pirates of the Caribbean, Terminator, Harry Potter, Star Wars, The Mummy & Jurassic Park.
Armillary Private Capital
- Corporate Financier, Director, Armillary Private Capital – Armillary
Leon is a founding director of Armillary Private Capital, active across the Financial Training, Investment Banking and Advisory areas of the firm. He has a background in structured finance, corporate banking and executive management, having spent over 15 years working for major financial institutions such as ABN Amro, AXA, HSBC and Westpac.
Leon is a graduate of Victoria and Massey Universities.
His goal is to help people better understand the impact on value of the business that result from decisions they make.
He has valued businesses, assisted in sales advisory and acquistion advisory roles, assisted in raising non-recourse project finance and other debt facilities for a number of clients and currently serves on the Board of 77 Pieces and the advisory Boards of sKids, Project Floors and Keith Andrews Trucks.
- Debt deals
- Sale and acquisition advisory engagements
- Cost Reduction tasks
- Linking tactics to strategic goals through Operational Art methodology
- Credit and risk review
Digital Innovator, Gaming, Boutique Brewer
- Co-Founder at Garage Project
- Board of Trustees at Film New Zealand
- Chairman of the Board at New Zealand Games, Animation, Visual Effects Trust
Jos has spent over 10 years working in the games industry, across original and licensed titles for console, smartphone and PC platforms. Highlights include establishing PikPok, which is Sidhe’s publishing label for iPhone and Android games. During this time, Jos oversaw the development and release of multiple US & UK #1 App Store hits like Flick Kick Football and Bird Strike as well as negotiating licensing and development deals with Chelsea FC, Adidas, Cartoon Network and DreamWorks Animation.
He has chaired the New Zealand Games, Animation, Visual Effects Trust for four years, successfully overseeing AnimfxNZ, New Zealand’s premier Games, Animation and Visual Effects conference in Wellington.
Jos has sat on the Board of Film New Zealand for three years, helping the organisation understand and better position New Zealand to grow its digital entertainment industries.
Jos has extensive knowledge, contacts and experience in the international games industry and has spoken at leading industry conferences such as GDC China, GDC Europe, DELF Hong Kong and FMX in Germany.
In mid 2011, he established a new craft brewery in Wellington called Garage Project with the goal of being recognised as one of the top breweries in the world. Currently Jos divides his time between helping create trophy winning beers, consulting with a group of select companies and walking his two dogs, Monte and Mila.
Critchlow, Geographic Information Solutions
- CEO at Critchlow
Jos is the CEO of Critchlow, a leading provider of geographic information and location intelligence solutions. Jos has extensive executive and general management experience in a range of technology, information and service businesses. He has a deep understanding of how information technology can address the challenges that many organisations are facing today, as well as drive enhanced business results. Jos is a former CIO of Contact Energy and Australasian General Manager of consulting and system integration for Hewlett-Packard, where he worked for 15 years.
Jos has a particular interest in how business and operational information can be mapped and analysed geographically to create new insights that deliver improved outcomes. While at Critchlow, Jos has led several initiatives that have seen Location Intelligence being applied in innovative ways to diverse opportunities such as marketing, logistics, asset optimisation, clean technology and emergency management. Critchlow is New Zealand’s leading specialist geographic data supplier providing location data and related services for business intelligence. Critchlow’s solutions help organisations analyse their business information more effectively, by revealing new, useful patterns, trends and insights, only discovered by viewing data from geographic perspectives.
- Business strategy
- Benchmarking & quality improvement
- Contract negotiation
- Programme Direction
- Services Optimisation
Tech Entrepreneur, Startup Mentor, Lean Practitioner, StartupWeekend Organizer
Dan is a serial web technology entrepreneur and experienced startup CTO currently based in Auckland, New Zealand. He is passionate about connecting people through technology and innovation, with a goal to building a sustainable early-stage web/mobile startup ecosystem in New Zealand.
Dan understands that great people need support, mentoring, and determination to accelerate their route to success. To help this, he speaks nationally on early stage startup execution and lean startup methodologies; mentors early stage startups through collaboration with national technology incubators; bootstraps Auckland’s early-stage startup ecosystem with regular startup-focussed events, and nationally, organizes and mentors at StartupWeekend (a globally successful 54 hour experiential learning programme for early-stage technology entrepreneurs).
Dan has good experience in building and scaling high-growth web technology ventures. After exiting a $US100m social network venture in the UK as a lead software engineer in 2000, he’s since co-founded six further ventures over the last 12 years: learning from three of these which failed; parking a further two after-market; and the other now generating million dollar plus revenues. Dan is currently bootstrapping a new venture to connect startups with the right mentors in their local ecosystems through a micro-advice marketplace.
Dan is a general specialist, with core skills in ideation and commercialisation of online and mobile products, and early-stage startup execution using lean and customer-driven methodologies. Coming from a deep technology background, having programmed computers from age 10, to a first class, multi-award-winning masters-level education, his experience delivers a broad set of capabilities including online inbound marketing; architectural design for Internet products; visual design with a focus on user experience and interaction design; software development with in-depth familiarity of state-of-the-art programming languages; and ongoing operational management of online businesses in high-growth, scalable web environments.
Dan is a connector and active networker, having large solid networks throughout the main centres of New Zealand – specifically entrepreneur-related networks which include startups at a range of stages; incubators; angel investors; government agencies; and startup service industries – with wider national networks focussing more around the digital and online space. Through his affiliation with StartupWeekend and the lean startup community, Dan continues to develop international networks to many of the early stage startup community leaders around the world, including the US, Europe, South Africa, Japan, Indonesia, and more.
Senior Business Leader, Strategist
Sam has held senior positions for major banks in both Australia and New Zealand and has extensive experience in strategy, marketing, organizational capability building, and private and public sector governance.
Sam is perhaps best known for his role in establishing Kiwibank and subsequently leading the company over ten years through its transition from startup to a large successful business.
Sam has recently taken up a number of governance roles in growth businesses with a technology focus. These roles include Chairman of Xero, the Governments ICT Council and Fingertapps, and a Director of Magritek, PartnersLife and Trustpower.
- Strategy – Defining and refining competitive strategy
- Marketing – Building strong brands
- Customer Experience – Designing and delivering target customer experiences across all channels
- Organisational Development – Rapid growth of organisational capability and supporting process
- Risk management – Ensuring disciplined risk management frameworks and processes are in place
- Finance – Experience in funding and capital raising
Marketing and Advertising
- Head of Digital at M&C Saatchi
Ben Pujji has an enviable history in digital from its earliest days, from business analysis and interaction design through to marketing. He has run his own digital business, been Strategy Director for DNA Design and was most recently the Head of Digital Strategy at AIM Proximity/Clemenger BBDO.
