We’re hiring a Community Lead to help us deliver on our mission to supercharge Aotearoa’s most ambitious founders. Our goal is to make Blackbird a Kiwi founder’s first choice of investor to lead their Seed or Series A round. By delivering epic events for Kiwi founders and operators, you will help Blackbird foster and serve our community.
We’ve had a flood of questions come in about the role, so here Blackbird Associate Phoebe Harrop answers the most popular:
What kind of community activities are currently being run? Who currently runs these?
Our Community team in Australia helps us run a number of Blackbird events and programmes, for example:
- NZ-wide roadshow featuring offices hours and pitch coaching workshops
- Quarterly portfolio founder dinners
- Diversity Equity & Inclusion workshop series
- Blackbird Founder Academy (currently for our portfolio founders only)
- Sunrise Festival
- Electrify Aotearoa in conjunction with Ministry of Awesome
Our NZ-based investment team, Sam and Phoebe, also represent Blackbird in events organised by others, such as:
- Startmate’s Community Club, Accelerator and Fellowship programmes
- MUV Talks
- NZTE Office Hours
- Startup Weekend
At the moment, a lot of planning and coordination of these events is done by Sam and Phoebe. That’s why we need you!"
Does the community lead role deal with all sides of the Blackbird model i.e. the LPs as well as the startups and broader ecosystem?
"We’re a small team in Aotearoa so the Community Lead will definitely interface with our investors (LPs), many of whom are themselves ex-founders or operators. But the Community Lead is not an Investor Relations specialist; most of the LP interaction would be either: Making connections between LPs and our portfolio founders, or organising and hosting events for LPs to get to know other parts of our community."
Will the Community Lead be expected to create an online community too?
"We’re clear on what the Community Lead’s goals are, but the how is up to you! Given New Zealand’s vast geography and how spread-out our community is, building an online community is a great idea. We already use virtual programmes like Giants and our Founder Academy to connect community members across geographies. Our AU Founder Success team is currently working on upgrading the online experience across our portfolio and creating sub-groups of founders and operators. They’d love someone to own the New Zealand experience."
What do events look like in a post-Covid world?
"Our (virtual) Giants programme was born out of the first round of Covid lockdowns, when we were searching for a way to maintain our community connections. We’ve kept up the virtual format ever since, and found it is a fantastic way to connect founders and mentors across geographies (within New Zealand, and between New Zealand and Australia). With relatively few Covid restrictions in place in New Zealand, we have been able to host many in-person events as normal over 2021, and will continue to do so while safe and appropriate. Of course, we also need to be flexible in our event planning, and conscious that circumstances can change quickly."
How does Blackbird approach its investing from an ethical perspective, for example, looking for certain growth profile v.s. Impact-focused models?
"Our approach is captured in one of our core values –we make our kids proud. Because we take a generational view on ownership (we hope to invest on day one and still be investing on day 10,000) we believe it’s extremely important to consider environmental, social and governance elements when we invest. We are attracted to big ambitions and the desire to solve difficult, global problems. Viewing investment opportunities through this lens has led us to invest in many businesses that make a positive impact - autonomous vehicles (Zoox, Baraja), renewable energy (Sundrive), alternative protein (Sunfed, Fable, Vow, Heuros), levelling access to the highest standards of education and healthcare (Harrison AI, Edrolo, See-Mode, Vexev, Forte), more inclusive and safer workplaces (SafetyCulture, Culture Amp, Applied) and more. Post-investment, we support founders to build resilient, sustainable businesses (for example, through our DE&I content)."
What is Blackbird’s business model?
"Like most venture capital businesses, we periodically raise funds from investors (LPs) and invest them over several years. We charge a standard management fee for investing those funds, and use this management fee to run our own business - pay for investment staff, run events and invest in our community initiatives. Our investors (LPs) are a mix of Superannuation funds, sovereign wealth funds, other institutional investors and high net worth individuals.
We are always looking for ways to bring more value to our investors. For example, we initiated a GP-led secondary in 2019 to provide liquidity to our early investors, without having to give up ownership of our longest-held companies, like Canva."
How do you expect the NZ team to grow in the future?
"This is the only Community role we are hiring for in New Zealand for the foreseeable future. However, you will be plugged straight into the AU Founder Success team.We will soon be advertising an investment role in our Auckland office."
Is this an Auckland-based role?
"Yes. We are a small team in New Zealand and for this first hire, we believe in the value of being co-located at our Ponsonby office."
Is there flexibility for this role to be less than full-time?
"We’re a small team with big ambition and this is a full-time position. However, we support flexible working arrangements - whether it’s starting and finishing early (or late), working from home, or leaving early to pick up the kids from daycare or school."
What does the hiring process involve and when will I find out if I’m through to the next step?
"Applications through the Applied questionnaire close on August 17th. We use these questions to test skills you will actually need in the role. Your answers are shuffled and marked blind (without reference to your name, gender, CV) by a panel of Blackbird reviewers.We will review all applications week of August 16th and advise you by the end of the week as to whether you’ve been successful in making it to the next step based on your Applied score. Top candidates progress to the short interview stage, and a final handful will reach a second round of interviews, and we hope to make an offer by the end of August."