Meet the GD1 team - Zoe Chen, Investment Analyst

GD1 Team

With relentlessly curious; a passion for seeing New Zealand tech shape our global future; and deep experience interrogating the potential of emerging businesses from unconventional angles, meet Zoe…  

Why venture capital? 

“I’ve always been interested in startups - those coming up with brand new ideas and innovations that will reshape our global future. My journey into VC was a logical progression that makes great use of my previous experience as a consultant across early stage tech; and in the equity crowdfunding space. As a consultant working with early stage research or businesses, I found it hard that I didn’t often get to see great ideas lead to something truly extraordinary. My later involvement in crowdfunding taught me the importance of businesses getting the right funding and support to bring their ideas to fruition. VC is a perfect combination of practical and financial support that helps startups make a meaningful difference.”

More importantly, why GD1?

“There are a multitude of reasons - the amazing and talented team, the culture, being able to let our actions speak for themselves and having the ability to own our mistakes - but in particular, GD1’s focus on diversity is what appealed to me. Diversity takes on many forms - including diversity of thought. Their appreciation of the fact that many different kinds of voices are needed - in tech; in VC and in the way we innovate - resonated deeply with me.” 

What do you do at GD1, 9-5?

“In short, I get to ask the question: ‘Do we want to invest?’ Combining deep financial analysis with an ability to truly ‘hear’ where founders are at as they talk about what they are passionate about is important. Numbers tell an important story. So does grit.

“My role is key to finding companies that match our investment mandate. That includes interrogating their product, go-to-market strategy, expansion plans, competitive landscape, product and pricing strategy. No two companies or founders are the same and that’s what makes every day exciting. I get to learn something brand new every time I meet a potential portfolio company.”

What makes a good Investment Analyst?

“An ability to think outside of the box is key. You want to gain a deep understanding of the business ‘on paper’, but also where they fit into the ecosystem; and what makes them special. This ‘nitty gritty’ isn’t always obvious and requires interrogating what you know, hear and understand from many different angles. I once heard someone say that ‘curiosity is the engine of achievement’. I would adjust that quote to read ‘curiosity is the engine that powers great analysis’.”

What’s your superpower?

“It sounds like something minor, but within a team, the minors often become the majors. I am really good at taking initiative; at seeing what gaps need to be filled and then filling those gaps. A team is like an orchestra, and when you join that symphony, you need to find a way of identifying how you can add to and enhance the overall harmony.” 

What gets you up in the morning?

“I love waking up to a new day; new challenges and the chance to learn something new. I always remind myself: you don’t know everything. Being vulnerable enough to admit this is key to learning as much as you can…” 

If you won the lotto, what would you do? 

“I wouldn’t quit work…but I would take time off to travel. I’d also pay off my friends’ student loans and (depending on the size of the win!) mortgages. I’d love to buy a house and I’d invest in game-changing tech across the world…starting with GD1 portfolio companies, of course!” 

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

“Getting into VC is not as difficult as you think it is! It’s key to develop transferable skills. I don’t have a finance background, but I have worked closely with a variety of businesses and that exposure is a skill that’s key to investment analysis. If VC is where you want to be - get out there and apply your skills to making sure businesses get the support they need and deserve!”

Reach out via LinkedIn - Zoe Chen

Written bY
GD1 Team



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