Startup Advisors Council

We help to identify and address the opportunities and challenges facing high growth startup businesses in New Zealand.

In this section

UpStart Nation

UpStart Nation is a report for the Government on how to best support a thriving environment for startups in New Zealand.

Assessment of the New Zealand Ecosystem

The international firm Startup Genome has prepared a report for the Council on New Zealand's startup ecosystem.

Terms of reference

These terms of reference describe the purpose, role, functions, membership, systems and processes of the Start-up Advisors Council (Council).

Council members

The Startup Advisors Council is made up of industry leaders who have a deep understanding of startups, capital markets and are aware of international trends. They come from a range of backgrounds and have extensive experience in investment and growth of startup firms.

List of Council members

Photo of Phil McCaw
Phil McCaw
Phil has a long history of supporting startups to grow, including through his role as a founding partner at the venture capital fund Movac, which has invested in a number of successful New Zealand early-stage ventures. As the former Chair of the Angel Association New Zealand, he brings extensive experience in investment into startup firms and helping to guide their growth, as well as an awareness of wider international trends.
Photo of Suse Reynolds
Suse Reynolds
Deputy Chair
Suse is the current Chair of the Angel Association New Zealand, as well as one of the founders of Angel HQ (Wellington's angel investor network). Suse has experience in early-stage finance and is knowledgeable about key sectors. She is also skilled in building capability among founders and engaging at the regional level.
Photo of Marian Johnson
Marian Johnson
Marian is the Chief Executive of the Christchurch-based Ministry of Awesome. She has experience in assisting in the development of early stage high growth startups both regionally and nationally through her work with Te Ōhaka startup hub. She is active in supporting diversity within startups and has led Electrify Aotearoa, the first event to celebrate women founders in New Zealand.
Photo of Grant Straker
Grant Straker
Ngāti Raukawa
Grant is the co-founder of the A.I. language translation platform Straker Translations, which is headquartered in Auckland but with operations in a number of countries around the world. He is a prominent advocate for Māori in technology. He won the Te Tupu-ā-Nuku Business Award for Excellence in Innovation in 2017.
Photo of Mike Carden
Mike Carden
Mike is the founder of a number of startups, including Sonar6 and Joyous. He is a published author in marketing, employee experience, and the software industry, and a past winner of the Bayer Innovators Award. He is regarded as an expert in Softwareas a Service business models and technology marketing. He holds board and advisory board roles in various technology companies ranging from investor-led early stage through to established public companies.

Photo of Imche Veiga
Imche Veiga

Imche is the co-founder and Chief Executive of Auckland-based Outset Ventures, which works with deep-tech startups, especially those using intensive R&D or commercialization of university research. She has experience of engaging with young people to build investment and governance capabilities through mentorship. She will bring consideration of diversity and inclusion through her work with women founders, as well as understanding wider international trends and connections.
Photo of Carl Jones
Carl Jones
Carl is the Managing Partner of WNT Ventures, a pre-seed and seed-stage venture capital fund actively establishing and building deep tech companies. He has been actively involved in companies as diverse as AI/ML, Urban Mining, Advanced Manufacturing, Robotics, and Aerospace.

Startups in New Zealand

Startups are innovative companies, often in the tech industry, with a scalable business model and strong potential to grow quickly and expand globally. They are important because the products and services they develop can lead to positive economic development outcomes, address pressing issues like climate change and health challenges, and unlock new business models.

Having a well-supported, equitable, and diverse startup ecosystem in New Zealand will create high-paying jobs, improve income equality, support our transition to a carbon free economy, and make Aotearoa a place where highly-skilled people want to live.

New Zealand has a strong startup community that has shown impressive resilience in recent years and some early success. However, there is a greater opportunity to leverage our excellence in technology and innovation to create a world class innovation and knowledge intensive economy.

Startup Advisors Council

The Startup Advisors Council was formed in May 2022 for a 12-month term. They provide advice to the Ministers of Economic Development and Research, Science and Innovation on how to best support a thriving environment for startups in New Zealand. This includes recommendations for co-ordinated and targeted actions to enable more startups to be created and scaled up, and to accelerate the growth and maturity of New Zealand's startup ecosystem.

The Council submitted its report and recommendations to the Government in July 2023.

MBIE provides Secretariat support to the Council.

Gathering information

The Council has been meeting with organisations and individuals around the country to learn more about what startups need to grow and what challenges they face. They have sought information from a variety of sources to make sure their recommendations to government reflect our diverse society. They have engaged with Venture Capital fund managers, founders, startup hubs, rangatahi, university students, local councils, and more. The Council has been actively seeking input from Māori and Pacific communities through targeted engagement opportunities. They have also held dedicated sessions focused on women in the startup community to gain insights into their experiences and perspectives.

Common themes from these conversations include the challenges startups face with getting money, finding talented people, connecting with others, and being fair and inclusive.

The Council is open to ongoing engagement and input from anyone who is part of the startup ecosystem, especially founders.

Please email your thoughts and feedback to:

Meeting minutes

More information

Startup Advisors Council appointed(external link) —

Last updated: 01 August 2023