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Nau mai, haere mai, ki Phoebe!

We’re excited to announce Phoebe Harrop joins the Blackbird team this week as an Associate.

Alongside myself and our Principal Tip Piumsomboon, Phoebe will be responsible for building the business of Blackbird in Aotearoa. She will be working on everything from finding and championing wild hearts across the country to making Blackbird a Kiwi founder’s first choice of investor.

The Blackbird + Startmate NZ team at our last offsite (L-R): Ryan Walker, Sam Wong, Phoebe Harrop and Tip Piumsomboon

Building Our Kiwi Community

Community has always been core to how we operate at Blackbird and Phoebe will help to shape and lead our New Zealand community efforts. When Blackbird first began in 2013, there were many opportunities to build community initiatives and programming to help grow the Australian startup ecosystem. There is a similar opportunity today in New Zealand. Phoebe will help us support existing community initiatives, identify gaps in the ecosystem and experiment with solutions to fill these gaps.

We are still the new kid on the block in New Zealand, and we’re hungry to try new things and build new programs and products that supercharge Kiwi founders. If you have suggestions hit Phoebe up at [email protected]!

Shama Sukul Lee from Sunfed; design for FreightFish now Seachange’s hydrofoil boats; Aaron Ward from AskNicely; CEO Max Olson from FreightFish

Spreading Our Wings

Tip and I opened our New Zealand office in 2019 with the mission to support the new generation of globally ambitious Kiwi companies. At that time, we had already invested $10M into startups in New Zealand, but believed that to see the best companies at the earliest stages, we needed a more permanent presence.

Since then, we have raised a $60M fund, invested in 7 companies (4 public and 3 to be announced) and hosted a number of small and large community initiatives including the inaugural Kiwi edition of our startup festival Sunrise. You can watch Tip’s rapid fire breakdown of what we did in 2020 here.

Phoebe will help us to scale this mission and discover and support new wild hearts across the country.

A Fellow Wild Heart

We met Phoebe in 2020 when she was a Coach for the Startmate Fellowship and quickly realised there was a role for her at Blackbird. Before joining Blackbird, Phoebe was a Director in the Growth Equity fund at Generation Investment Management in London, where she invested $50-$150M in mission-driven companies accelerating the transition to a more sustainable economy.

Before this, Phoebe began her career as a management consultant with Bain & Company in Melbourne and London, working with ASX and FTSE100 companies on strategic topics ranging from customer strategy to organisational design.

It is still early days for Blackbird in New Zealand and there are many jobs to be done. We can’t wait for Phoebe to get stuck in and help us achieve our ambition to supercharge Aotearoa’s most ambitious founders.

We’re heading on the road in a few weeks - including to Phoebe’s home town of New Plymouth - so you can get to know Phoebe in-person and learn from the rest of our NZ team! Register for the roadshow here.