Serial Entrepreneur, Advertising Expert
Laura’s first business, Red Rocks Advertising, sold to multi national Ogilvy Group in 2005. She went from a job as a secretary in a London advertising agency to owning her own agency and selling it just nine years later. When she sold it, it had been named Agency of the Year, was the third largest Agency in the city and named ‘New Zealand’s premiere boutique Agency’ by National Business Review.
Laura then co-founded Pet Angels, a highly systemised award winning pet care business, with a fully automated online search and booking facility that minimised admin requirements to the point where the owners only had to work 10 hours a week. Laura has become passionate about the concept of ‘leverage’ in business – doing more with less to the point where businesses do not rely on their owner in order to generate income.
Laura has also gone on to set up Liber8me which is Laura’s entrepreneurial response to the need for a practical guide to creating wealth and freedom from your business. Liber8me teaches business owners how to build an exit strategy into their business which ensures they can walk away with wealth and freedom in the future.
- Freedom mentoring
- Exit strategy modelling
- Goal setting
- Public speaking/training to business groups.
Mobile, contactless payments, ticketing
CEO at Snapper Services
Miki Szikszai has served as CEO of Snapper Services since February 2009. Snapper leads the contactless payments market in NZ with deployments in both Wellington and Auckland. Snapper has continued to demonstrate this leadership with the recent commercial launch of NZ’s first NFC payment service, Snapper Mobile. Miki is an advocate of design-led technologies being a way to deepen customer relations, as a result building competitive businesses. Miki has a background in technology innovation and commercialistation which he acquired in New Zealand, having led the development of new markets and capability for Telecom NZ that include its Fixed and Mobile Internet Content businesses, deployment of NZ’s first 3G Mobile network and the establishment of an in-house Innovation team. Miki takes a broad interest in innovation in the NZ market and currently serves as the Independent Director of web based Point of Sale provider Vend (http://vendhq.com). Miki holds a Bachelor of Engineering with First Class Honours (Electrical & Electronic) from the University of Canterbury.
Technology, telecommunications, start ups
Brent has over 20 years’ experience in the technology and telecommunications arena having worked predominantly in sales & marketing roles but also in large customer interaction design and implementation programmes. He has held global roles for large corporates as well having helped establish several start-up companies. Commercially astute and innovation minded he has successfully grown the profitability of many businesses.
Brent holds a degree in Marketing and Finance from Massey University as well as an MBA from Henley Management College.
Brent has a unique perspective having worked both as a technology supplier and a customer, and in large global corporations and start-ups. He has strong partnership building skills and an entrepreneurial flair for spotting opportunities and executing on them.
- Business Development
- Innovator & Entrepreneurial
- Multi-channel customer interaction expert
- Mobility & telecommunications specialist
Crispstart, catalyst, investor, entrepreneur
Nick is a business catalyst, investor and entrepreneur operating within an extensive network in the global innovation and capital markets. His unique skills enable him to make things happen across institutional and organisational boundaries and to pioneer marketable new ventures on an international scale.
Through his umbrella entity, Crispstart, Nick works internationally to commercialise ground-breaking New Zealand technology propositions by connecting them to investors, collaborators and strategic partners overseas. This has seen his involvement in cutting-edge ventures across sectors as diverse as renewable energy, software, healthcare and nanotechnology to draw together multi-million dollar investments with capital market networks offshore Nick’s focus is specifically on propositions at the edge/ horizon of current innovation. All are propositions that can potentially make a significant difference in the world.
- IP and commercialisation strategies
- Actually making things happen
Global Connector, Digital Media, Entertainment and Indian Trade Relations
Based out of Wellington, in his day job, Sudhir currently serves Local Government Online Limited as the Director – ePartnerships. A director for startups and established companies in Germany, Singapore and India Sudhir travels widely for business between NZ, AU, Europe, Asia & the US. He has global relationships in the corporate and government sectors.
Sudhir has served senior management and strategy positions within the digital music, social media and copyright protection verticals. He has served as the Managing Director – Asia Pacific of Germany headquartered Music2Deal, the world’s largest music marketplace for the music industry and as the Editor-In-Chief of the IMI PPL (apex association of the music industry in India).
Sudhir has recently co-founded AIPC Ltd, a company that enables start ups & established companies to raise capital and explore export opportunities in emerging markets across the globe. He is on the core committee of the India New Zealand Business Council and a member of the India Australia Business Council.
Sudhir has spoken as a key panelist and represented India on some of the major music industry conferences including POPKOMM(Berlin), Music Matters (Hong Kong), OMFM (Australia), Canadian Music Week (Toronto) and the Amsterdam Dance Event (Amsterdam). He has been applauded by the Indian entertainment industry for introducing cutting edge digital technologies from the US & Europe to the Indian sub continent.
He serves as an advisor at Auckland based incubator THE ICEHOUSE and works very closely with internet companies.
Sudhir is open to new connections on Linkedin.
Morrison Kent, Commercial Lawyer
- Partner at Morrison Kent
Andrew has been involved in supporting high growth start ups in Wellington for over 10 years. He is a partner and board member of the legal firm Morrison Kent.
Andrew is the trusted legal partner at Creative HQ – Wellington’s Business Incubator and through this role has been supporting young enterprises by providing the bedrock of good legal advice to turn their talent into real economic returns since the incubator started in 2003.
This longstanding involvement with startups has given him great insight into the key issues for fledging globally ambitious firms.
Andrew specializes in corporate and commercial law, securities and offers to the public, venture capital and business development and family trusts.
Experienced advisor to emerging businesses
- Partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers
Owen is a partner in the Private Client Services team in the Wellington office of PwC. He has over 20 years’ experience working as a business advisor and accountant to private businesses, investors and emerging businesses. Owen has worked closely with clients in a broad range of industries including ICT, retail, property, importing and professional services, and leads the firm’s Emerging Business strategy in Wellington.
Owen’s focus is to assist his clients in improving their performance and achieving successful outcomes in their business activities. This includes providing advice across a range of competencies including business planning, structuring, governance, accounting issues, tax, business and strategic advice.
- Governance in private business
- structuring and growth strategies
IT infrastructure guru
- IT Infrastructure Guru and Owner of Auric Solutions
- LinkedIn profile – Paul Gold
“Paul was a critical part of scaling Trade Me from a single PC hosting a dinky website to a huge infrastructure hosting millions of users. Without Paul’s at times heroic efforts, Trade Me may never have been the success it became.” May 20, 2011
Sam Morgan, Founder of TradeMe
Entrepreneur, Ecosystem Master, Intrapreneur
CEO at Creative HQ
Steve loves new ideas and the application of technology to bring them to life.
Steve has a diverse range of experiences in testing new opportunities, starting technology ventures, building companies and driving their growth. He has a mix of investing himself and doing things for others.
