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ON: Pitch LIVE Zoom Mentors

Aug 24, 2020 | 26 min read
Hello world! I'm Niesh's Head of Student Engagement and I run our ON Event Series. My expertise ranges from food all the way to sharing knowledge on how to make the most of your student experience.

Are you ready for New Zealand’s largest entrepreneurship livestream for 2020? ON: Pitch LIVE is NOT only the finals of Niesh’s startup ventures competition, ON: Pitch. It’s also YOUR chance to network with some of the BIGGEST entrepreneurs & BEST mentors we know. Below you’ll find the bios of our 40 ON: Pitch LIVE Zoom mentors (take note of the mentor number for your RSVP).

Let us know you’re coming HERE (Applications for our Zoom mentoring session closes on the 18th September).

How will it work?

“Zoom, zoom, zoom, zoom, I want you in my room!”

Yes, you can connect with some of the BEST mentors right from the comforts of your own room. Fill out our easy application form, and if you’re a suitable candidate. You will be assigned a mentor on the 21st September! ON: Pitch LIVE will be broadcasted from Facebook on the 1st October at 6PM, just tune in to receive the Zoom password.

Keep note, those who have not signed up won’t get the Zoom link. We’re keeping it exclusive because we can only host up to 200 people!

Mentor Profiles

Speciality: Law, Biotech, Capital Raising in NZ & Overseas

Andrew joined Lowndes Jordan in 2011 from a leading New Zealand firm, where he worked for a number of years in addition to a stint at a leading New York firm. He is an expert in biotech, startups, capital raising in NZ and overseas.

Speciality: Software Engineering & Product Delivery

Bevan’s role as a People Lead is about empowering engineers to hone their skills and grow as individuals. He attracts, recruits and retains high performing individuals, building on and complementing the diversity of our team and works alongside other leaders to foster the growth of a world-class engineering culture.

Speciality: Software & Impact Driven Startups

Proving age is no barrier to becoming an entrepreneur, Carol has a history in Technology having come out of retirement from previous roles with EY, Bunnings and Dominion Breweries to name a few. ChirpyPlus reduces loneliness in the over 55s by providing real life friendships and connections & is growing fast throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Speciality: Mechanical Engineering, Photography, Music & Side Hustles

Dalong is a Mechanical Engineer at Downer New Zealand, Freelance Photographer at Fresh & Chips, and Music Producer known as DeepSleep. I am also a deeply passionate about sustainability and how it can be brought into the engineering world and everyday living

Speciality: Tech Startups & Scaling

Over the last 15 years David has been helping a number of New Zealand companies bring innovative and world-leading new products to market, and working with Scale-Up’s to grow and scale profitably. David has been actively supporting the start-up ecosystem, including Startup Weekend, VentureUp and Flux Accelerator, is involved in industry groups such as ProductTank Auckland and Hardware Meetup Auckland, and other organisations such as OMGTech! and Young Enterprise Scheme.

Speciality: Community building, Digital Marketing, Social Impact & Climate Change

Doris Zhang is the co-founder and community director at Freelancing for Good Aotearoa. She has previously been involved with TEDx, AI-Day, Velocity and Inspiring Stories. Although her passion lies in community building, she believes that digital marketing is a way to inspire, to deliver opportunities and to connect with like-minded people. She is also passionate about climate action, was nominated for the 2018 Zero Waste Award.

Speciality: Business Development & People Management

Putti specialises in custom build software, helping small startups to large enterprises digitise their processes and create awesome solutions. Doug is the Head of Business Development. This means that he helps people bring forth the ideas in their head into real technical solutions.

Speciality: Software Test Engineering

Bugslife.co.nz is a website that showcases what life is like as a Software Test Engineer. As a 15 year practitioner in the field, Eric seeks to bring the latest to what’s needed to thrive in the world of quality software by sharing the thinking and skill sets required by the industry.

Speciality: Film

Fraser Grut runs a global movement called 10,000 Dreams, where every single day for 10,000 days he films a different person answering the question – “What’s your dream?”. Currently, he is on day 1393 and will finish on April 25th 2044, at the age of 50. He has captured the dreams of Prime Ministers, more than 400 celebrities, kids, elderly, people of various race, religion and disabilities, refugees, homeless people, billionaires, Olympians, Oscar winners and an astronaut.

Speciality: Hospitality & Brand Loyalty

Greg from Greater Good Hospitality Group. Owner-operator of the Goodness Gracious Cafes in Auckland which was first established in Eden Terrace in 2014, Parnell 2017 and Takapuna in 2018. Created a concept which is a hospitality focused café; a quick format specialising in Antipodean fare and quality espresso coffee and have since expanded to online retail in the face of the new covid climate.

Speciality: Commercial Partnerships, Customer Experience Design, New Business Development & Growth & Brand Strategy

Henry Matthews is an experienced Tourism & Travel sector business development professional having lived and worked in international markets including Japan, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Henry currently heads up Study Auckland, the International Student portfolio at ATEED. His work across both the commercial and public sector has seen him lead a number of game changing destination marketing projects, including the development of new premium youth travel markets in Auckland.

