We are from all corners of business life but share a common purpose – we want to be the driving force behind New Zealand’s future business legends. We love startups, we love Wellington and we love what we do.
All of us have direct business experience – we have been at the coal face and have experienced success and failure alike. We have:
- built our own startup companies
- raised angel funding and growth capital
- taken a business into international markets
- experienced the trials of big, fast business growth
- worked deeply in an array of industries and sectors
- experienced major export markets first-hand
Working with businesses in Creative HQ is unlike any other business-adviser relationship. We are co-located with most of our businesses, we experience their triumphs and challenges alongside them daily. It’s sometimes tough, and always inspiring.
Chief Executive Officer
P: +64 4 381 4480 |M: +64 21 420 330
Stefan heads Creative HQ, and is as a leading influence in the startup ecosystem as a business founder, investor and champion of all things startup.
Stefan has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, an MBA in international business and an Honours Degree in Computer engineering. During his career in the corporate world Stefan ran large scale e-commerce platforms and managed complex business intelligence implementations for companies like HP, Oracle and InterContinental Hotels Group.
In 2007 Stefan founded the private incubator WebFund to make use of his business and e-commerce experience to help web-based Kiwi start-ups conquer the world. Stefan and his team have established a portfolio of successful start-ups which operate in Australia, the US and UK.
In 2010 Stefan was recognised as New Zealander of the Year by North & South Magazine for innovation in parenting education with one of Webfund’s startups DIYFather.com. Stefan is a founding investor of the digital accelerator Lightning Lab set up by Creative HQ and serves on a number of boards of profit and not-for-profit organisations.
Head of Operations
P: +64 4 381 4471 | M: +64 27 245 2416
Rebecca makes Creative HQ go, streamlining life and making problems go away.
Rebecca has business in her blood. Launching her first business at the age of 19, Rebecca understands the intricacies of owning a small business. Rebecca set up and ran Colorpace Photolab for five years, before the realisation that her true passion lay in the management side of the business and spent the next four years managing a financial advisory firm specialising in international finance.
“Having owned and operated a small business, and working closely with others in the same boat, I understand the frustrations and challenges startups and business founders are experiencing.”
Head of Customer Engagement | BCA, Post Grad Diploma Journalism
P: +64 4 381 4441 | M: +64 21 536 085
Nick puts Creative HQ out there, managing storytelling, media and communications and our role in the startup community.
Nick had stock market reports read to him as a kid, was cheap labour in the family firm before he turned 12, and learned the sharp end of business in commercial kitchens, atop steel girders and by pushing tourists into the Caribbean.
As a steel salesman in the 90s, Nick learned the trials of a low margin, high volume commodity market. In the super yacht industry he learned the value of a dollar to a billionaire and who you can rely on in a storm. Selling underwater photos to scuba divers taught him the importance of capturing a customer’s passion. Impromptu singing to a crowd of 400 was a lesson in outsourcing skills you don’t have.
Business is about people, which is what draws Nick to this space. From a road side stall to a virtual trading platform, at the end of each transaction is one hand reaching out to another. A former financial and business journalist he saw big business at its best and worst, small businesses grow and fail, entrepreneurs try and win, deals fly and flop and international markets take New Zealand to task.
Head of Incubation | BA, Post Grad Dip Industrial Design
P: +64 4 381 4478 | M: +64 27221 8883
Alan is Creative HQ’s gaming guru, design specialist and resident “sneaker-guy”.
Alan has turned his hand to everything from lecturing in industrial design and sailing the Caribbean to teaching snowboarding and starting several businesses. His favourite saying is: “A good idea well executed is a very powerful thing indeed”.
In 2000, Alan started his first company, Paua2thePeople, providing functional art and design pieces for the home, which he ran in tandem with completing a post graduate diploma in Industrial Design at Massey University Design School.
Hucks Design Limited followed, a company aimed at manufacturing and promoting innovative New Zealand design products to the international market. One of his enduring successes was launching the designchain product, a revolutionary storage system that is currently selling in high-end design stores in 14 countries.