Steve has experience in offshore markets including Australia, UK, Europe and North America. In the UK Steve worked at exec level for a number of multi-nationals in broadband-telco during the .com boom, including the big growth phases of NASDAQ listed NTL (now Virgin Media).
Back in New Zealand, Steve has been involved in startups taking on the leadership of a small data mining services business Datamine, an award-winning Deloitte Fast50 business. He was a founder of spin-off product company, Marketview, and supported this as a Director to eventual MBO.
Steve has been involved in skunk works projects for Meridian Energy, identifying, business-casing and gaining support for innovative spin-out opportunities that brought the likes of Powershop to being. Steve led the business development and growth at Meridian owned Arc Innovations, successfully driving the wider adoption of smart metering across the New Zealand energy sector. This was followed by offshore business development in North America.
Today Steve is motivated by other entrepreneurs and enjoys providing support for them at Creative HQ.
Executive Director – New Zealand Angel Association
- Executive Director of the New Zealand Angel Association
Suse is the Executive Director of the New Zealand Angel Association, founder of Angel HQ, the Wellington regions angel network. She currently sits on the Board of Angel HQ and is enthusiastic believer in the ability of Angel investment to make the world a better place.
Suse was formerly the Executive Director of the business lobby group – the Trade Liberalization Network. This followed a 10 year career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade which included working for the Foreign Minister and a posting in London rep NZ trade and economic interests.
trade negotiation, business faciliation, networking, communication and public relations, public presentations, legal analysis, strategic analysis and research, project management
Entrepreneur, Marketing Magician at phil&teds
Richard’s route to investing in phil&teds and heading up its global marketing is as varied, imprecise and indirect as a one-legged new york indigent’s path from the bar.
He escaped law in the early 90′s to cut his marketing teeth on Grant Dalton’s Whitbread campaign; chanced his arm at Dragon Boat Festival management; dabbled with social brand marketing at Smokefree; and built a highly unsuccessful tailoring business out of Asia; before travelling the world and launching NZ/UK digital marketing and app development firm Netenz at the worst moment in time to start an IT venture; the day of the tech stock crash.
He built and sold Netenz to UK technology company Imano in 2003, before kite surfing home to NZ over the course of 2004 and managing Icebreaker’s Australasian sales in 2005.
Since joining the phil&teds group in 2006 as head of Global Marketing he has led the rebrands, brand marketing and DtoC web business of phil&teds, Mountain Buggy and Prorack, and been a Director of Prorack until its sale to Yakima(USA). He currently sits on several advisory boards, between trying to convince Wellington to reposition as the entrepreneurial capital.
He has a deep understanding of international market development, brand marketing and product development, matched with a background in digital marketing. He’s quite a snappy sort of chap.
CEO at Silverstripe
Sam is the CEO and co-founder of SilverStripe. He has shaped the SilverStripe Suite and is part of its success story as an internationally respected Open Source CMS.
Prior to being appointed CEO in April 2011, Sam was Chief Technology Officer for several years, since the company’s humble beginnings in 2000. He created a SMS that is smarter, more intuitive and more enjoyable to use. His focus is on applying modern web development techniques to building software that enables the creation of technically complex websites and applications.
Sam has a BA in Computing and Philosophy from Victoria University. When he’s not at work, he enjoys anything from a good book (shameless sci-fi fan!) to the next Drum ‘n’ Bass gig.
Senior Business Leader, Strategist
Chairman of the Board at Silverstripe
Alasdair has had a long standing connection with startups in the Wellington region and beyond. Alasdair was instrumental in the launch and mid phases of Creative HQ going on to invest and/or advise a number of Creative HQ Alumni including Silverstripe, Optimal Usability and DeNada.
As a partner in Deloitte, Alasdair was responsible for growing their mid-market strategy practice and for spearheading activities in supporting the NZ Government’s Growth and Innovation strategy. He retired as a Partner at the end of May 2012, but is still active with SMEs around New Zealand.
A former Civil Engineer, he completed his MBA over 20 years ago, and has worked in a diverse range of sectors within New Zealand and overseas.
Alasdair is keenly interested in the way in which the web is changing the world, particularly the fusion between social media and business.
When not at work, Alasdair enjoys travel, reading, swimming, running very slowly, cooking at weekends and being out on the harbour.
Global connector, media/marketing
- Founder at MediaSense
Hal Josephson is Founder and CEO of MediaSense, a San Francisco firm specializing in strategic market planning, international business development and special project management services for high-tech industries. MediaSense clients have included: Apple, IDG, Motorola, The Electronic Industry Association, Reed-Midem, InternetWire, Australia Multimedia Enterprise, InfoTech Canada, Australasian Access, Hong Kong Cyberport and China Access, an economic development consultancy that specializes in building alliances, and partnerships to do business in China, not outsource from.
Hal has been the Chair and Program Director for Hong Kong’s Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum (DELF) and the Hong Kong Cyberport Venture Capital Forum (CVCF).
While in San Francisco, Hal was Executive Director for the NewMedia INVISION Festival, the largest North American program honoring creators of digital content in all media, including videogames, web sites and other new media applications. During this same period, Hal was also the primary US consultant and Silicon Valley liaison for Australian Multimedia Enterprise (AME), a $55M AU new media venture fund based in Sydney, Australia. Prior to this, Hal was Vice President of Infotainment World, producers of the highly successful video game conference, Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).
During the early nineties, Hal was the Director of Worldwide Business Development for The 3DO Company. 3DO was a joint venture of Electronic Arts, Time-Warner and Matsushita. During the eighties, Hal was a Boulder, Colorado entrepreneur as co-founder of two IT-related public companies, TeleMedia, a teleconferencing production and human factors training business and StarCom Inc., a satellite delivered entertainment company. Hal has specific industry experience in interactive and digital media, teleconferencing, satellite communications, software licensing, and video production, with decades of experience doing international business development and strategic marketing.
- Strategic marketing
- International business development
- Event and conference design and delivery
- China, New Zealand, Australia and Canada – fostering partnerships, alliances and export readiness.
Specialist in digital strategy, productive workflows, high value content
- Managing Directrix at Mohawk Media
Helen Baxter is MD of Mohawk Media, sits on the advisory boards of Creative Commons Aotearoa, DigitalNZ, and judges the Yahoo!NZ Digital Strategy Awards. She writes about tools for creative entrepreneurs in the MsBehaviour Files at the Big Idea, is a mentor for XMediaLab, and Wellington Startup Weekend.
Helen was founding editor of KnowledgeBoard.com, an award-winning community for knowledge and innovation run by the European Commission. She has taught professional practice, online tools and emerging technologies in the UK, NZ, Australia, and is an international keynote speaker.
