Dr Robert Powell
Dr Robert Powell has 15 years’ experience identifying opportunities, forming and nurturing deep-tech ventures.
A former academic (PhD, Biochemistry, University of Otago), Robert worked on the academic side of the commercialisation process managing the commercialisation program for a US biotechnology focused research University.
For the last decade he has worked for investors (Angel and VC) in the US and NZ, while managing a deep-tech due diligence consultancy. He returned to NZ eight years ago after two decades in the US and has been working with Pacific Channel since 2018. Robert brings broad experience having worked with medical, human, animal and aquatic technologies and start-ups. He has experience in forming, financing, operating and staffing deep-tech ventures.
Professor Cather Simpson is one of New Zealand's shining stars for commercialisation and is passionate about inspiring researchers to understand the opportunities that stem from commercialising deep tech as a career path. Cather joined Pacific Channel as a partner in 2021 to assist in identifying and advancing potential commercialisation projects which meet Pacific Channel's criteria for investment. Cather is a professor at the University of Auckland, a joint appointment between the physics and chemistry departments and co-founder of the Photon Factory laser lab, Engender and Orbis Diagnostics.
Cherie Tirikatane-Le Cheminant
From connecting and coordinating Māori-led enterprises through to enabling communities to deal with the social, economic and environmental challenges they face, Cherie’s work is centered around helping people become more self-determining.
She is a passionate advocate for hapū, whānau and marae-based development and leads and advises on a multitude of projects that aim to advance economic growth and environmental sustainability, not just for Māori and Pacifica but for everyone in Aotearoa.
Cherie is the CEO of SEED NZ and the founder of Whānau Power, a project aimed to solve Energy Hardship. She is the founder of He Pito Mata Ltd. and has been involved in Māori Media Sector Shift, an initiative to support the revitalisation of te reo Māori and greater awareness and understanding of Māori stories and workforce development within the Māori Media Sector.
Previously, she was COO for Ekos, an international non-profit enterprise focused on sustainable reforestation and carbon farming, CEO of BIZview, and GM of Pentech Communications Ltd.
The community development programs that Cherie has founded, are all designed to help communities improve their quality of life. She is most passionate about helping people realise their potential, and to collectively create tangible solutions and results.
Her kaupapa is widely supported, as she continues her efforts to ensure that everyone in Aotearoa has access to the resources they need so they can grow and help future generations thrive.
Richard joined Pacific Channel in November 2022, having returned to New Zealand after working in Europe. He has previous experience working alongside Pacific Channel during his time with the MacDiarmid Institute and Dodd Walls Centre where he looked after commercialisation projects for these Centres of Research Excellence.
While in Europe, Richard worked for a private equity firm with a focus on wind and solar ventures.
Richard has a BA and BCom from Auckland University and an International Certificate in Wealth Management from The Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment.
Guy Wills is an experienced serial entrepreneur, CEO, director, and marketing and sales professional. His experience is born out of senior leadership background in blue-chip corporates such as Heinz Watties and Carter Holt Harvey Ventures and the founding and commercialisation of several private Equity, Venture Capital, and Corporate ventures. He has 25 years of experience in FMCG, food and biotechnology, nutritional’s, nutraceuticals, dairy and greentech. Mr Wills has expertise in leading businesses through high growth stages to significant value creation and sale, particularly via international expansion in regions such as the Asia Pacific.
The association with Pacific Channel began for Mr Wills in 2010 as the co-founder and CEO of its portfolio company Somnaceutics limited, which successfully developed and sold the intellectual property of a milk protein-based sleep-enhancement tonic and its other business assets to an NZX-listed company.
His recent return to Pacific Channel as Entrepreneur in Residence supports his passion for identifying high growth potential technology-based early-stage businesses. This integral role brings a wealth of experience and expertise to new technologies and aspiring early-stage business to ultimately dedicate to a new venture and lead a passionate, smart team through the commercialisation and value creation journey.
Mr Wills has a BBS from Massey University, majoring in marketing & psychology, and has completed further business, leadership, nutrition, and integrative medicine studies. He is an active private equity investor, was previously a trustee for the Conservation Foundation, and a participant of the SPCA pet therapy programme.
Born in New Zealand and currently residing in Auckland, Mr Wills has lived and worked in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Southeast and North Asia and North America.
Brent Ogilvie is a co-founder and Managing Partner of Pacific Channel.
