Blackbird Ventures’ recent visit to ThincLab was all about the well known venture capital firm getting to know our founders. But it was also about community building, collegiality and learning.
After numerous false starts thanks to lockdowns and alert level changes, we finally managed to pull off our long awaited event hosting the New Zealand Blackbird and Startmate crews at the University of Canterbury Centre for Entrepreneurship. Having created $10 billion in equity across some of Australia’s earliest unicorns, not to mention a generous sprinkling of other high growth companies, Blackbird Ventures has emerged over the last decade as Australasia’s largest and most active venture capital firm.
Whilst venture investment may not be for everyone, for those companies embarking on the journey, preparation is key. So we had Blackbird principal Phoebe Harrop lead a pitch workshop with founders from across the Christchurch ecosystem invited. Kathleen Yee from Plant My Carbon stepped up to give her Food, Fibre & Agritech Supernode Challenge pitch for the first time. “It was a wonderful opportunity to get feedback from a leading investor with the support of a room full of friendly founders” she said. Liam Beale CEO of Zealandia Systems, a ThincLab Growth programme company, also pitched. He explained that the session gave him some fresh ideas about refining his material ahead of some big sales events and conferences.
Harrop, who now runs the New Zealand wing of Blackbird, expressed that she is a big fan of building community. Blackbird is all about “finding the wild hearts” she says and investors ultimately rely on a pipeline of opportunities created by a vibrant and connected community. This has led to a promise of renewed engagement across the wider startup ecosystem including the announcement of a new Sunrise event planned for later this year. Now with the news of NZ Growth Capital Partners committing $30 million to Blackbird’s second $100M Kiwi fund and the relationship with Blackbird on a firm footing, it’s a fair bet there’s going to be a lot more pitch practice happening around the office.