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Blackbird Aotearoa appoints principal

Oliver Bruce

Oliver Bruce.

Fri, 21 Jul 2023

Blackbird Aotearoa has appointed Oliver Bruce to the position of principal in its investments team as the firm demonstrates its commitment to building a Kiwi venture fund with a long-term presence.

Blackbird Aotearoa is the dedicated New Zealand-based team of Blackbird, Australasia’s largest venture capital fund with $7 billion in assets under management.

Bruce brings exceptional knowledge of New Zealand’s early-stage ecosystem to Blackbird and particular strength in climate and deep tech. Prior to his appointment at Blackbird, he was a prolific angel investor, investing in early rounds of Blackbird portfolio companies Foundry Lab and Seachange.

Since 2018, Bruce has been an angel investor in 40+ climate tech, micro mobility, and web3 companies, including Hnry, Mevo and Carbonscape. Prior to focusing on angel investing, he was on the early team of Uber in New Zealand, then worked on strategic projects across the Asia-Pacific including what would become UberTRANSIT, micro mobility business and the taxi products.

Blackbird partner Samantha Wong said: “Oliver has been in and around the New Zealand early-stage ecosystem for years. He brings a strong track record of generating deal flow and spotting great founders early, which makes him a natural fit for Blackbird Aotearoa.”

Bruce said: “The New Zealand startup ecosystem has come of age and I have no doubt that Kiwi founders are able to compete with the world’s most pioneering and exciting. I am looking forward to working with the talented Blackbird Aotearoa investments team to continue to cultivate and unlock growth and ambition in the region.”

Blackbird has invested in 27 New Zealand companies including leading rounds in Halter, Partly and Tracksuit.

“With the hiring of Oliver, we are demonstrating our real commitment to building a Kiwi venture fund with ambitions to be around for decades. Oliver’s networks in Wellington give us better coverage of that ecosystem than ever before and brings our team size to seven, up from just two people only three years ago. With a dedicated $80 million dedicated early-stage fund for Kiwi founders at pre-seed and seed stage, and A$650m for growth-stage ANZ companies, we are excited to partner with the most ambitious Kiwi founders from the very beginning and into the growth stages,” said Wong.

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Blackbird Aotearoa appoints principal
Comings and Goings,