Hey, I’m Emily 👋 I’ve been working as Head of Venture Community at AirTree since February last year, and I’m excited to share that I’m moving into a new role with the team (more on that later!) which means we’re hiring!
A bit of background on me and my current role
Before joining AirTree I worked for a VC fund in the UK, and before that I helped large tech companies (like Xero, Serko, Parts Trader, and Alfa) raise capital in NZ and the UK.
I was really excited to come home from London, firstly because I was kind of getting over my accent ruining every coffee order, but also because it was pretty clear that things were about to take off in the tech sector in Australia and (more importantly 😉) NZ! 🚀
I was lucky that AirTree were hiring as they were exactly the kind of team I was hoping to join:
- They’ve backed the amazing individuals behind products such as Prospa, A Cloud Guru, Secure Code Warrior, and Canva
- They’ve built the largest investment and portfolio support team in Australia and New Zealand that’s dedicated to helping founders succeed
- With 21 years of early stage investing experience, 2 current funds, and 14 employees, I could tell they were in this for the long-term
- They fiercely believe that our future prosperity hinges on how we harness the innovation opportunities provided by technology
- And the absolute core of their mission is to help entrepreneurs and startups at the heart of this opportunity
So, what have I been working on as Head of Venture Community?
This role exists because not only do we want to provide capital and support to our founders, we also want to leverage our resources to make it easier for entrepreneurs across Australia and New Zealand to start and build successful businesses.
So as soon as I started, I spoke with lots of different founders and teams to understand how we could help them with what they needed the most.
I found that other than recruitment, most of the requests centered around connections, expertise, operations, and fundraising. So I prioritised initiatives in these areas, and focused on where we were uniquely positioned to help. This has included:
- Fostering real connections amongst entrepreneurs and giving them the space to hash out solutions to high priority issues, and to find more peers they’d be happy to pick up the phone to
- Creating an orbit of experts that are there to help with some of the big one-off challenges, and to share how they navigated the chaos in the early days
- Celebrating the successes of the tech sector via our monthly newsletter (sign-up for all the latest tech updates if you haven’t already 😉)
- Making VC a little more human by taking away as much stress as we can from the fundraising process. This means no more crazy term-sheets, no more big legal fees, and no hidden agendas.
- Establishing helpful industry resources — including a startup salary guide, and a model code of conduct (s/o to the greats at other VC funds — Joel, Imogen, Rose, and Lauren — who we often team up with on stuff like this)
Because we work with companies who are on a mission to solve problems that millions of people across the globe care about, founders are looking for support across the whole spectrum of company building.
This means we have our work cut out for us — and we also try to help with things like PR, brand building, leadership development, mental health and well-being support, team building and hiring, customer intros, access to vendors, and facilitating working groups.
What’s so great about the role?
One thing that I’ve found is that you’re learning ALL the time.
Working with smart and passionate people means that there are so many different ways to contribute, and no two days are ever the same.
One day I’m working with one of the universities to encourage more women into STEM, next day I’m speaking to the Government about the best way to market their new Startup visa, and then the next I’m assembling a panel of experts to discuss the developments in blockchain.
I love that there is real autonomy within the role, but still with the full weight of support from the team. One of AirTree’s core values is to “focus on what matters” — so as long as I have the data to back up my decisions, the team backs me to trust my swing!
However, being a results-driven, get sh$t-done-kinda person, means there are a few things I’ve found hard at times.
We frequently experiment with new ideas in the hopes of providing an ever-better service. So I’ve had to get comfortable operating in an environment with many unknowns, and where the returns aren’t obvious or immediate.
It takes commitment, time, consistency, and intentional experimentation to work to getting it right… and we still have a long way to go!
So why are we hiring now?
AirTree have offered me the opportunity to join the investment team 🤓
While I’m going to miss so many parts of this role — I’m looking forward to widening my skill set, gaining more insight into the highs and lows of company building, and diving deeper into some of the areas where tech is going to have a big impact on society.
Though what I’m most excited about is working closer with founders — in particular spending more time in NZ with Kiwi entrepreneurs! 🇳🇿🥝
There is definitely no prescriptive background required for this role… every person and every VC fund takes a different approach to making an impact.
The most important question is — would you like to support the entrepreneurs shaping our future, and play a small part in serving the startup community in Australia and New Zealand?
If so, apply here — we’d love to hear from you.
P.S. Our office is above the best cafe in Paddo, so at the very least, applying might mean a friendly conversation over great coffee ☕️