Meet the GD1 team - Chintaka Ranatunga, Founding Partner

GD1 Team

With the ability to apply diverse perspectives gained in highly strategic roles, including Founder and Board member; humility that belies decades of business acumen; and a passion for advising New Zealand’s sharpest founders on global growth, meet Chintaka...

Why venture capital? 

“Whatever good thing we build; ends up building us. This is so true of the founder journey. As a startup founder myself, I love working with founders and teams to build and grow their business from the ground up; from nothing. Venture capital is how we help New Zealanders grow their dreams from scratch to emerge as global leaders...there’s nothing better.

My journey to VC was a natural progression rather than an intentional one. I moved from being a startup founder through corporate development into investing in and acquiring companies, and then working as a strategy consultant. My angel investments saw me invest in 60+ startups which means I was privy to a whole lot of what happens (and should and shouldn’t happen!) at the early stages of a business. This knowledge was an invaluable springboard into VC.”

More importantly, why GD1?

“GD1 appealed to me because of its ambition to help Kiwis become leaders in their market not just locally but globally as well. We work with both early stage and scaling startups - the golden thread being an ambition to go further, higher and faster than anyone else has gone before.”

What do you do at GD1, 9-5?

“When you can’t reach your goals, it’s tempting to adjust them. What you really need is to adjust the steps to reaching those goals. I spend most of my time working closely with our portfolio companies as a Board member; and with founders and teams in an advisory capacity. This is what GD1 does best - we support our portfolio companies with real-world experience and advice around expansion.” 

What makes a good Founding Partner?

“In a word - it’s experience. I’ve seen a lot of ups and downs as a Founding Partner - enough of them to be able to recognise patterns for both success and failure; and how to reduce the probability of the latter.”

What’s your superpower?

“It’s definitely pattern recognition; an ability to make sense of what’s really happening, from experience, and what’s required at the different stages of a startup journey. I’ve been privileged to be part of some great startup journeys. For example, I was one of the  original angel investors in Kami - ranked the fastest growing company in New Zealand by Deloitte last year - experiencing them grow from the start to 30 million+ users. Experience like that is vital in learning what’s required on the ground - day in and day out - to succeed. It also teaches you the importance of perseverance through the inevitable challenges.” 

What gets you up in the morning?

“That’s easy - my passion for working with founders and portfolio companies.” 

If you won the lotto, what would you do? 

“I wouldn’t change what I do. I’m right where I want to be, doing what I love. That’s a rare and fortunate place to be in.” 

What would you say to someone wanting a career in venture capital? 

“You need to invest, personally, in startups to understand VC. It’s a unique journey and it’s better to start immediately in a small way rather than later.”

Written bY
GD1 Team



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