Our people

Board of Directors

David Smol

David Smol

Chairman

David was appointed as chief executive of Ministry of Economic Development in 2008. He was the inaugural chief executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) from 2012 to 2017.
Since finishing at MBIE, David has undertaken a number of governance and consulting roles, including in energy, health, land transport, housing, commercialisation and economic development.
David has an M-Phil in economics from Cambridge University and was made a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order in 2018.

Annabel Cotton

Annabel Cotton

Director

Annabel Cotton - BMS, ACA, CFInstD, FACA, FAIRA, INFINZ (Fellow)
Annabel is an experienced governor with knowledge of working on public sector boards. Her skills and experience include governance, investor relations, risk and assurance, finance, and accounting.
She is the owner and Managing Director of Merlin Consulting and a professional director with over three decades’ experience advising NZX and ASX listed companies.
Annabel is a director and Audit and Risk Assurance Committee chair of Waikato Regional Airport Limited and Trust Investments Management Limited. She chairs Hamilton & Waikato Tourism Limited. Annabel is also a trustee of several large charitable trusts including Global Women and the Donny Charitable Trust. She is an independent member of the investment committee for private equity fund, NZ Equity Partners, and has chaired the investment committee of several charitable trusts. Her governance experience includes directorships and audit committee membership at Genesis Energy Limited, the Securities Commission, the External Reporting Board and several NZX listed companies.
She has strong knowledge of the financial services industry, and good connections with angel investors, fund managers and funding entities. Annabel has a genuine interest in seeing small business succeed, and a firm understanding of the stakeholder perspective and the challenges faced by start-up companies.

Marcel van den Assum

Marcel van den Assum

Director

Marcel van den Assum is a professional director, independent advisor and angel investor.
His roles include Chairman of Flick Electric Ltd, Sprout Agritech Ltd and Wipster Ltd, and Director of CropX (NZ) Ltd and Education Payroll Ltd, along with Independent Advisory Board positions with New Zealand Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Health. He was Chairman of the Angel Association of NZ, a director of AngelHQ, a founding investor in LightningLab accelerator, and a member of the NZ Institute of Directors.
Prior to his governance career, Marcel was CIO of New Zealand’s largest company Fonterra, and previous to that Managing Principal of Unisys New Zealand holding leadership roles in various global functions. He has worked across many industry sectors, government entities, and in most geographies.
Marcel has a genuine desire to grow companies and New Zealand’s economy, and an interest in NZGCP’s leadership role in market. He has a strong level of understanding of the work of NZGCP, the environment it operates in, the relationship between its stakeholders, and the challenges surrounding its investment and stakeholder relations.
Alongside family and friends, art, music, mountain biking and snowboarding, food and travel are Marcel’s interests.

Nicole Buisson

Nicole Buisson

Director

Nicole is an independent Director and also works with technology companies on growth and scaling initiatives.
She currently sits on the Boards of The Icehouse, Mosaic Business Solutions, and Humanitix. She formerly sat on MBIE's Small Business Council and the Boards of WEL Networks, Ultra Fast Fibre and Rose & Thorne.
Her corporate background combines a mix of high-growth tech leadership (Xero, Open Insurance), venture capital and private equity (3i and Ernst & Young's Venture Capital Advisory Group), and corporate innovation (Vodafone, HK CSL).
She has international experience across the Asia Pacific region, the US, and Europe leading to an in-depth knowledge of international market entry and growth strategies. She has an appreciation of the value of diversity, a strong culture, and global best practices.
Nicole holds an MBA from Columbia University and London Business School and is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors. She spent additional periods at the University of California at Berkeley, CEIBS, and the University of Otago.

Independent Members

Danny Lee

Danny Lee

Elevate Investment Committee Member

Danny runs the global private investments at Blue Pool, and joins the NZGCP team as an independent committee member.
Previously with Bain Capital Asia and Investor AB, he has over 20 years of investment experience spanning venture, growth capital and buyout transactions globally. Danny is an Aspen Finance Fellow, Edmund Hillary Fellow and a Chartered Financial Analyst. He serves the community as an independent director at the Hong Kong Chinese Women Club College, guest lecturer for Columbia Business School and Lingnan University, and through his scholarship supporting international students at Columbia University.

