Business is Boring is a weekly podcast series presented by The Spinoff in association with Callaghan Innovation. Host Simon Pound speaks with innovators and commentators focused on the future of New Zealand. This week he’s joined by Blackbird’s Sam Wong.
Last year one of the biggest venture capital operators in Australia moved over and set up offices in New Zealand. The company, Blackbird, is famous for backing big companies like Canva, but has also been involved in supporting local successes from very early on. One of those is like Sunfed, the makers of plant protein meat alternatives, and it’s the Blackbird partner who led the Sunfed deal who has come over to set up the local office.
Sam Wong started her career at a prestigious law firm. She did well but didn’t quite love it so left, moved home, worked minimum wage jobs to pay her way, and got into start-up life. She ran product for a high-growth ecommerce company, founded a company that went through the VC cycle, and got into working at Blackbird.
Blackbird VC has invested in a bunch of local companies like AskNicely, FreightFish, AO Air, Partly, Multitudes and Mint Innovation. And it’s recently announced it’s raised a lot more money, partnered with the government to invest, and run big events for the local start-up ecosystem.
To talk moving from law to the start-up world to VC, what it takes to be a great company – and a great venture capitalist – and how Blackbird works to back local companies, Sam Wong joined Business is Boring for a chat.