Evaluation Panel

Dr Andrew Kelly

Dr Andrew Kelly is one of Australia-New Zealand’s most experienced life science investment managers. He is Managing Director and co-founder of BioPacificVentures, a specialist venture capital fund focused on food & agriculture, health & wellness. The fund has the New Zealand Government’s Venture Investment Fund as a cornerstone investor as well as the world’s largest food company, Nestlé, and New Zealand’s largest agribusiness, PGG Wrightson.

BioPacificVentures is part of New Zealand’s Direct Capital group which has completed more than 70 private equity and venture capital investments over 18 years; and it is a regular co-investor with Europe-based Inventages, the world’s largest investor in this space with over US$1.5 billion under management.

The first 20 years of Andrew’s career were in science and product development, including General Manager at AgResearch, New Zealand and Director of two research institutes in Australia. He has both Masters and PhD degrees in the life sciences.

Ray Thomson

Dr Ray Thomson BSc (Hons), PhD (Physics), Dip Acc, is a professional director based in Auckland. From 1979 to 1985, he worked as an investment analyst in sharebroking, firstly with Jarden & Co and then with O'Connor Grieve & Co. From 1985 to 1998, he worked as an executive director in charge of investments, initially with Omnicorp Investments and then with Strathmore Group.

He is currently the chairman of Manuka Health New Zealand, deputy chairman of Supreme Biotechnologies, and chairman of Rush Digital. He has recently stepped down as a director of the Crown Research Institute, Industrial Research Limited (IRL); as a director of listed Wellington Drive Technologies; and as Chairman of the NZ Angel Assn.

Dr Thomson has been involved in a large number of venture capital and angel investments over the past 20 years. He is currently Chair of the investment committee of Global from Day One Fund.

He was awarded the inaugural William Payne Active Angel Award in 2010. Ray has had extensive experience as a company director with an aggregate of over 30 years' experience as a director of listed companies and is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.

Helen Robinson

Helen Robinson has led many technology companies over the past 25 years, including as CEO of Microsoft, New Zealand, and as Vice President of APAC, Pivotal Corporation, a Canadian CRM software company. Most recently Helen was the Founding CEO of the TZ1 Registry which was acquired by London based Markit Group Ltd in 2009, where she continued to act as Global Managing Director, Environmental Markets until mid-2011. Since then in addition to independent directorships Helen has been assisting numerous NZ companies including Rex Bionics and a number of (mainly technology enabled) businesses from within her own organisation, Penguin Consulting Ltd.

Helen is the Chair, The Network for Learning Ltd (N4L), a new crown entity charged with improving educational outcomes by transforming schools to technology-based learning environments. She also acts as a Director for a variety of organisations including the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA), the NZ Business Excellence Foundation, and Mondiale Technologies Ltd, a company formed by Sir Ray Avery to develop disruptive, innovative medical solutions and ethical businesses to create a healthier world.

Sharon Hunter

Sharon has extensive entrepreneurial and business experience comprising: high growth companies, mergers & acquisitions, private equity partnerships, banking and finance in a leveraged environments, team and company culture development, marketing, communications & brand development and strategic social responsibility partnerships.

In December 2011, together with Tenby Powell, Sharon started the New Zealand SME Business Network. Their vision is to provide a voice for small business owners and their advisors by creating a Network of Influence with a view to generating consistency of approach to Government with strategic but practical Leadership Thinking aimed at creating a more positive business environment in which SME’s can grow.

As an experienced public speaker, Sharon has acted as a judge in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Awards and the Verve Cliquot Business Women of the Year.

Sharon is a Director of Hunter Powell Investment Partners, a private capital investment & SME/not-for-profit advisory firm. Hunter Powell Investment Partners’ experience in investment, mergers, acquisition and advisory spans NZ, Australia, SE Asia and the Middle East.

Sharon has a proven track record of success in strategic & operational business leadership and industry/sector consolidation & have successfully lead & grown iconic national brands such as Hirepool & PC Direct.