With a passion for purpose-driven organisations, diversity and inclusion, and a deep belief in the power of technology to drive change for good, meet Erin…
Why venture capital?
“Before joining GD1, I had always sat on the ‘other side of the table’ - the side seeking funding, including as a startup, social enterprise and charity. The VC world is new to me and it’s an incredible privilege to have ‘switched sides’ and to be playing a pivotal role in empowering and supporting awesome Kiwi initiatives, programs and products.
I love a challenge, thrive on learning, connecting and empowering people and I truly believe we have INCREDIBLE talent and companies here in NZ that deserve to be showcased on the world stage.
For those not in VC or new to the industry, the jargon and technically complex language can be intimidating. As a newbie, I lent on previous employers, colleagues and peers for encouragement when I started out in this role and they challenged me to “just lean in!” Over the past few months, I’ve done just that by setting out to demystify what VC is all about and breaking down complex tech talk that often acts as a barrier. I’m excited to add new perspectives to the VC and NZ tech ecosystem.”
More importantly, why GD1?
“Prior to taking on this role, I was extremely fortunate to be in a position to carefully consider my next steps and what I was looking for in a future role. I was looking for a genuine team; one that works hard but has fun; one that is progressive and has a global mindset. I was on the hunt for a multifaceted role that would keep me on my toes. GD1 provides all of this and more. Cheekily, I also love that they are not ‘all talk’; they get out there and ‘GSD’. It’s one thing to talk about what you’re doing, it’s another to actually do it.”
What do you do at GD1, 9-5?
“My role is all about supporting our incredible portfolio companies, including helping external stakeholders understand who we are and what we do; and ensuring GD1 stays closely connected to the New Zealand tech ecosystem. Externally - that looks like supporting regional tech hubs and initiatives across NZ. Internally, it looks like staying closely connected to portfolio companies and understanding what we can do to support them - from content and events to answering their burning questions with expert advice and workshops. No day is ever the same - it’s a brand new role with an extremely supportive team, which I am completely loving!”
What makes a good Community Manager?
“It’s early days still, but when our portfolio companies and communities feel supported and thrive, so do we. My role is all about making that happen! To be a good Community Manager, you have to have the ability to listen first, before asking questions and then facilitating. I don’t have all the answers, but I feel extremely grateful to the community managers, VC and startup friends who continually give their time and insights to ensure I feel supported and our community thrives. I’ve really enjoy listening to what founders need; and rallying everyone around a common cause.”
What’s your superpower?
“I am a realistic optimist and beyond all adaptable. I love to acknowledge and work through challenges but also feel negativity gets you nowhere. I don’t believe everything happens for a reason (because there are some horrific things that happen in this world), but I do like to think you can make something; from anything.”
What gets you up in the morning?
“Enabling and empowering others to succeed and utilise their potential is what gets me up and always has been what gives me purpose. If I can play a small role in helping others thrive or even to understand how great they are - I would have done what I was meant to do.”
If you won the lotto, what would you do?
“I’m not big on owning an excess of flashy, material things. I have all that I need, but I do love an adventure, supporting others and kiwi businesses. After knocking off some of my first homeowner mortgage (Auckland friends will understand the pain!), there would definitely be some travel involved. I am an advocate for effective altruism and there are some incredible Kiwi and international initiatives that I would continue to support. I am particularly passionate about environmental, social inclusion, health and wellbeing related causes - so I would seek to further some of these that are close to my heart. Lastly, I’d also entrust funds to the GD1 team to invest, sound in the knowledge that I would be playing a role in the success of Kiwi companies and I’d also gain more back to do more good in the long run. Winning!”
What would you say to someone wanting a career in venture capital?
“It’s simple...have a crack!
There’s no straight path to VC. A lot of skills and experience we (all) have is transferable and you could be exactly what a VC company needs. Too often, we fear the unknown. No one likes being ‘bad’ at things and when you step into a new industry, there are a lot of new learnings. I am a big fan of putting yourself out there. You might be surprised at how much you grow as an individual when you step outside of your comfort zones. Surround yourself with people who support but challenge you, and ask PLENTY of questions.”
Erin is on a mission to bring diversity to the VC world. If you would like to chat about how, or lend a hand, get in touch with her!