Arriving as AirTree’s newest investor
Hi everyone 👋 I’m Jackie, the newest addition to AirTree Ventures. I’m joining the investment team to help find, invest in and support the most ambitious entrepreneurs in Australia and New Zealand.
Venture capital is one of those jobs where you wake up every morning and pinch yourself that someone is actually paying you to do it.
You get to spend time every day learning about the newest technologies changing the world, and meeting the people creating that future.
Just last week I got to learn about esports (semi-professionals play 5 hours every day!), geospatial data supply chain management (that’s a thing…and it’s going to get way more important with AR and smart cities) and personal finance in South East Asia (migrant workers in Indonesia have a unique kind of bank account — strapping cash to their bodies).
And venture capital is only getting more exciting because founders are solving bigger problems — they’re helping accelerate the adoption of renewable energy (shout out to Brighte 🙌) and using AI to improve the diagnosis of melanoma and save lives (👏 MetaOptima).
I’m joining from NAB Ventures, where I invested globally in Fintech startups. What I love most about Fintech today, is how technology is democratising all aspects of financial services. With a delightful UX and some clever behavioural economics, startups like Monzo and Robinhood are helping ordinary people make smarter financial decisions (I’ve written a few articles about this on my blog).
And it’s just getting started… I can’t wait to see how tokenisation helps open up markets in illiquid assets, and enables ordinary people to invest in asset classes that only the wealthy have access to today.
Before moving to Australia in 2017, I was living in London and working as the Chief of Staff at B2B SaaS startup Kalo, which created software to help businesses manage their freelance workforce — everything from on-boarding the freelancers you work with regularly, to tasking them on projects, invoicing and paying them. As Chief of Staff I worked directly with the CEO on strategy, go to market and operations.
This operational experience taught me how incredibly hard startups are — never knowing if you’re making the correct decisions, continually worried about runway, putting out fires and trying to take two steps forward for every one step back.
We raised money from Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures and Leila Zegna at Kindred Capital, and the experience taught me what a huge impact getting the right investors on board can have — when you hit scaling challenges you’ve never faced before, it’s reassuring to jump on the phone with someone who’s worked with companies in the same position and can help you decide on the best course of action for your company.
Before seeing the light and moving into the world of startups, I worked on the trading floor selling equity derivatives. You know that film where all the Wall Street traders are in a big room grasping their phones and shouting at each other — that was my job. It was a pretty big leap from a university degree, where I spent my time buried in libraries learning about everything from the Roman Empire to Apartheid. I even wrote a dissertation on street art.
My role at AirTree
I’m excited to be part of helping the Australian tech ecosystem thrive… not that it needs my help, the success stories just keep coming — this week 4 companies (Deputy, Athena, Huddle & RedEye) raised $166m between them!
Australia has the opportunity to be a world leader in areas like health and renewable energy, and it’s our job as venture capitalists to find those world-changing companies and provide the capital to help them grow.
When I’m not boring my partner with stories about the new companies I’ve read about or met, I’m out in nature, playing sport, or have my head in a book — if you’ve got hiking or book recommendations, you’re my new best friend.
I’m so excited to be part of the AirTree team, and to spend time meeting and working with inspiring founders doing their life’s work.