Matt Ocko

Matt Ocko

Elevate Investment Committee Member

Matt is an experienced technology entrepreneur and venture capitalist in the US and globally, is co-Managing Partner and co-founder of DCVC (Data Collective), and joins the NZGCP team as an independent committee member.

Matt’s investments on behalf of DCVC span from computational drug discovery and synthetic biology to geospatial and space access platforms, robotics, applied AI, anti-terror systems, and large-scale enterprise platforms including quantum computers. In addition to large IPO outcomes, many of Matt’s prior investments were acquired to become core capabilities of companies like Illumina, Cisco, Google, IBM, Amazon/AWS and Salesforce. His venture investments prior to DCVC include Zoom (ZM), Fortinet (FTNT), D-Wave Systems, Uber (UBER), AngelList, Xensource (CTRX), and Facebook (FB). Matt founded and was VP of R&D of Da Vinci Systems, actively helps development of China’s venture capital and technology regulatory framework, holds a degree in Physics from Yale University, and is an inventor on over 50 granted or in-process patents in areas as diverse as computer systems virtualisation, fraud detection, and AR.

Dana Settle

Dana Settle

Elevate Investment Committee Member

Dana is a Founding Partner with Greycroft, and she heads the firm’s west coast office out of Los Angeles. Dana joins the NZGCP team as an independent committee member.

Prior to Greycroft, Dana spent several years as a venture capitalist and advisor to startup companies in the Bay Area, including six years at Mayfield, where she focused on early stage companies in the mobile communications and consumer Internet markets. Dana currently manages Greycroft’s investments in Anine Bing, AppAnnie, Bird, Clique, Comparably, Goop, Happiest Baby, Seed, Thrive Market, Versed and WideOrbit. She also managed the firm’s investments in numerous brands including; Awesomeness TV (acquired by Dreamworks), Maker Studios (acquired by Disney), and Sometrics (acquired by American Express).

Dana also serves as a Board of Director to IMAX Corporation. Her additional experience includes business development at Truveo (AOL), investment banking at Lehman Brothers and international business development at McCaw Cellular Communications (AT&T). Dana holds a BA in Finance and International Studies from the University of Washington and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Randy Komisar

Randy Komisar

Elevate Strategic Adviser

Randy is an entrepreneur, investor, lecturer and author, and joins the NZGCP team as a Strategic Advisor to the Elevate fund.

Randy was a co-founder of Claris Corp. and served as CEO for LucasArts Entertainment and Crystal Dynamics, a founding director of Tivo, acted as “virtual CEO” for such companies as WebTV and GlobalGiving, and served as CFO of GO Corp., as senior counsel for Apple Computer, and a private practice in technology law. He joined the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins in 2005 to focus on investing in early stage startups. Randy serves on the Roadtrip Nation Advisory Board and Orrick’s Women’s Leadership Board, and serves as a director and advisor to several other organisations. Randy is the author of The Monk and the Riddle, co-author of Straight Talk for Startups.

Randy has been collaborating closely with investors, entrepreneurs, accelerators and policy makers in New Zealand for several years to help build a vigorous innovation hub based upon Kiwi values and objectives. Randy holds a B.A. degree in economics from Brown University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Team

Rob Everett

Rob Everett

Chief Executive Officer

Rob joined our team in 2022 to lead NZGCP as CEO. Rob has over 30 years of corporate and legal experience. When Rob moved to New Zealand, he became CEO of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) – a role he held for seven years. Prior to that, Rob spent the bulk of his career in the financial sector. He worked for Merrill Lynch for over 13 years (including 4 years as General Counsel Europe) and Bank of America Merrill Lynch (3 years as COO Europe, Middle East & Africa). Rob’s career has spanned working in Europe, North America, Asia and New Zealand. He is a solicitor by qualification, and has an MA Law from St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. He also sits on the management board of Samuel Marsden Collegiate School and on advisory boards at Victoria University. He lives in Wellington and is married, with 3 teenage children.

