AirTree
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AirTree

Welcome to the AirTree Fam: Meet Rich, Kev, Tina and Sanj!

Back in March, right as the world shut down for COVID, we announced that we were looking for talented people to join us in our mission to find and back the best Australian and Kiwi founders.

We’re super committed to making the VC and tech sector accessible to everyone, so we ran a blind and fully remote recruitment process through Applied and received over 500 applications.

With these new hires we’ve made even more progress on our journey to build a diverse and inclusive team. The AirTree team is currently 56% women overall, 40% women in our investment team, 33% non-western ethnic background and 20% women at Partner level. We know we still have work to do, particularly at the senior levels, but we’re proud to be moving in the right direction.

So…🥁🥁🥁…we are so excited to introduce the newest members of the AirTree fam: Rich, Kev, Tina and Sanj!

Investment Associate: Richard Lin

Richard Lin, AirTree Investment Associate

What will you be doing at AirTree?
I’ll be working with the investment team to find, invest in and support game-changing founders in Australia and New Zealand.

What were you up to before you joined us?
Prior to AirTree, I was a management consultant at Bain & Company, where I helped management teams think through and implement strategic, operational, and investing initiatives. My most memorable experience was spending 6 months in Boston working with a venture / growth equity fund, where I helped assess tech investments across a broad set of industries — from reg tech to consumer marketplaces.

Before that, I co-founded my own startup — an online marketplace for home services — and spent four years scaling the operations across Australia. I was involved from the beginning; from building an MVP and raising a seed round of financing, all the way through to an eventual acquisition of the business. It was a challenging yet fulfilling journey, with its fair share of ups and downs. I am excited to join VC because I want to support Aussie and Kiwi entrepreneurs who are on a similar journey.

Advice for others hoping to get into the VC and/or the startup industry?For those thinking about VC, try to get involved in startups as much as possible. The AirTree team was really excited to learn about my startup experience during the interview process because it means I can really empathise with the entrepreneurial journey. That’s really important to the team and I think important for any great VC.

Hidden talents?
I was pretty into skateboarding as a kid, and I’m proud to say that I can still do a kickflip. 🤘🏻

Quotes you live by?
Don’t sweat the small stuff (but I know it’s easier said than done).

Portfolio Analyst: Kevin Lu

Kevin Lu, AirTree Portfolio Analyst

What will you be doing at AirTree?
I’ll be working to support our existing portfolio companies (50 and counting!). One big focus is helping our founders track their operational and financial metrics so that they can raise their next round easier.

What were you up to before you joined us?
I worked at Reinventure, a corporate venture fund investing in global fintech & related industries startups. That’s how I got my start in VC and it was such a privilege to work with pioneering innovators in fintech (payments, loans, insurance, and wealth management) and tangential verticals like cybersecurity, regtech, and property tech. Reinventure & AirTree have worked closely together and co-invested in the past, so when the opportunity to gain broader sector investment experience at AirTree came up, Simon kindly introduced me.

Before the world of startups, I was largely doing soul searching, bouncing around a few finance internships and even changing my second Uni degree to Computer Science. I also spent a considerable amount of time coaching and playing volleyball.

Advice for others hoping to get into VC and/or the startup industry?
Be passionate about the space you want to be involved in. Don’t shy away because you don’t have a finance background, VC’s come from a wide range of backgrounds (i.e. product development, software engineering, etc). Try to partake in startup demo days, and to meet people within the ecosystem. Gaining startup and investing experience would both be useful in understanding what it’s like to be in the grind of a startup environment, and how to think about businesses you are willing to back. Tap into the swathe of startup and investing content online, and then write about your learnings as a way to crystallise your knowledge, but also so that you have something to discuss when you are at events or interviewing at a VC firm.

Hidden talents?

  • Playing the Saxa-boom — I recommend YouTubing Jack Black jamming out to it if you haven’t been enlightened yet
  • Late-night karaoke mumble rap — I have been told I am particularly amazing in this department

Quotes you live by?

  • ‘Improvise, Adapt, Overcome’ — Bear Grylls
  • ‘To live is to risk it all, otherwise you’re just an inert chunk of randomly assembled molecules drifting wherever the universe blows you’ — Rick Sanchez
  • ‘Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down’ — Rick Astley

Investment Intern: Tina Wu

Tina Wu, AirTree Investment Intern

What will you be doing at AirTree?
Supporting the investment team to find and back the best Aussie and Kiwi founders

What were you up to before you joined us?
I’m currently a medical student at the University of Sydney, and before that I studied CompSci and Pharmacology. I’ve also had the privilege of doing a couple of internships, including a Software Engineering internship one at our portfolio company Canva!

Advice for others hoping to get into the VC and/or the startup industry?
I think having genuine curiosity and thoughtfulness is really important — even if you’re not a long-time expert, there’s nothing that can’t be learnt with time!

Hidden talents?
Talent is a strong word, but in my spare time I really enjoy dancing and choreography. Check out something I choreographed for my uni dance society here!

Quotes you live by?
Do something that scares you every day.

Community Intern: Sanjana Nagesh

Sanjana Nagesh, AirTree Community Intern

What will you be doing at AirTree?
Supporting our community initiatives to empower Aussie and Kiwi founders to achieve their audacious visions

What were you up to before you joined us?
Since 2015, I’ve been working in community building, influencer marketing and social media. I worked at Showpo for 3 years including growing the LMBDW women’s networking group across Australia and most recently I founded BrownGirlGang; a community featuring inspiring South Asian women around the world. The platform collectively has over 120 000 followers and has been featured in the BBC, HuffPost, Teen Vogue and more. I’m also a final year student at UNSW studying Marketing and Psychology.

Advice for others hoping to get into the VC and/or the startup industry?
Create things you wish existed. There are 7.8 billion people in this world, so if you feel something is lacking the chances are others wish it existed too. Be incredibly mindful of your daily thoughts, notice which pain points you can start solving then work on an initiative to fill that gap. If your idea doesn’t ‘succeed’ then the worst-case scenario is you learnt new skills, deepened your critical thinking abilities and created something for yourself…which is actually a pretty amazing scenario in itself.

Hidden talents?
I can (uselessly) quote entire scenes from my childhood movies.

Quotes you live by?

  • ‘Great people do things before they’re ready’ by Amy Poehler.
  • ‘Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, then feel entitled’ by Mindy Kaling.
  • ‘Giving is a shortcut to happiness’ by Arianna Huffington.

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A venture capital fund in Aus and NZ. Working for game-changers. First round. Multiple rounds.

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AirTree

AirTree

AirTree is a venture capital fund that supports the most ambitious Australian and Kiwi tech founders. First round, multiple rounds.

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