In 2008, Alan founded Design Initiative Ltd, a design consultancy that facilitates the implementation of new technology or products into commercial reality by utilising design methodology. “By focusing on usability studies to build strategic partnerships and efficient business models, I was able to look at the big picture and determine the best way to plan commercialisation of new product concepts.”
Start-up Manager | Chartered Accountant, BSc (hons)
P: +64 4 381 4448 | M: +64 (0)21 394 019
Dave is the financial nous behind many of the deals out of Creative HQ and can plug a hole in a business model before breakfast.
Dave’s drive as part of the business strategist team at Creative HQ is helping startup founders to discover their business model and build their companies for global growth.
As manager of Wellington’s angel investment group Angel HQ, Dave also works closely with investors both locally and nationally, knows what makes a robust pitch, and how to build a plan to raise funds and grow startup businesses. He goes to pains to find simple language to describe business problems and propose solutions.
Dave is passionate about Wellington and is a familiar part of the local eco-system. He loves to make connections between people and organisations and has lots of experience in creating, managing and saving relationships. Dave has a background in science and came to startups via chartered accountancy so he is as comfortable with a balance sheet and cashflow forecast as he is with a business model canvas.
P: +64 4 381 4442 | M: +64 (0)21 656 471
Richard puts a global perspective on sales and a harsh light on Creative HQ startups looking to make it internationally.
Richard is an experienced entrepreneur with a zest for sales. He has developed his career with on a foundation of understanding people, with years of building relationships across diverse cultures and religion, understanding how expectations are set and met and how business is done from New Zealand to the world. Richard has co-owned a number of business from education, retail, and consultancy industries.
“Having lived in South East Asia and the Middle East has made me well aware of what it takes to succeed in these markets. A passion around exporting products and services is my key strength in informing, mentoring and developing businesses to get ready for the next step, the global step.”
Richard says business is a hard task but the key is to have a strong character, treat people they way you want to be treated and learn as you go.
“Globalisation is the status quo and the future of New Zealand success. The companies that succeed in this international market are helping our community grow and building a great country.”
Incubation Programme Manager
P: +64 4 381 4476 | M: +64 21 232 1899
Jill is part of Creative HQ’s strategist team feeding the pulse of the incubator’s business growth programme.
Jill has experience working with startups in the UK, and is an impact player within our strategy team, focusing on key initiatives with companies in the Creative HQ portfolio.
Jill completed a double degree in commerce majoring in Management and International Business, and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Art History at Victoria University. After University, she worked in Australia and UK for six years in financial services and ended up part of a small team running a last growth, market-leading technology company in London. She was part of the early stage growth phase from SME to global organisation.
Jill spent time travelling through Europe and Latin America and has witnessed the New Zealand brand on an international market. Jill’s belief in the potential she has seen in NZ companies working on a global scale brought her to Creative HQ where she is already an integral part of the incubator and the Wellington startup community, supporting the buzz around startups, innovative entrepreneurs and driving NZ’s tech capital forward.
Head of Acceleration
P: +64 4 381 4449 | M: +64 21 203 4298
Dan leads Creative HQ’s acceleration arm, responsible for helping entrepreneurs build high-growth ventures at Lightning Lab.
Dan understands that great people need support, mentoring, and determination to accelerate their route to success.
With more than 15 years’ experience on the creative edge of the web, IT, and start-up industries, Dan has core skills in ideation and commercialisation of on-line and mobile products, and early-stage start-up execution using lean start-up and customer driven methodologies.
He is passionate about building a sustainable early-stage tech start-up and innovation ecosystem in New Zealand. Through his affiliation with Start-up Weekend and the lean start-up community, Dan continues to develop international networks to many of the early stage start-up community leaders around the world, including the US, Europe, South Africa, Japan, Indonesia, and more.
“Ultimately, what drives me most is to do work that matters, by connecting people and technology to solve new and interesting problems in fun and innovative ways and inspire others to do the same.”