- Designing for behaviour change
- Persuasive technology
- Social media and social commerce
- Applied game mechanics
- Media relations, communications and marketing
- International Business
- Emerging Technology & its application to business
- Digital Media & Entertainment
- Social, mobile, location services
- Online community management
- Game design
In depth understanding of real-time media and mobile marketing/ new media sectors – Strong industry relationships – Proven enterprise experience in ideation and execution of community building / creative partnerships / communications strategy tied to brand and product goals – Excellent producer with technical savvy – Works well with developers, sales, and marketing teams.
Outside of work I teach yoga & pilates, run (inc Kenya marathon), fly planes and climb mountains (Mt Kilimanjaro).
Global connector, Summer of Tech
- Customer Manager at NZTE
Ruth is intimately connected throughout the Wellington start up community. She is one of the driving forces behind the successful Summer of Tech programme and co-organizer of the Hackers and Founders meet up group.
Ruth is interested in business support, the startup community, social enterprise & media observation.
In her day job, Ruth works with New Zealand exporters particularly in the digital and technology space at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
Entrepreneur, Sales and Marketing
Amanda has extensive experience and success in supporting and guiding start-ups and other businesses in the area of sales, managing a sofware company and strategy. She currently works with a wide range of organsations with strategy planning advice and/or sales process definition by supporting the existing sales team and making them more effective.
Her particular strengths are helping support companies who are struggling to scale up their sales successes or if a start-up are needing to ramp up their sales. Her methodologies and tools help ensure repeatable and increased sales for companies.
Amanda led and managed the SMSS (Student Management Software Solutions) company in the Tertiary Education Sector doubling sales of professional services year on year from 2009 to 2011. She also set up MBA Connect Ltd in 2006 and is a board member of Consumer New Zealand.
Amanda is a keen mountain biker.
- Change management
- Revenue growth
- Sales management
- Strategy planning
- Corporate restructure
- New business
Social media, creative engagement
- Founder at Catalyst90 -The Social Media Agency for Agencies
Tom is a solutions-focused creative thinker with more than a decade of digital and social media marketing experience. This extensive background combined with his natural ability to think big, strategically and creatively makes him a bold leader at the helm of the Catalyst90 team.
As CEO of Catalyst90, Tom is focused on sales, marketing and the quest for ultimate customer service, plus a dash of email and social media marketing for fun. What he loves about his job is being able to run with the big ideas and being able to make them happen for his clients.
• Sales strategy
• Communication planning
• Creative strategy development
• Business development
• Social media strategy formulation
• Social media strategy implementation
• Social media planning
• Excellent communication skills
• Business Planning
• Email marketing and campaign development
• technology marketing,
• acquisition and retention
• product development
Global Connector, Boost Media
“Nick doesn’t say things to be liked, he say’s them because he believes them“
Nick has spent his lifetime enthusing people to push themselves and challenging them to look at what they do differently.
His experience stretches from selling vacuum cleaners door to door, selling second hand cars. to working in the Film and TV industry for 15 years (Writer,Director, Program Director, Modelmaker)
Nick is the first to admit he has failed at many things but has always found the lessons that lay behind these failings and he has been passionate in helping other people not to make the same ones.
Now thoroughly immersed in the Web, Nick sells himself as a disruptive thinker and loves to challenge business as to why they do business they way they do.
Add to this an obsession for networking and sharing great contacts and you have Nick…see LinkedIn for more details.
Independent management & ICT consultant
Alick Wilson is an independent management and ICT consultant and company director. He has a wide ranging technical, consulting, commercial and governance background.
Alick has worked with startup and early stage companies for over ten years. He has been an external advisor at Creative HQ since its inception, an expert reviewer for funding grants for the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and an independent advisor to several early stage companies.
Alick was co-founder of several IT startups, most notably Azimuth Consulting Limited (not related to company of same name trading today). Azimuth expanded from New Zealand to Australia and Asia. It was later acquired by Intelligroup Inc (USA), a global IT services company. Alick later joined the board of Intelligroup, one of few New Zealanders to have been a director of a NASDAQ listed company.
Start up advisor, governance, capital raising
- Advisor to start ups
- Governance and strategy Specialist
With an obsession with understanding what customers really want he has been an advisor for start-ups for over a decade. Murray is an engineer with experience in mobile, and broadband marketing Currently a visiting lecturer in marketing at Massey University.
Mentor & Advisor - Strategy Operationalisation & Presales (Technology & IT)
Ravi has extensive experience in the IT and Telecommunications industries internationally, holding senior and specialist problem solving positions in companies such as Qwest, Tata Consultancy Services, British Telecommunications, Alcatel-Lucent and TelstraClear.
While informed by this experience, Ravi now considers himself freed from the imprisonment of income generation and instead devotes his time to advising, inspiring and mentoring the owners of startup companies.
Ravi believes that the most important part of owning a business is to look at everything as a human experience. A crucial part of market validation is to map the customer experience and in this discipline Ravi has become an expert.
Despite working in some massive corporations, Ravi has not lost his ability to hustle – a skill and attitude absolutely necessary for someone who grew up poor in India.
One of Ravi’s key messages is “Start Something!”
- IT & Telecommunications domain knowledge
- Customer experience mapping
- Inspiring others
Strategy and Execution in Software and IT Markets
Matan’s strengths are both his formal skills (Business Execution and Strategic Planning) developed as Chief Operating Office and Product Development Director at FNZ (formerly a subsidiary of First NZ Capital Ltd) as well as his softer skills (motivation and leadership) learnt over 15 years of leadership roles, engaging with clients and mentoring. Matan’s experience in leading diverse teams, portfolios and revenue streams in multiple locations, time zones and countries contributes to a unique perspective on business.
Matan is passionate about tackling huge challenges and shaping business for growth through building the right culture, creating effective strategy, and focusing on bottom-line.
He has a Bachelor of Business Information Sciences (majoring in Computer Sciences and Economics) from Massey University and received the New Zealand Computer Society award for highest achieving Computer Science student for his graduating year.
Owner Futurecentric, champion of opportunities
I see the world as challenges and opportunities, to find the most right things to do or the very best approach to solve a problem. I like the idea of amplifying goals, making them bigger and braver than they would be without my input. And to accelerate progress, get people and projects to the finish line faster and in better shape.
Re-crafting business thinking
Promoting leadership, fresh thinking and creativity
Opportunity sounding board
Design new performance measures
Project and campaign design
Background and Experience
Duncan is a marketer, strategist and champion of creating opportunities for business and communities. He solves problems combining planning tools and entrepreneurial flair, leveraging his wide ranging networks, he works with leaders and their teams, to testing goals, formulate approaches and possibilities when a more creative approach works better than the status quo.
Duncan has over 20 years experience in senior management at private, government and non-profit organisations of national and international significance. Duncan has taken a design-led approach to developing products and services, leading prototyping and specialist teams to implement them.
He has a potent mix of experiences challenging norms and solving problems, working best where there is no road-map.
Duncan also volunteers his advice, time and problem solving skills to non profit organisations.