Mr Ogilvie was also previously the founding investor director of Engender Technologies, which developed a proprietary process to separate X (female) and Y (male) bearing bull sperm cells to enable cattle farmers to choose the sex of offspring. Mr Ogilvie co-founded Engender and led it from foundation to its successful sale to a global dairy genetics company generating a significant capital return for its scientists, Auckland UniServices, Pacific Channel and its co-investors.
Mr. Ogilvie was co-founder, founding CEO and Director of Somnaceutics, which developed asleep enhancement tonic, which was sold to New Image Group: Mr. Ogilvie was also Director of Ecodiesel, a biodiesel technology company that sold its business assets to Z Energy.
Mr. Ogilvie was previously New Zealand Consul and Trade Commissioner to New York. He holds a BSc (Biological Sciences) from the University of Waikato and an MBA from The University of Auckland.
Dr Roland Toder
Dr Roland Toder has extensive life sciences and international business development expertise. He has previously worked as a manager, board member and consultant to numerous successful companies in NZ and in Europe. Roland brings a wealth of knowledge to Pacific Channel and helps the team with technical due diligence, scientific validation, valuation of early-stage startups, technology transfer, international licensing as well as advising on the commercial arrangements of our portfolio companies.
Roland resides in Golden Bay, NZ and holds dual Citizenship in Germany & New Zealand.
Dr Gary Pace
Dr Gary Pace is an experienced serial entrepreneur, director and senior operations manager of small to large-scale life sciences ventures inAustralia, New Zealand and the USA. He has more than 40 years of experience in the development and commercialization of advanced technologies including in the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and food industries.
Dr Pace currently serves as a Director of Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:PCRX), Cardiff Oncology (NASDAQ: CRDF), Simavita Ltd (ASX: SVA) and AntisenseTherapeutics (ASX: ANP) as well as several private companies.
He also served as a director of ResMed Inc (NYSE: RMD) from its inception in 1994until 2018. Gary was instrumental in the growth of the company to a market capitalization of US$28bn.
In New Zealand, he is Executive Chairman of Pacific Channel portfolio company InsituGen, which is developing tests to detect performance enhancing drugs in racehorses and humans. Also, he is a director of Upstream Medical Technologies, which is developing biomarker-based tests for rapid and accurate front-line diagnoses of heart disease and associated clinical complications.
He has also previously served as a director of two Pacific Channel portfolio companies that have since been acquired; Somnaceutics and Engender Technologies.
Dr Pace holds a B.Sc. (Hons I) from the University of New South Wales and a Ph.D.from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was a Fulbright Fellow and General Foods Scholar. He has authored or co-authored over 50 research and review papers as well as 24 patents. He has held visiting academic positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Queensland. Dr.Pace is an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. In 2003 he was awarded a Centenary Medal by the Australian Government “for service to Australian society in research and development” and was named 2011 Director of the Year (corporate governance) by the San Diego Directors Forum.
Dr Pace was born in Sydney Australia and holds both US and Australian citizenship. He lives in La Jolla, California,USA.
Lifei Wang joined Pacific Channel in 2017 as part of the Greater China Team. Lifei is involved in marketing and attracting investment, acquirers, and strategic parties from the Greater China region to our portfolio companies. Lifei has connections with Chinese media outlets, which allow for publicity of Pacific Channel and our portfolio.
Lifei has extensive experience in marketing, with aNew Zealand Level 7 Diploma in Business & Marketing.
While working in China, Lifei gained extensive experience in journalism and developing marketing campaigns for a large local news outlet in Beijing.
Steph got started in VC in Israel, where he was OurCrowd’s first dedicated investment analyst and eventually the fund’s Principal. During his tenure at OurCrowd, Steph and his team deployed over $700M into a portfolio of over 150 companies around the world, alongside top Silicon Valley VCs, including Sequoia, A16Z, Khosla Ventures, and NEA, and alongside super angels like Richard Branson, Marissa Mayer, Eric Schmidt, and Mark Cuban etc. OurCrowd also built a FinTech business around some of its proprietary back-end software, valuing the company at $360M, and for which it was recognized as one of KPMG's top FinTech startups to watch. Steph sat on the investment committee for Radicle, OurCrowd's AgriTech fund - a joint venture with Finistere Ventures, DuPont, and Bayer Crop Sciences.
Before OurCrowd, Steph worked at ING Bank where he led teams of engineers and designers to build award-winning enterprise software. Most recently, Steph was the VP for Technology Investment at Orchard Capital Venture Partners, a Los Angeles based venture fund.
Steph holds two bachelor's degrees in Economics and Biotechnology from the University of Waikato, as well as an executive diploma from Harvard Law School.
