Space Entrepreneurship from the Edge of the World
- The NZ space economy and the state of the industry - NZ Space Agency Principal Adviser, Virginia Fenton
- The space startup and entrepreneur experience - LeoLabs CEO, Daniel Ceperley
- On investor and VC funding - WNT Ventures Investment Manager, Jon Sandbrook
- Government funding and grants - Callaghan Innovation Bus Innovation Advisor, Nick Brewer
Virginia Fenton is a Principal Policy Adviser at the New Zealand Space Agency, part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Virginia has previously held policy positions at the UK Treasury, the New Zealand Treasury and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has a Masters in international relations from Sciences-Po Paris and studied European languages at Otago University.
Dan earned a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley with a thesis on computer simulation of advanced optical systems. As Program Director at SRI International, he led a team of 20+ engineers and scientists and developed SRI’s commercial satellite tracking business.
Jon has a broad background as a founder, corporate strategist, business developer, consultant and executive focusing on building and growing companies, primarily in the agriculture, food, biotechnology, and technology sectors. Jon spent a number of years based in the US in roles in small business investment and specialist biotechnology consulting, as well as founding and developing an animal health vaccines and diagnostics start-up from inception to exit. Jon has previously held senior executive roles in public policy and corporate strategy.
In his role as Investment Manager at WNT Ventures, Jon leads new investment opportunity sourcing as well as working closely alongside founders and CEO’s of several of WNT’s existing portfolio companies.
Jon has a passion for encouraging systemic innovation, cutting edge start-ups with global reach, and founders with a vision to change the world, as well as social ventures with the potential to address some of the world’s biggest challenges.
Nick is a ‘Business Innovation Advisor for Callaghan Innovation. He specialises in the Aerospace and Marine Sectors, and also those that are Defence related.
He is a Professional Chartered Engineer with a Degree in Aeronautical Engineering and Design, and an additional Masters Degree in Business. Early career years were spend as an Aircraft Engineer in the Royal Navy (UK) before spending many years with Air New Zealand (Business development) and more recently with the University of Auckland as Director Operations (Engineering).
Christchurch City Council