Business strategy and direction
Chip Dawson is in charge of International Business Management Limited (IBML), a New Zealand-based management advisory company. He has been responsible for developing strategies and directions in a number of multi-national organisations in management, sales, marketing, and product direction with companies such as Apple Computer Corporation, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Hitachi Data Systems, and Telecom NZ, and Aeroquip Corporation (EATON).
He has been the President and Chairman of the NZ Software Association; Co-Chairman of ICT New Zealand; Board member to Accelerating Auckland; President and Chairman of Mecca Group; Executive Director for EmbeddedFusion, Director of AintoG, Director of IP Markets and Ideas Accelerator, Director of ProVision Security Ltd., a Board Advisor for Watchdog Corporation, Director of Voola Software, and a presenter for Lexus-Nexus, and facilitator for the Technology World NZ Conference, and Convergence 2007.
Chip has sat on the advisory boards for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise for the Beachheads Project, Biotech Cluster, IT Cluster, and UCLA Graduate School of Business project. Chip has been an advisor to the ICEHOUSE and Strategic School of Business at University of Auckland on the 321Go-Global project. He has been an advisor to the Hi-Growth ICT government initiative, and Committee for Auckland Australasian Access for USA and Asia Expansion. He is also a senior board member for the University of Auckland’s Computer Science and Engineering Schools, Massey University MBA programme, and a presenter to UniTech.
Chip is a professional presenter and advisor for Enterprise Waitakere LaunchPad Project for growing NZ SME businesses and has been a judge for the 2003-2012 Waitakere Eco-City Business Awards and the North Shore Business Awards 2007-2012, and the Indian Business Awards 2008-2012.
With a commitment to motivation and teamwork, Chip has been the Acting CEO for Mischa Technology Solutions (NZ) Limited and Spider Tracks Limited, Director of Online Advancement Solutions (OAS) Limited, Director for Primesoft, Executive Director for Comteq Solutions Ltd, CEO for Flow Software Ltd., and is a senior management advisor to over 45 early stage growth companies. He has been a private investor in several businesses.
Investor, Co-Founder & CEO
Investor, Co-Founder & CEO: First Rate, Sparkbox, Calcium, Ponoko
First Rate: NZ’s largest digital marketing agency. Raised capital, recruited team, signed customers like NewsCorp, Fonterra, Telecom, Air New Zealand, Contact Energy, Saatchi & Saatchi, The Warehouse and Trademe (increased their search traffic by 1,384% in 11 months). Sold my shares to Australian public company. Co-founder Jon Ostler did an amazing job.
Sparkbox: NZ’s first angel investment firm. Raised capital, recruited team, made 4 web investments (2 died, 1 operating, 1 5x exit). Sold my shares. Now invested in 20+ startups.
Calcium: NZ’s first email branding software-as-a-service. Raised capital, recruited CEO. Sold my shares. Operations continue.
Ponoko: World’s first digital manufacturing marketplace. Raised capital, recruited team, generated first 4 million website visitors, opened San Francisco office, inked relationships with Google, Autodesk & Chris Anderson (Wired Editor-in-Chief), secured extensive global media coverage (Inc. magazine cover, The New York Times, etc). Currently leading the charge.
Business as a mission
Ralf is a serial entrepreneur, first start up with 19, 15 to date, in Germany, USA, Brazil, South Africa, Caribbean and NZ.
After studying law and economics – and a MBA and Ph.D. on the way – Ralf has specialised in high tech start ups and commercialisation and his int’l networks to high profile companies and individuals can achieve market validation and introductions very quickly and cost efficiently.
Ralf is an advisor to UoA, AUT, Massey, IRL, an EiR in the Icehouse and a judge on “Lets get inventing”. He is CEO of Duke Engines, Chairman of Air Quality Ltd., and involved with university spin offs and technology cooperations between NZ companies and US and Europe multinationals.
“People People People – helping people and companies, finding, building, keeping, motivating and leading to success a wide variety of teams and individuals – in different countries, in different languages, under a wide variety of challenges and conditions
Muller&Muller Ltd. - Philosophy is simple:
- We like to help – seriously. We love it and it makes us tick and work very hard.
- We believe in improving the life of others, not just making a few people rich.
- We love ideas and projects with a wider purpose and the chance to make an impact.
- We love doing good things – and we do them with passion and compassion, dedication, discipline and always in good faith.
- We only do things we are good at, if we cannot add value to you, we rather say no.
- We do not create false expectations or hopes, if it can’t work, we will say so quickly and honestly.
- Don’t expect miracles, expect hard work and less talk, but don’t give up hope, miracles can happen.
- We look for longtime partners and friends, not shortlived engagements.
- We like to work with people we like.
- We depend on good communication and expect the same from our partners.
- Yes, we do like to make money, but only as part of a good, decent and honest relationship in a great project and/or company
Toby is a serial entrepreneur and passionate about spotting problems and needs, then putting together the right people to provide the related solutions.
After successfully founding various online businesses and running them from across the globe, Toby is now the founder and CEO ofwww.unifiedinbox.com, a unified conversation and social collaboration platform.
He studied piano at university in Germany before immigrating to New Zealand in 2003. He likes thinking outside the box to help solving big problems that may affect many people.
If he finds time, he blogs on www.tobyruckert.com and speaks at international events on a wide variety of topics.
Start-up & Owner Managed Business Coach
Debra has a broad range of experience from being an owner-manager of a number of businesses, as well as holding General Management, CEO & Director roles across a broad range of industries from start-ups, SME’s Corporates and Not-for-Profit Organisations.
Combined with her formal qualifications in Biochemistry, Food Science, Marketing & Business Administration, Debra has a unique mixture of experience & acumen that she shares with her clients.
Her roles / clients have included TOWER, InterCity & Newmans Coachlines, Auckland City Council, Warner Bros, Sony Music, Roche, Glaxo Smith Kline, Generator, Avante International & The Life Education Trust.
She has also worked with many owner-managed and start up businesses in the areas of Travel & Tourism, Food & Nutrition, Beauty & Medical Products, Online Gaming & Online Services, PR & Promotions, Media, Advertising, Engineering & Architecture.
Debra uses her distinctive coaching skills to work with both start-ups and established businesses to help them unlock their potential and realise profitable growth whilst having fun along the way.
Main specialties include:
- Strategic Planning
- Marketing Strategy, including Digital Strategies
- Sales Strategy & Management
- New Product Development & Innovation
Debra is a member of the Institute of Directors, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Marketers and lectures at the marketing association on their Certificate of Marketing Management and Certificate of Digital Marketing courses.
Debra is one of life’s true enthusiasts, with the rare ability to motivate and excite colleagues, customers & clients. She is passionate about working with New Zealand Businesses and Boards to ensure that they grow profitably.
Technology Evangelist and Investor
Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.