James Pinner

James Pinner

Chief Investment Officer

James joined NZGCP in 2019 to establish the Elevate NZ Venture Fund and support the Aspire NZ Seed Fund. James has over 20 years of corporate finance experience covering venture capital, private equity, corporate M&A and equity capital markets. James’ experience includes 15 years in London, working across North America, Europe, Africa and South-East Asia and more recently working in corporate development in New Zealand for a large family-owned conglomerate. James is a Fellow of Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, holds a BSc (Hons) from Leeds University and is a member of the NZ Institute of Directors.

Jacques Richter

Jacques Richter

Associate Investment Director

Jacques is an Associate Investment Director supporting both the Aspire NZ Seed Fund and the Elevate NZ Venture Fund. Jacques obtained experience in consulting engineering in the UK and South Africa before joining a development finance institution. He spent five years in venture capital and industry development roles, pursuing the economic growth and industrial development objectives of the bank. Jacques holds a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Pretoria, an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town and is a CFA charterholder.

Jason Roche

Jason Roche

Associate Investment Director

Jason is an Associate Investment Director supporting both the Aspire NZ Seed Fund and Elevate NZ Venture Fund. Prior to joining NZGCP, Jason spent six years working in the M&A team at Todd Corporation where he was involved in transactions spanning Energy, Minerals, Property, Agriculture and Technology. Most recently Jason led the acquisition of a Fiji based solar generation company and completed a secondment to Todd Corporation’s Sydney office, where he advised on project finance. Prior to working at Todd, Jason worked as an Energy Market Analyst at NZX Limited and in Corporate Finance at Summerset Group. Jason holds a BCA (HONS) in Finance and Economics from Victoria University in Wellington and is a CFA Charterholder.

Molly Yang

Molly Yang

Senior Portfolio Manager

Molly Yang's investment experience assists with key market and analytical information relevant to the Aspire NZ Seed Fund portfolio. Molly has over 10 years investment and portfolio management experience. She previously worked for US and Chinese venture capital funds in Shanghai, and for Cure Kids Ventures after moving to New Zealand. Molly has a Master of Applied Finance degree from Macquaire University in Sydney.

Hursh Shah

Hursh Shah

Investment Manager

Hursh is an Investment Manager looking after the Aspire Fund. Hursh joined NZGCP from the PwC Corporate Finance team in Auckland, having spent three years focussing on M&A and strategic advisory. Prior to this, he worked at PwC UK, mainly advising on distressed debt transactions across Europe. Hursh has also spent a number of years working with start-up and greenfield ventures in East Africa. He holds a BSc in Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics & Economics from the University of Warwick and is a Chartered Accountant.

Ritaban Banerjee

Ritaban Banerjee

Investment Manager

Ritaban is a Senior Investment Analyst supporting investments made through the Aspire NZ Seed Fund. Prior to joining NZGCP, Ritaban worked in corporate finance, strategy consulting and economic policy. He has an undergraduate and a Masters degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Imperial College London. Ritaban has passed the Level III examination of the CFA programme.

Byron van Vugt

Byron van Vugt

Investment Manager

Byron is a Senior Investment Analyst supporting investments made though the Aspire NZ Seed Fund. After studying Mechanical Engineering, Finance and Marketing at The University of Auckland he then spent four years in a product development role supporting systems engineering, project management and process improvements before joining NZGCP.

Lucy Law

Lucy Law

Senior Investment Analyst

Prior to joining NZGCP, Lucy worked in research commercialisation at both Crown Research Institutes and Universities. She also has experience working at Gobi Partners which manages Alibaba Entrepreneur Fund in Hong Kong.
She holds a PGDip in Bioscience Enterprise from the University of Auckland, and previously obtained a BSc in Biomedical Science and worked in the diagnostic genetics lab at ADHB.