Speciality: Recruitment, Youth Entrepreneurship, Building & Construction

Hailing from the small city of Gisborne, Israel was brought up in a close-knit family who are at foundations of his motivation. Israel’s humble working-class upbringing encouraged within him a strong work ethic from a young age. This in turn became the key and fundamental attribute contributing to the success of his company, Auckland Labour Hire, which has developed rapidly over its two year lifespan. Israel’s mantra is ‘Hard work, works’, which is implemented throughout all aspects of Auckland Labour Hire.

Speciality: Impact Investment, Social Impact

By day, Jackson is the Director of Ākina Invest, the impact investment arm of Ākina. Ākina’s mission is to transform the economy through the power of impact, and Ākina Invest supports this by building impact investing in New Zealand so that businesses delivering positive impact can scale. By night, he is a jack of all trades. As a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, he is part of a team who are committed to initiating projects to improve Auckland.

Speciality: Software Engineering

Jacob is a Senior Software Engineer, currently working for Air New Zealand that provides various types of flight service. He has five years of Java development experience mostly around APIs and Kafka development. His role at Air New Zealand is to enable the company to provide the best service cost-effectively by developing and maintaining APIs, serverless applications and Kafka applications

Speciality: Tech / App Startups & EdTech

During Jae’s time at university, he was forced to make a decision. Whether to buy a kebab for lunch or pay to print past papers. That’s when he realised, ‘money should never be a barrier between students and their education’. Using the last $3000 in his bank, he chose to lift up a service that provided students with free printing. And that’s how the Niesh journey began. Niesh is now the largest student platform in New Zealand with over 60,000 students using the app.

Speciality: Impact Investment

Soul Capital exists to contribute to making the world a more compassionate place for humans, the planet, and the life we share it with. Our approach is to target systemic change for a more sustainable and inclusive economy. We look to address the lack of investment capital that is available to entrepreneurs and enterprises that are tackling social and environmental problems.

Speciality: Social Enterprise & Education

Dr Justin Sung is a medical doctor turned social entrepreneur. His business, JTT, works with schools, DHB’s and directly with students to support and guide those trying to become doctors. His other business, Finding Gravity, teaches students to study and manage their time more efficiently. Revenue from these create scholarships and community initiatives for students who are financially or opportunity restricted.

Speciality: Indigenous Storytelling & Proximity Tech

Founded in 2016, Arataki Systems is a Māori owned tech company that builds proximity activated cultural storytelling platforms. Our goal is to bridge the cultural gap between communities in Aotearoa NZ.

Speciality: Biotech, Healthcare, Science & Commercialisation

ESR is a New Zealand Crown Research Institute that specialises in science relating to community safety, public and environmental health. My work at the ESR’s forensic arm is helping scientists commercialise their innovative research, as well as providing recommendations to gain R&D and pre-seed funding.

Speciality: Tourism

Go with Tourism is an online platform changing the way people enter the tourism industry & also the perceptions surrounding the industry as a whole. Matt’s motto is “Simply done well”, and he demonstrates this with his incredible ability to create simple solutions for complex problems. In 2011 he helped shape Virgin Australia New Zealand by introducing their new service design methodology and establishing new ways to train the aircrew.

Speciality: BioTech, Blockchain, AI & Hospitality

Michael is a purpose-driven entrepreneur with a variety of ventures on the go. He has experience in branding and media strategy, develops relationships with stakeholders and investors, and leads financial forecasting. He has founded two Thai eateries and is the founder of RENORM, a marketing and technology consultancy.

Speciality: AgriTech

Neil investigated the biology of the black soldier fly at the University of Auckland. He founded Hexacycle to help solve environmental problems with insects. Whilst some people might think converting organic waste into a writhing mass of insect larvae is solving a problem with a problem, Neil sees how much potential there is in the growing sector of insect protein.

Speciality: Software Development

Nicholas is a software developer who also hustles. He has worked at multiple early stage startups and founded two software based companies. He has built and led the entire product from ground zero to production with AngularJS, React, and many skill sets. Swift Home where he currently work helps real estate agents to organize open homes.

Speciality: Micro mobility, Transport & Tech

Nick co-founded Flamingo Scooters in 2018, a dockless e-scooter sharing company that operates in New Zealand’s 3 largest cities – Auckland, Wellington & Christchurch. Nick has a background in software development and a passion for startups.

Speciality: Full Stack Software Engineering

Peter is a senior full-stack engineer at Niesh. He specialises in .NET backend, react and Microsoft cloud technologies and have gone through a few software companies before joining Niesh including Vista Entertainment Solutions, where he also worked as a senior software engineer. Peter joined Niesh because of their vision of helping students and the fun company culture.

Speciality: Sustainable Architecture & Design

Atelier Jones Design is a multi-disciplinary studio that combines local manufacturing and fine craftsmanship. We celebrate the essence of high quality, honest materials and we contribute towards environmental sustainability through the mindful sourcing of our rimu timber. We design/make furniture and objects that become statement pieces in everyday spaces.