Founder and CEO of Vend
Technology productisation & Sales guy
Strategist for the social web
Karl von Randow
Software developer, Co-founder Cactuslab
Karl started boutique Auckland web design studio Cactuslab with Matthew Buchanan in 2001.
He is co-founder of popular iOS application Camera+, which recently sold its 10 millionth copy, and creator of Charles Proxy, a popular tool for web developers.
Karl & Cactuslab’s latest project is Letterboxd, a social film site.
Serge van Dam
Expert Mobile Commerce and International Business Development
Serge is currently head of marketing and international business development for Fiserv’s mobile solutions division (previously M-Com).
Serge led the marketing and business development growth of M-Com from start up to the world’s most successful mobile banking and payments software company.
Belinda Simcox (Sim)
Mobile Technologist, Strategist & Trainer
Mobile is radically disrupting business and is just the beginning of a far greater wireless wave. Belinda Simcox (Sim) helps companies initiate enterprise-wide change within the brave new world of mobile and beyond.
Sim is an accomplished mobile technologist and advisor with a 25 year career in disruptive technologies in the United States and NZ and one of the early pioneers of mobile marketing in NZ back in 2004. Sim is the Director of Simergy Ltd an independent business advisory, consulting and project management practice.
Sim was responsible for the early mobile proposition, strategy and product development for Localist (NZ Post), and an advisor to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise on their national Mobile Innovation Project. She has also managed the planning and design for large Mobile App projects including the augmented reality App for NZ Herald’s TimeOut section; various Responsive Web Design initiatives; and co-authored a Mobile Accessibility report for American Express.
One of Sim’s passions is growing mobile innovation in NZ, and to that end is a respected international speaker and trainer. She represented NZ at the Korea-Australia-New Zealand Broadband Summit speaking on mobile application and payment innovation; chaired the Mobile Marketing Forum in NZ; and was on the Mobile Advertising Council for the Interactive Advertising Bureau NZ. She also tutors on mobile marketing for the Marketing Association’s Certificate of Digital Marketing; and leads business training programs for large organisations such as international ad agency JWT, AUT University, EIT and Tairawhiti Polytechnics. She has written several industry whitepapers, “Trends in mCommerce” and “Entering the Apposphere”
Co-founder Optimal Usability
Trent Mankelow is a Director and co-founder of Optimal Usability. He started out as a technologist, with a degree in computer science, but quickly found that his passion was in the intersection between people and technology.
Trent regularly writes and speaks on customer experience, service design, and usability. He also helped to found the New Zealand chapter of the Usability Professionals’ Association, and served on its international board from 2008 – 2010.
Angel Investor keen on biz model + process
Rudi co-founded a UK based SAP consulting business, growing it from 2 to 400+ staff within 9 years before exiting in a trade sale in 1999 before the dot.com and Y2K bubbles burst. He has a keen eye for business process and is happy to help entrepreneurs break out of their comfort zone.
He has a German no-nonsense attitude with little time for bullshit.
Now in NZ since 2000; he joined the Auckland ICE Angels club in 2010: awarded most active angel award 2011, member of the club’s advisory board and screening committee. As investor/advisor/director he works with multiple companies in the start-up/SME space. He is also chairman of a charitable trust running initiatives for at risk youth.
Master of Entrepreneurship & Multicore guy
Nicolás Erdödy is an addicted serial entrepreneur and former maths lecturer who founded and implemented 15 knowledge-intensive start ups in different countries and industries -from high-tech ventures to the 1st online academy in LatinAmerica (yes, a 1999 “dot com”). He spent decades establishing and leading highly specialised teams, and designing, integrating and managing systems for new ventures – creating them from scratch. Nicolás is also Director of Erdödy Consultancy Ltd, a professional services firm that specialises in New Venture Creation, Global Strategies, Innovation and Corporate Entrepreneurship
Following the vision that New Zealand should become a global hub in entrepreneurship based in multicore technologies, Nicolás has been organising a yearly friends gathering (aka Multicore World -a global conference in multicore and parallel computing) since 2010, when he founded Open Parallel.
Previously he founded and was CEO of World45, the first multicore software company established in New Zealand. Prior to that, Nicolás established dGV, a boutique venture capital firm specialised in early stage high tech ventures with strong IP position. He was dGV’s Venture Capital Manager, CEO of two of the invested companies and Director of all of them.
Nicolás holds a Master of Entrepreneurship from the University of Otago, New Zealand; a Research Diploma for New Technologies applied to Education from INRP (Uruguay – France) and forgot long time ago the FORTRAN learned between Mathematics and Hydraulics at the School of Engineering of Universidad de la Republica, Montevideo, Uruguay.
A full member of IITP, AANZ, and NZOSS, Nicolás lives in Oamaru and knows how to ask for a beer in five human languages.
Intellectual Property Guru
Simon formed Innovation Liberation Front to help entrepreneurial businesses protect and commercialise their innovations. His background includes 17 years as an IP lawyer and patent attorney with a multi-award winning IP firm, where he was a partner for 9 years.
He is active in the start-up space, co-founding Magic Mitten which makes and sells a patented baby calming aid, and Crunchouse which is commercialising a patented personalised modelling algorithm.
He is past President of the Entrepreneurs Organisation New Zealand and past President of the Licensing Executives Society of Australia and New Zealand. In 2012 he was named in Intellectual Asset Management magazine’s IAM Strategy 300 – the World’s Leading IP Strategists.
We help great NZ companies find investors
Twelve years in the New Zealand market dealing high networth and seasoned investors throughout New Zealand and globally in markets such as Australia, China, UK, USA, Dubai, and continental Europe.
Mainly through Valentine Addis which was started in 2000 and continues to grow and develop into an educational services company that is working to educated and train companies to manage themselves more effectively and prepare for future investment as well as developing their strategic plans and valuations.
Raising VC for start-ups and high growth companies and partnering with investors and innovators to take New Zealand to the world and bring the world to New Zealand.
Creative Energies Wrangler
With degrees in photography, experimental animation, and screenwriting, Jim Simmons knows first hand the process of individual creative pursuit. But it is in his professional career as a producer and director of product development in the areas of electronic toys, computer games, and digital media that he has honed the elusive skill of guiding teams of wildly disparate disciplines in achieving ground-breaking changes in the way that we interact with devices, games and stories.
A constant thread throughout Jim’s work has been helping define and maintain vision in the midst of chaos, soliciting the best from teams of brilliant creators whilst seeing to it that they both challenge and respect each other, and ultimately remembering that an end user must find delight and/or utility in the outcome of the team’s work.
Jim has walked this tightrope in the US at Hasbro, Disney, Electronic Arts, MGM, SAS Institute, and in New Zealand at Sidhe, Unlimited Realities and Resn.
Jim is currently a senior producer at Resn.