Dr Lari Dkhar

Dr Lari Dkhar

Senior Investment Analyst

Lari previously worked with AUT researchers and staff to identify, appraise, and develop new commercial ventures that create real-world impact from university research. Before joining AUT Ventures, she was finishing her PhD on an intranasal medical device and was enrolled into the KiwiNet Emerging Innovator programme. This programme ignited her curiosity to learn and understand from a researcher’s perspective as well as a commercialisation perspective, how to facilitate emerging bio-medical technologies from a lab space into reality. Lari holds a PhD degree (Biomedical Science) from AUT and a Master by Research degree (Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) from the University of Glasgow.

Emil Schroder

Emil Schroder

Investment Analyst

Emil has joined NZGCP as an Investment Analyst supporting the Aspire and Elevate funds. Since studying Physics at the University of Canterbury Emil has gone into the education and government IT sectors, working in coordination and lead roles across a range of Agile software delivery teams.

Ben Seto

Ben Seto

Investment Analyst

Ben is an Investment Analyst supporting the Aspire NZ Seed Fund. Prior to joining NZGCP, Ben worked as an Investment Analyst at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise undertaking financial modelling and venture capital. He has also worked in various offshore Asset Management, Law and M&A roles in Tokyo, Melbourne and Auckland. Ben studied a BCom/LLB in Law & Finance from the University of Auckland.

Tana van Loggerenberg

Tana van Loggerenberg

Chief Financial Officer / Chief Operating Officer

Tana is our CFO / COO and responsible for all accounting, budgeting and forecasting. She has extensive experience in the financial services sector specifically cost management, financial planning and reporting, strategy implementation and leadership. Tana has a Masters in Positive Leadership and Strategy from IE Business School, BCom Hon from the University of North West in South Africa and is a CA with the Chartered Accounts Australia and New Zealand.

Andy Chu

Andy Chu

Fund Controller and Reporting Officer

Andy Chu is a fund controller and reporting officer responsible for data strategy, reporting and system improvement. He has over 10 years’ experience in industry and company research and 5 years’ experience in fund management with extensive exposure to U.S, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand equities. He has a master’s degree in professional accountancy and Finance from the Massey University.

Michelle van Aurich

Michelle van Aurich

Senior Accountant

Michelle is our senior accountant, managing our accounting, budgeting, forecasting and audit requirements. She has over 10 years’ extensive accounting experience with companies both in New Zealand and overseas and is a Chartered Accountant Australia and New Zealand.

Anna Yue

Anna Yue

Accountant

Anna is an Accountant responsible for day-to-day accounting, assisting with improving and streamlining internal business processes and providing support for investment reporting. She has extensive accounting experience with companies in various industries across New Zealand. Anna has a Master of Professional Accounting from AUT and is a Chartered Accountant with the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

Katie Hickmer

Katie Hickmer

Marketing Manager

Katie is a senior marketing, brand and comms specialist with 15+ years of both international and national experience. Katie has worked in a diverse range of industries (media, travel, tourism, retail, gaming, construction) with both B2B and B2C focus. Working with leading brands such as Disney, BBC, Heathrow Airport, Lotto NZ and JUCY, Katie has led and delivered cross-platform marketing solutions to achieve results. Katie is commercially astute and joined NZGCP to refine our brand, and to develop and implement our marketing and communication initiatives aligned with our strategic business objectives.

Danielle Tait

Danielle Tait

Head of People and Culture

Danielle is responsible for developing and implementing HR strategies and initiatives aligned with the NZGCP business strategy and enhancing the employee experience. She is a qualified HR practitioner with over 15 years of HR experience in New Zealand. She’s worked with some of New Zealand’s largest organisations as an HR professional and has spent the last few years supporting CEOs and executive teams to drive strategic change to achieve business outcomes. Danielle holds a Bachelors degree in Human Resource Management and Economics from the University of Cape Town.