Kieran joined Pacific Channel in 2015 and manages the investment process and post-investment support. His approach is to ensure that R&D, product development, IP and business development strategies align with market needs, competitive whitespace and liquidity strategy. Kieran takes an active role in guiding the formation, investment, development and commercialisation of technologies and companies, and empowering their teams.
Kieran has held a range of operational, management and governance roles across medical devices, diagnostics, therapeutics, agritech and clean-tech companies. He is currently seconded part-time as CEO of Upstream Medical Technologies, which is developing novel biomarkers to increase the efficiency of chest pain triage within emergency departments. In addition to directorships of companies within PacificChannel's portfolio, he sits on the Executive Council for BiotechNZ and is a member of the Return on Science investment committee for Medtech & Surgery.
Kieran commenced his career at the now ASX-listed device company, Aroa Biosurgery. Subsequently, he became Chief Operating Officer of Engender Technologies, which was developing a novel cytometry system for sorting bull semen by sex chromosome content. He led its product development planning and drove the process for the company to be strategically acquired.
Kieran holds degrees in Master of Science (Hons) and Master of Bioscience Enterprise (Hons).
Emerald Scofield joined Pacific Channel as an Analyst in 2019.
Emerald is responsible for assessing investment opportunities, specifically technology and market review.
Emerald also takes an active role in supporting Pacific Channel's start-ups, especially to anticipate and overcome potential issues and to develop their commercialisation strategies. Notably, for the past year Emerald has been working hands on with Orbis Diagnostics, which is working to develop medical laboratory precision diagnostics for use at points of need. Emerald is now an observer on the Orbis board.
Emerald is responsible for implementing and operationalising Pacific Channel’s ESG policy, both internally and externally with our portfolio. Emerald is dedicated to advancing the early-stage sectors thinking around impact and using ESG to illustrate that impact and financial returns are not mutually exclusive.
Emerald is passionate about revolutionising healthcare via improving accessibility and quality of care. Emerald also has a keen focus on the future of food, and how we plan to sustainably feed our future populations.
As Executive Assistant to the Director and Managing Partner of Pacific Channel, Georgia’s supportive role stretches from investor relations to operations and marketing. She maintains and refines internal processes that support management, coordinating internal and external resources to expedite workflow and ensure company objectives are met.
Georgia holds a B.S. in Business Administration with emphases in Management and Public Relations from the Master’s University, California.
Robert McPhail joined our team as an Investment Analyst in 2019.
Robert’s primary role is to provide support to management with capital raising activities, deal-structuring and syndications with co-investors where Pacific Channel is the lead investor or an existing shareholder.
His entrepreneurial flair assists our portfolio companies with business development advisory work particular around corporate growth strategy.
Robert is heavily involved in the due-diligence investment process for Pacific Channel Fund II, assisting with economic and financial analysis of our investments.
Robert has a passion for technology companies, particularly ones that can have significant global impact. Outside of work Robert enjoys golf and socializing with his friends and family.
Dr Ashwath Sundaresan
Dr Ashwath Sundaresan leads Pacific Channel’s investments into cleantech/ advanced engineering opportunities and supports work in medical devices. Ashwath joined Pacific Channel in July 2021 and has over 10 years' experience across technology and deep IP based business.
Immediately before to joining Pacific Channel, Ashwath spent three years as a Senior Commercialisation Manager at Wellington UniVentures (the commercialisation company of Victoria University of Wellington) focussing on developing academic entrepreneurs and university spinouts. Prior to that, Ashwath was a strategy and technology advisor with Accenture and Google with significant expertise in the healthcare and energy industry.
Ashwath is passionate about early-stage deep technologies and businesses and is also a director of Vortex Power Systems (a Pacific Channel portfolio company). Ashwath holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and PhD in mechanical engineering from University of Canterbury and an MBA from INSEAD.
Dr Allan Goldberg
Dr Allan Goldberg is a biotechnology entrepreneur, and has been a CEO, Board member, and advisor for both private and public companies with marketed and R&D stage products. He has been involved primarily in therapeutics companies focused either on oncology or infectious disease. Currently, he is on the board of New Zealand-based Orbis Diagnostics, a company developing a rapid, quantitative, low-cost, portable point-of-care diagnostic platform technology that will be used initially to detect neutralizing antibodies after SARS-CoV-2infection, but that also has broad applicability for detection of other infectious agents. Dr Goldberg is currently the CEO of DetectOn Diagnostics,Inc., a US-based company focused on early detection of cancer.