Trevor is a founding investor in Lightning Lab, A-EON Technology, Azimuth Oilfield Systems Ltd, TJD properties Ltd, HRH Ltd, and an Angel Investor at Angel HQ.
Trevor has many years of experience from various companies as Geolink International, Geodata, Gearhart Industries MWD and Nec Gas Analytic Services Ltd.
He describes himself as an “uber geek” and are interested in anything to do with computers and technology.
Joseph Stuart is a great person to know if you can see the future and want to find a way to make it real. Joseph has a diverse range of skills gained from working with both public and private organisation’s, and has played a significant role in New Zealand’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. With many exits, accolades and international recognitions achieved, he has successfully influenced and supported entrepreneurs to create real value.
Looking for the unique and seeking to be inspired every day, he has significant strategic experience in structuring internationally focused innovation activities. Helping New Zealand’s startups and high growth companies take on the world, he has overseen the investment of over NZD$100m into over 500 companies.
Joseph also has significant experience in the establishment and development of businesses, with executive and governance roles in textiles, hospitality, advertising, performing arts, and digital content industries.
Joseph is an Accredited Practitioner of Economic Development (AEcD NZ) and a member of the Institute of Directors NZ (MinstD)
Capital raising, mergers and acquisitions guy
I am an investment banker and entrepreneur.
I am a founding partner in a boutique New Zealand-based investment bank Woodward Partners. Woodward Partners provides investment banking advisory and institutional sharebroking services. Woodward Partners are an NZX-sponsor firm. Recent Woodward Partners transactions include the sale of BNZ’s commercial insurance business to Aon (adviser to BNZ), the acquisition by NZ Post of 50% of Express Couriers from DHL (adviser to NZ Post), sale of Radian Technology to Tru-Test (adviser to Radian), capital raise for CricHQ, capital raise for Scoop Media, the IPO of Energy Mad (MAD.NZ) on the NZSX, the NZ$3.3 million capital raise for Windflow (WTL.NZ) on the NZAX and the valuation of the NZ Crown’s royalty streams from the petroleum estate. I am also the founder of Valuecruncher (Valuecruncher.com) – a web-based software application that provides interactive valuation tools for publicly-traded companies. Valuecruncher has been referenced by Barron’s and Umair Haque in Harvard Business Review
From Umair Haque’s article:
“Tracked, ValueCruncher, StockTwits, and many more are the leading edge of a revolution – a revolution in what finance has been for the last several centuries, and what it must become in the 21st.”
Hikurangi Foundation, social enterprise & sustainability
Alex is the Executive Director of the Hikurangi Foundation – a social enterprise incubator focused on supporting new solutions to sustainability challenges.
Before joining Hikurangi, Alex was Director of Programmes at Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) – a global network focused on leadership development for sustainability. He was also Head of Partnerships at the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), a global initiative providing technical advice and services on climate change and development to decision makers in developing countries.
Alex is driven by doing things better and fairer.
All about SaaS: Strategy, Technology, Delivery
I’m a polymath generalist, with an ever-broadening knowledge of how great software businesses should plan and operate, combined with a deep grounding as a developer in software technology, development practices and architecture.
Fundamentally: I like building great strategic plans and seeing that they get delivered.
I am also the 2012 / 2013 Chair of Canterbury Software Inc., the regional software industry body. We help to grow and support world-class technology businesses from Canterbury – one of the leading innovation, commercial and lifestyle regions in the world.
lawgeeknz - internet lawyer
Rick has a Masters degree with first class honours in copyright and internet law from Auckland University. He heads up Lowndes Jordan’s IT/IP team, which acts for telcos, ISPs, cloud service providers, media companies, digital publishers and authors, webdesign houses, software and app developers and network providers/integrators, as well as providing IP and IT advice to general business and corporate clients. Rick is the first lawyer to become an IITP Information Technology Certified Professional. He is a previous Vice President of InternetNZ, where he was instrumental in formulating .nz domain name policy, and consults to the NZ Telecommunication Carriers’ Forum. He has advised numerous start-ups and growth companies from formation onwards. Rick is also chair of cybercitizenship NFP, NetSafe, and a director of Crown company, The Network for Learning Limited.
Founder Lean Startup Machine
Trevor is an entrepreneur and thought leader on Lean Startup methodologies. As Founder & CEO of Lean Startup Machine, he has helped thousands of startup founders and individuals from organizations including Google, Salesforce, News Corp, Intuit, Consumer Reports, the United Stations Postal Service and others, start hundreds of new businesses on six continents.
In additions to training enterprises on how to innovate, Trevor is a coach for the White House’s Innovation Fellows program and is a featured guest speaker at Princeton & Columbia University. He also founded New York University’s largest Entrepreneurial Society, Tech@NYU.
An entrepreneur, director and senior executive
An entrepreneur, director and senior executive with over 20 years’ experience working and living in Europe, the USA, Australia and New Zealand, Richard’s professional career has seen him work as a fund’s manager, management consultant and corporate executive in the private equity, investment banking, insurance and telecommunications sectors.
Richard is currently an Associate Director at Armillary Private Capital a corporate advisory practice in New Zealand that focuses on working with businesses seeking to grow on and offshore.
Prior to joining Armillary he worked at NZVIF Limited a private equity fund of funds investor where he led the development and growth of the NZ$40 million seed co investment fund that invests into early stage businesses; Tower Limited, where he led the strategy and business development function for the Australian and New Zealand businesses and was involved in the listing of Australian Wealth Management on the ASX; at AMP in senior operational and finance roles and at Orange PLC where he worked in the businesses corporate venturing and strategy team.
In 2006 he co-founded Triplejump Limited a company that provides a business system for life insurance distributors throughout New Zealand and remains a significant investor in this growth company.
In addition to his professional career he has developed significant governance experience both reporting to Boards and serving on them directly. He is currently the Chair of Core Technology and Aviarc Global Limited, Chair of the Co7.com Advisory Board and a Non-Executive Director of Triplejump Limited.
His past Directorships include the Angel Association of New Zealand which he co-founded and sat on its Advisory Council until 2010 and a range of high growth companies in New Zealand including Optimation Limited; Mobile Mentor Limited and SpamDunk Limited. He also founded the UK chapter of KEA.
Start-up Product and Marketing Coach
Heather Anne Carson
Startup PR & Promotion | Entrepreneur
Heather is a Co-Founder, Onboardly.
Heather’s focus is all things PR and Promotion – helping introduce Onboardly’s portfolio of amazing startups to a wide variety of media outlets, influencers, and networks. She believes that good PR is all about good ideas and a ton of hustle; not a hefty Rolodex like your typical PR agency claims. As a result of that approach, she has helped her clients secure coverage in publications like Inc, Entrepreneur, Shape Magazine, New York Times Magazine, BetaKit, TechCrunch, PandoDaily, TechCocktail, and Mashable among other industry-specific outlets.