Speciality: Startups / SMEs B2B Strategy & Female Leadership

After a decade of sales and business development roles across SME and large corporates, in a wide range of industries, Ritika now engages with startups and SMEs to build their B2B strategy and grow customer bases. Described as radically innovative, she is constantly challenging the norm to enhance customer experience and build successful growth strategies. She is passionate about advancing women in leadership.

Speciality: Digital Strategy, C-Suite, Marketing & Automation

Romi is one of Australasia’s top digital strategy and execution specialists. She has spent the last 20 years in Executive and GM level roles leading high performing teams across agencies, start-ups, and corporates. Hype & Dexter replaces the mystery with mastery when it comes to Digital Transformation, Marketing Automation and Lead Generation. They have worked with databases in excess of 2 million members and generated over $120m worth of eCommerce revenue.

Speciality: Educational Experience, Global Citizenship

Sahinde’s team leads the development and delivery of the national international student experience strategy as well as shaping opportunities to enable global citizenship outcomes for all students, both domestic and international. Working with international students is a huge passion of Sahinde’s with her professional career being dedicated to international education both in NZ and internationally.

Speciality: Early Stage Startups & Tech / App Dev

Sam is a young entrepreneur and architecture graduate. Since 2019, he has already built two businesses, Gifticon and Dog on. Gifticon is a digital gifting platform that solves the problem of long-distance gifting around the world. New Zealand’s first ever company to provide product specific gifting, it provides a whole new and efficient approach to the idea of gifting digitally.

Speciality: Commercial Law, VC & Capital Investors

Sarah practises corporate and commercial law, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, joint venture and shareholder arrangements, venture capital, corporate governance and the drafting and negotiation of high value commercial contracts. She represents venture capital and early stage and expansion capital investors such as K1W1, for whom she has acted since 2004.

Speciality: Software Engineering

Sean is a senior software developer at TradeMe, he specialises in agile development methodologies, test planning & SQL.

Speciality: Software Engineering & Productivity Apps

Sunkee is a software engineer and the creator of Goalpack. Goalpack is a productive social network app that helps you find the motivation for your goal or habit when you need it most. Think of Snapchat, but instead of random photos, you send your group of friends photo proof of you working on your goal.

Speciality: Education & Youth Entrepreneurship

ASE is a social enterprise that helps develop the entrepreneurial skills of anyone aged 5 to 21 years with a passion for innovation. Delivering real and authentic entrepreneurial education for more than 30,000 students. Taj was named The Australian Young Innovator of the Year for 2014 and Young Australian of the Year for Queensland in 2017. He is the youngest recipient of the award since its formation in 1979.

Speciality: EdTech

Victor is an experienced edtech entrepreneur. ValidApp verifies applications to schools by testing the authorship of submitted essays and recommendation letters using forensic linguistics and natural language processing. Our software utilises advanced stylometry to test submitted writing and our system constructs a writing profile unique as a fingerprint to each and individual student. We want students who are the most deserving, not the most resourced, to get a fair shot at entry into and graduating from the world’s top educational institutions.

Speciality: Recruitment Tech & Strategy

Vincent has consulted extensively on strategy and delivered large scale transformations across multiple industries and sectors globally, having been with McKinsey & Company for a number of years before moving into the Corporate sector, where he specialised in strategic capabilities and the future of work. As an officer in the French Armed Forces, Vincent also spent more than a decade leading teams in challenging situations across many parts of the globe. He is a global faculty expert on future of work for Singularity University based in Silicon Valley.

Speciality: Startup Implementation, Capital Raising & Digital Marketing

Wynona thrives when she’s fulfilling her mission to help people grow; connect to values, other people, and information. Caelum Consulting works with entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to market; specialising in strategic implementation, raising capital, and digital marketing. She has consulted startups utilising technology to disrupt the mental well-being, aged care, and marine industries, amongst others.

Speciality: Digital Marketing, Fashion & Lifestyle & Online Sales Optimisation

Zayyar works with small to medium sized businesses scaling their digital landscape and online growth. Mainly working with brands within the fashion and lifestyle industries, Zayyar works with clients across marketing, online optimisation, business development and long term growth.

Speciality: Software, Psychology & Human-Centred Design

QuickSense’s mission is to make learning like the matrix – faster than anyone else in the world. They do this through understanding neuroscience and technology. Vivek has spent years perfecting copy so that students can learn as fast as possible. Understanding how people work and why they act in the way that they do drives him.

Speciality: Music Production & Nightlife Entertainment

TJ has been in the heart of the New Zealand dance music industry for the past 8 years. His belief of always striving to bring a point of difference in everything he does along with a ‘let’s get this sh*t done’ attitude unintentionally turned his hobby into a business


Did one of our mentors suit your needs? RSVP so we know you’re coming HERE! Get prepped by reading this 10 step guide for networking, some of these tips are still relevant even for virtual sessions.

The ON: Entrepreneurship Series is proudly brought to you by Niesh and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development.

Thank you to our sponsors Icehouse Ventures, Amazon Web Services, Lowndes Jordan, Red Bull Basement, CO.STARTER AUT, MYOB, NxtStep, Storytech, Collectively NZ, B:HIVE, GridAKL, Kea New Zealand, Archie Brothers, and Gong Cha.