Prior to entering the biotech industry, he was a professor of virology at The Rockefeller University, where his lab focused on viral oncology. Allan holds a B.A. from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry/Biology from Princeton University.
From my earliest days of helping on the family farm to founding a technology business focused on enabling financial and environmental sustainability for farmers, I am passionate about making a difference in the agricultural sector. Since the successful exit of Regen to CropX in 2020 I have continued to be involved with Regen and CropX, taking up a role of chief Sustainability Officer for CropX. The broad experience I have gained over my career enables me to bring together knowledge and expertise from business, technology, science and social science to develop solutions today for tomorrow's challenges.
Professor David Williams
David is an internationally award-winning scientist and recognized global expert in immunoassay development, electrochemistry and chemical sensors. He was formerly Head of Chemistry at University College London and Chief Scientist at Alere (when known as Inverness Medical Innovations) at the time when it developed Clearblue Digital, the first digital home pregnancy test. David co-founded Capteur Sensors Ltd and Aeroqual Ltd. He is currently based at The University of Auckland and is an Emeritus Investigator of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, and Associate Investigator of the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Biodiscovery and of the Centre for Medical Device Technology. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland.
A career of 45 years as an Intellectual Property Lawyer and Patent Attorney, specialising particularly in all areas of trademark law from brand creation through to litigating the enforcement of IP rights.
Partner at both AJ Park and Baldwins IP over a period of 35 years.
Chairman at AJ Park for 7 years between 2013 and 2019.
Acted for many overseas corporates, including Disney, Warner Bros, Lacoste, Citibank, Ferrari, L’Oréal and BIC.
New Zealand companies included Mainfreight, Farmers, Healtheries, Navman and Manuka Health, as well as a large number of New Zealand wine companies and start-ups in association with The Icehouse.
In 2016 won the Who’s Who Legal award for International Trademark Lawyer of the Year.
A Notary Public and served on the Council of the New Zealand Society of Notaries for 6 years.
Currently, a Brand Ambassador for New Zealand legal software developer, Sortify.tm Limited, a locally based legal tech start-up.
Roger Hatrick Smith
Roger’s domestic and international business advisory experience spans 40 years. He has a deep understanding of the issues and challenges facing businesses wanting to grow both in New Zealand and offshore. He has advised many businesses through various stages of growth offering insights and knowledge acquired through many years of working closely with entrepreneurs and their businesses. As a 10+year partner at EY, Roger initially was a partner in EY consulting and after the sale of their consulting practice to Cap Gemini headed the Australasian public sector consulting practice for four years. Subsequently Roger was partner in charge of the Entrepreneurial Services and Transaction Advisory service lines at EY and was a member of the executive management group of the Firm.
Roger is a founding Director of VCFO Group Ltd after forming the original VCFO Firm in 2007 and is responsible for the accounting and business advisory areas of the Firm. He has experience across a number of business areas including commercial property management, property development and a range of young entrepreneurial start-up companies and provides advice on guidance on growth; access to capital; strategy commercialisation; valuations; and acquisitions and divestments.
Roger is a Chartered Accountant and has postgraduate management qualifications from Massey University.
Sam has spent the last decade in governance roles supporting young and ambitious growth companies. Examples include Xero in accounting software, Magritek in scientific instruments, PartnersLife in insurance and Synlait in the food/dairy industry.
During the prior decade, Sam was the founding CEO of Kiwibank, leading it from idea to success. This role followed an extensive career in financial services with senior executive roles in Australia and New Zealand.
Sam has a BSc in Physics from Waikato University and an MSc (Hons) in Resource Management from Canterbury University.
Dr Selwyn Yorke
Selwyn Yorke is a biotech consultant, a Director who holds two Chair and three Board positions on deep tech start-up organisations. He has several Advisory roles and enjoys being a business mentor (BMNZ). To support environmental recovery, Selwyn Chairs a community-based native tree planting and environmental management group. He is an Impact Advisor to groups at two Research Institutions.
Selwyn is an Investment Committee member of the Manawatu Investment Group Fund 3 in which he assesses many types of start-up companies, including foodtech, biotech, agritech and SaaS businesses for investment opportunities. Furthermore, he is a member of the Return on Science Manawatu Momentum committee and recently became a Chiasma Manawatu mentor.
Selwyn has a career of project management related activities including drug development, medical devices, natural products and related technology, including early-stage manufacturing.