Geek in stilettos
Renee Warren is the CEO of Onboardly, an agency that works with early stage startups to help them with customer acquisition and to gain visibility. Having worked with companies such as Udemy, Manpacks, and Beaucoo she has helped them create online presence that consistently gets them hundreds of thousands of potential customers in front of their products. Often referred to as ‘geek in stilettos’, Renée is passionate about creating a life that allows her to be the worlds best mom and build a company that continues to create value for its customers through inbound marketing.
Early stage strategist
Rowan is deeply immersed in the early stage technology space as an entrepreneur, investor, advisor, mentor and consultant. He has done this in both New Zealand and the US. He is a national organiser of Startup Weekend as well as a Startup Weekend Global Facilitator, he currently mentors at ecentre in Auckland as well as having a role as a formal adviser to several tech startups.
Rowan has expertise in Lean Startup and emerging customer driven methodologies and advises numerous startups on how to adapt their thinking to apply these approaches.
Des Traynor is a co-founder and COO Of Intercom, a CRM and messaging tool for web applications. Des writes the very popular Intercom blog, and is a regular conference speaker on topics such as UX Design, customer experience, and the business of start-ups. He is on Twitter as @destraynor, and his previous presentations can be found at http://speakerdeck.com/u/
Investor & Entrepreneur.
Rod is a co-founder of commercialisation & incubation firm Macfarlane Engel & Associates, and also of creative digital development firm MEA Mobile. His experience is in new venture development, business development, intellectual property, technology development and commercial negotiation. He is the graduate of a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Laws, and an MBA, and the inventor of 2 granted a several pending international patents.
Always Learning. Enjoying the Journey.
Founder of Zaarly, Inc., a location-based, real time community marketplace.
Experienced attorney, accountant and entrepreneur that has represented public and private technology, energy and life sciences companies, venture capital firms and investment banks in a wide range of transactions, including public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, securities, technology licensing transactions, corporate partnerships, commercial agreements and venture capital financings.
Managing Partner, powerHouse
Stephen is the Managing Partner and founder of Powerhouse Ventures Ltd, a public-private partnership providing incubation and seed capital to high technology start-up companies. Powerhouse specialises in ventures with strong intellectual property, often spinout companies from universities and government research institutes.
His career has been dedicated to transforming new knowledge into commercial success for companies, and supporting the wider innovation system in which they operate.
After graduating from the University of Canterbury in 1995 with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, Stephen joined Bath University in the United Kingdom to do post-doctoral research in Control Theory.
Following this, Stephen became Research and Development Manager and then Sales and Marketing Manager for the Marine Products division of a large UK based company, Vosper Thornycroft. The significant gains achieved in marketing and production performance led to Stephen’s appointment as General Manager of several acquired companies. His team’s fast-growth execution and business improvement led to trade sale of one of these companies two years later. Commercialisation of university developed technology played a significant role in the development and growth of these new ventures.
In 2000, Stephen became Managing Director of Koop Nautic, a Netherlands-based company specialising in control systems for super-yachts. A new model stabiliser developed by his team on the basis of market feedback enabled the company to dominate this rapidly expanding global market within 12 months.
Stephen returned to New Zealand and took up the role of start-up CEO of the award winning Canterbury Innovation Incubator, Cii. Here, Stephen pioneered the collaboration of incubators with universities before establishing Powerhouse Ventures in 2006. In this role, he has overseen the incubation and growth of more than 50 new companies.
All things digital
Claudia has over 15 years of experience in the technology sector, including four years as a corporate attorney specializing in contract and technology law.
Claudia was part of the founding team of Massive, a first-of-its-kind network for video game advertising that within three short years sold to Microsoft in 2006. In late 2009 she was co-founder of Victors & Spoils, the first advertising agency built on the principles of crowsdsourcing. In early 2012, French holding company Havas bought a majority interest in the agency, positioning V&S for international expansion. She has advised companies of every shape and size, across telecommunications, banking and biotechnology, and has expert experience in intellectual property protection, e-commerce and privacy. Claudia has partnered with advertising agencies at a strategic level, working to solve the issues that agencies face in the current economic, technological and social environment, and helping them to adapt to new models.
Batten’s background gives her a grounding in genuine business savvy, while her appetite for new challenges, natural curiosity, unerring sense of timing and intuitive handle on the pulse of the industry guarantee that she will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
Founder of SydStart
Pete is founder of SydStart and a geek with twenty years of international financial technology experience at places like Rothschild, The ASX, Macquarie Bank and Standard Chartered Bank including numerous blue chip C-Level roles with global responsibility.
These days he is based in Sydney and likes to help entrepreneurs succeed globally as a volunteer mentor, angel investor and advocate for professional tech startups. He still has a day job doing M&A CIO, COO and business technology strategy work just to stay busy.
Pete’s hobbies are politics, technology, trying to understand his teenagers and pretty much anything involving water sports.
Strategic Agile Growth
Sam Ragnarsson is a software development and business consultant with experience in all stages of development and implementation, specializing in process related optimisation using Agile and Scrum.
Originally from Iceland, Sam recently moved to Christchurch, New Zealand after working all over the globe for the past 20 years with the aim of contributing to the future of New Zealand Tech.
During his years in England, Australia and Germany Sam project managed implementation of large scale ERP software, both BaaN and SAP, along with introducing Lean Manufacturing processes to several factories and setting up IT Helpdesk operations for over 2000 users across Europe.
Sam moved on to Quality Assurance in the computer games industry, running teams of testers in four countries. At that point he supported the move from waterfall to agile development with over 100 developers.
Most recently Sam has been running his own social media / iPhone startup companies in USA, Japan and China, giving in to his entrepreneurial side. Sam is also currently studying for a degree in Information Technology majoring in Entrepreneurship at Lincoln University.
Entrepreneur, Businessman, Investor
Frayne is an Auckland-based entrepreneur and businessman with interests in telecommunications, media and e-commerce.
Having a technical mind with a commercial focus, Frayne pursued an entrepreneurial path early, having conceptualised, designed and commercialised products from bottled water and telecommunications, to mobile and e-commerce.
With wide-ranging experience in early-stage ventures and product commercialisation, Frayne has presided over several successful exits and continues to invest and operate in early-stage companies via his private equity vehicle, Kalyne Capital.
Frayne holds a degree in mechanical, electronics and computer systems engineering, with post-graduate business administration and corporate finance.
Frayne specialises in lean startups, product commercialisation, creative business model development and finding and extracting value within established businesses.
Co-founder & Entrepreneur
Nick is a motivated and competitive individual, striving to be the best in all he do. He is passionate about making a difference in his chosen industry and taking on the big guys motivates him to succeed further.
Nick is a founder and managing director at Dash Tickets. Dash Tickets aims to deliver continuous innovation and improvement to our services to ensure our clients enjoy a simple, secure, cost effective self-managed ticketing experience.