(Auckland, New Zealand) Phase One Ventures has announced Global From Day 1 (GD1) as the lead investor into a brand-new incubator programme and fund that aims to produce 10 New Zealand technology ‘unicorns’ by 2026. The incubator will address significant gaps inherent in more traditional programmes - including access to experienced product and growth operators within the global startup ecosystem; and the cultivation of what Phase One Ventures calls a ‘culture of customer and problem obsession’.
The 100% NZ-focused incubator has a mandate to ‘go long’ with some of the country’s most talented entrepreneurs who can expect an unprecedented level of support. “This isn’t a one-size-fits-all, three-month solution. We’re aiming to build very deep relationships over a year plus of intensive focus. When something goes wrong; or when it goes right - we want the founders to have their mentors on speed dial; to have the kind of relationships that see them call in for coffee; sit at the kitchen bench and talk through sticky issues. An important part of our programme is the deep, strong community of early stage founders we are building. Being a startup founder is a lonely journey. It is a privilege to nurture a community of Kiwi founders who actively look out for, learn from and support each other. What’s more, whereas most incubators focus on acceleration, we want our chosen startups to come out of the programme with a product that customers love which is ready for scale,” comments Mahesh Muralidhar - Chief Executive Officer, Phase One Ventures. Mahesh ventured to Australia from New Zealand in 2006 to join the startup scene there. After starting his own venture, he was an early leader at Canva, the COO at Simply Wall St. and a senior executive at Airtasker. Muralidhar returned to New Zealand in early 2021.
He adds that “The technology sector is what will future proof NZ. I’ve seen this happen firsthand in Australia where the tech sector has created so many jobs and opportunities for the country. New Zealand has the required level of talent to achieve a proportionate level of success. We need to get going - it’s time to move beyond housing as one of the key pillars of our economy. We’re aiming for a collection of incredibly valuable Kiwi companies that will create generation-defining change for the county.”
“For GD1, the partnership with PhaseOne was an obvious one. At GD1, one of our main goals is to invest in innovation that helps transform New Zealand’s economy. With 230M assets under management, we are contributing to diversifying the economy by building ‘weightless’ exports, which are often higher value, recurring and more impactful to GDP than commodities. To that end, we are privileged to have invested in iconic Kiwi technology companies such as Shuttlerock, UBCO, Auror, Foundry Lab, and Runn, among many others, at early phases in their startup journeys. Phase One Ventures is another clear example of the type of innovation that we look to invest in and partner with early on. I have seen firsthand the impact that Mahesh and the Phase One team have had with their initial cohort of companies, and how the incubator programme is a distilled and concentrated pathway to supercharge the earliest segment of the New Zealand startup ecosystem through its differentiated and ‘no fluff’ approach,” comments Vignesh Kumar, Co-Managing Partner, GD1.
The approach also aligns with GD1’s focus on adding value to the founder journey. “Unlike traditional incubators which offer mentors from all sorts of professional backgrounds - including family offices, senior marketing managers from big brands and serial investors - the (free) programme from Phase One promises a year of hyper-focused mentoring with a very niche group of skilled individuals who are all experienced product and growth operators. Notably, they’re emerging leaders themselves within high growth global technology companies and are hungry to share their knowledge and passion with the wider tech ecosystem,” explains Vignesh.
Phase One Ventures’ programme is well underway. The group includes Vxt, Celadon, Sugar Wallet, Latch, Cotiss, NextWork, EasyRent, Rescue Metrics, eVouch, Transactional.ai, Zorbi, KiwiFibre, Hublr, Excellent, HealthNow, Roof Space and they are looking for twenty more early stage founders who are looking to build significant global businesses.
For more information, visit https://www.phaseone.ventures/.
First and foremost, Phase One is an early stage founder community with a vision to create an even happier New Zealand empowered by a thriving and vibrant startup ecosystem. We consist of three parts; a community, a product and growth incubator programme, and a fund. We commit to founders by connecting them with ‘been there, done that’ operators and helping them lay the foundation for truly high growth companies. This includes crystallising a vision, achieving product market fit, identifying growth engines, and general company building. By helping startups grow we create opportunities for all New Zealanders.
GD1 is an institutional-grade VC fund manager supporting globally ambitious companies with capital, operating expertise, and a vast network in order to help them achieve growth on the world stage. We invest from seed to scale, with headquarters in New Zealand and connections globally. Our purpose is to help New Zealand founders and teams Believe Bigger. GD1's deep expertise in venture capital and real-world global operating knowledge was gained via experience in technology companies across Europe, Silicon Valley, and New Zealand. This experience, as well as ongoing relationships, ensures that founders and management teams are supported from day one. We dedicate our expertise, resources, and networks to influence change and build global winners. For more information, visit gd1.vc.