Selwyn was Business Development Manager at New Zealand Pharmaceuticals Ltd (NZP), a GMP certified manufacturer of drug substances, pharmaceutical intermediates and natural products. He contributed to global sales of a range of NZP products and retired from NZP in June, 2016.
Selwyn is a graduate of the University of Canterbury (PhD chemistry) and in the post-grad period, he worked in academia for several years, in a tech start-up and at the Chemistry Division, DSIR.
Blair Pritchard was previously a Partner at Pacific Channel but is still involved in an advisory capacity. He is now based in Sydney, where he is a director of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). At the CEFC, he is responsible for increasing the innovative and early stage investing activities. This includes pioneering new investment programs designed to promote clean energy innovation, investing directly in early stage companies, and advising such companies on growth strategies.
Blair was the Chief Investment Officer of My Angel Investment, an equity crowdfunding platform as well as the CFO of Phoenix Water, a Melbourne based water technology company
Blair has also worked at Macquarie, where he ran a team making principal investments in early stage clean-tech and environmental companies as part of the Macquarie Group. This role included setting up/acquiring early stage companies and remaining actively involved in their ongoing management including Board representation. The business reached profitability after two years.
Prior to that he acted as Chief Investment Officer of a $7bn funds management unit within Macquarie. Earlier in his career, Blair worked as an investment analyst for Mercer Investment Consulting, performing asset-liability modelling for Australian pension funds.
Blair’s areas of interest include financial structuring and product development cycles in early stage companies. He has law and economics degrees from Victoria University of Wellington and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Dr Hans Albrecht
Hans is a founding member Chairman of Global Bridges, a Berlin based German NGO that aims to foster better understanding between opinion leaders in politics, business, science and the media in Germany and a number of other countries such as China, Russia, Iran, Israel and Palestine and several other countries in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.
In his commercial life, Hans Albrecht is a Managing Partner and founder of Nordwind Capital, a Munich based private equity investor.
Prior to founding Nordwind Dr. Albrecht was managing director and co-founder of Carlyle Europe Partners, the European arm of the Washington based Carlyle Group and before that he was managing director and partner of IMM Industries Management, one of the leading German private equity companies at that time.
He started his career as a consultant with The Boston Consulting Group in Munich.
Hans holds a Ph.D. in medicine, the equivalent of an LL.B. from the University of Würzburg, an L.L.M. from the Harvard Law School and an M.B.A. from INSEAD. He is a Fulbright scholar and is registered as an attorney with the New York Bar.
Hans is a member of the Foundation Council of the Munich Security Conference and as a private investor he is amongst other activities a member of CargoBeamer AG’s supervisory board and the spokesman of the CargoBeamer investor group.
Dr Sunil Vather
Sunil believes a thoughtful business plan underpins a platform of common understanding between all interested parties in a venture. This enables the establishment of shared goals and improved teamwork between technologists, the staff, and business partners. In particular, he works towards converting complex science and business concepts into simple and understandable language.
Sunil has over 30 years’ experience in transforming innovation into business success. His first commercial project in 1987 saved his employer $3 million per annum and helped introduce an enhanced product range. After emigrating to New Zealand in 1993, he managed the intellectual property portfolio of 120 patents for Industrial Research Limited (now Callaghan Innovation). He sold and licensed the intellectual property in New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the USA.
In 2000 he was appointed General Manager of Science at Industrial Research Limited with 250 direct reports and a budget of $30 million. In 2005 he was appointed CEO of the Building Research Association and in 2008 he began his own entrepreneurial activity. In recent years he has assisted over 20 innovative concepts to progress to start-up companies or commercialization.
Sunil has held numerous governance positions including at MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) and Damping Systems Limited (joint venture with Oiles Corporation, Japan). He currently holds positions in Edpotential Ltd, Westmedic Ltd, Ablex Ltd and is an advisor to Toku Eyes Ltd and Cetogenix Ltd.
Sunil holds a doctorate degree from the University of Oxford (UK, on scholarship), MBA from University of Witwatersrand (South Africa, on scholarship) and has received executive training from the Darden Business School (USA).
Professor Cather Simpson
Cather Is one of New Zealand’s most highly regarded scientists having founded New Zealand’s premier laboratory for photonics research – the Photon Factory. As a Ministry of Primary Industries Champion, and member of thePrimary Industries Science Strategy group, she is also one of New Zealand’s most successful translators of high-tech laboratory to AgTech impact. She is Founding Scientist and CSO of Engender Technologies, a spin out from the University of Auckland that was sold to CRV in 2018.