Outset Ventures is the Home of Deep Technology.

We are an early-stage investment fund and a physical space for technology incubation. We’re all about backing contrarians and garage tinkerers from the outset.

100+ years combined experience in deep tech, from start-up to commercialisation and exits.

100+ years combined experience in deep tech, from start-up to commercialisation and exits.

Investment Team

Angus Blair

Partner. Led Fund I investment activities. Extensive experience in product development and building high-performance teams

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Partner – Outset Ventures

Angus has originated and led dozens of investments into early stage deep tech ventures on behalf of Outset Fund I and co-leads the investment team for Outset Fund II. Prior to joining Outset, he was a founder and product leader working extensively in design, sports-tech and artificial intelligence; including collaborations with Intel, Oakley, and New Balance. He was also a coach for New Zealand Powerlifting and has himself competed internationally including medalling at the Commonwealth Champs in 2015. Angus has lived in France, China, and New Zealand. Angus is a chartered member of the Institute of Directors and sits on the board of OpenStar, Red Phase Technologies, and Wellumio.

Jess Gilbert

Venture Partner. Experienced private markets investor, ex-Portfolio Manager for the direct investments team at NZ Super Fund

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Partner – Outset Ventures

Jess co-leads the investment team for Outset Fund II, being responsible for all aspects of investment origination, due diligence, and portfolio management activities. Jess joined the Outset team in 2024 having had more than a decade of private market investment and corporate finance advisory experience. In her prior role as a Portfolio Manager for NZ Super Fund, Jess cumulatively lead more than $1.5bn in successful transactions on both the buyside and sellside, spanning forestry, infrastructure, and technology in North and South America, and Australia.

Dr Will Barker

Outset Ventures Co-Founder, Advisor and IC Chair. Founder and CEO of Mint Innovation

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Founder, CEO – Mint Innovation Board Member – KiwiNet

Will is the founder and CEO of Mint Innovation and is passionate about commercialising new technologies through securing IP, capital-raising and building high performance teams. Originally an organic chemist (PhD from Leicester University in the UK), Will has broad experience spanning the deep tech ecosystem from founder to investor, from patent attorney to commercial ops. Over the last two decades, Will has had the pleasure of working with some of New Zealand’s most innovative deep tech and ‘good for the world’ cleantech companies. Will’s current focus at Mint is the delivery of innovative local metal recovery solutions for a global low carbon circular economy.

Dr Sean Simpson

Outset Ventures Investment Committee member and Advisor. Co-founder and former CSO of LanzaTech. Co-founder of Ternery

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Founder, CSO – LanzaTech. Director – Avertana, Dotterel Technologies

Sean co-founded LanzaTech in 2005 in New Zealand. LanzaTech is an innovative Carbon Capture and Transformation company that transforms waste carbon into materials such as sustainable fuels, fabrics, packaging, and chemicals, and is now listed on the Nasdaq. Most recently Sean co-founded Ternary Energy, a company transforming electrification of the heavy transport sector through a sustainable liquid energy source that can be stored, pumped, and shipped. Sean sits on the board of the start-up companies Avertana and Dotterel. Sean has published over 20 journal articles and 200 patents. His awards include the 2015 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Presidential Green Chemistry Award, 2014 New Zealand Innovator of the Year Award, and the 2013 Kea NZ World Class New Zealander in Science.

Sir Peter Beck

Outset Ventures Investment Committee member and Advisor.
Founder and CEO of Rocket Lab

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Founder, CEO, CTO – Rocket Lab, Director – Ternary Energy

Peter is the founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, a global organisation that develops and launches advanced rockets, satellites, and spacecraft. Founded in New Zealand in 2006, Rocket Lab has delivered 100+ satellites to space and designs and manufactures the Electron and Neutron launch vehicles and Photon satellite platform. In August 2021, Rocket Lab publicly listed on the Nasdaq with a valuation of $4.1bn. An award-winning engineer, Peter was appointed as an adjunct professor in aerospace engineering by the University of Auckland in recognition of his outstanding contributions to aerospace, entrepreneurship and technical innovation. In 2024, Peter was appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of his services to the aerospace industry, business, and education​.

Mat Rowe

Outset Ventures Co-Founder and Executive Director. Co-founder of Mint Innovation and Dotterel. Founding employee of LanzaTech

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Co-founder and Managing Director

With formal training in Chemical and Materials Engineering and Biotechnology, Mat has led several of New Zealand’s most innovative deep technology companies. He was a founding team member of the international biofuels leader LanzaTech and later founded Dotterel Technologies, which develops noise reduction and audio technologies for unmanned aerial vehicles. Mat also co-founded Mint Innovation, focusing on recovering gold and other metals from electronic waste using biometallurgy, and served as the R&D operations manager for BioConsortia, leading field trials of novel microbial seed treatments. With over 23 years of experience in the bioscience and engineering industry, Mat’s mission is to empower deep-tech founders to succeed at the critical early stages and scale globally. Additionally, Mat is a Board Observer at Aerospace Auckland, supporting the advancement of the aerospace sector in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

Operations Team

Michael Bignell

Partner providing deal execution and support to portfolio companies. Extensive deep tech start-up experience

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Operations Partner

Mike has been has been a supporter of our work at Outset Ventures since our early days as ”LevelTwo’. Prior to joining the Outset team, Mike led PwC New Zealand’s Emerging and Fast Growth companies business and brings a wealth of commercial knowledge to the investment team and our portfolio companies. His management and governance experience and relationships, bring a strong commercial perspective to the broad range of issues faced by early stage and growth orientated businesses.

Sonya Popoff

Facilities and Laboratory Manager

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Facilities & Laboratory Manager

Sonya Popoff joins Outset Ventures with many years of experience managing scientists and laboratories. Sonya utilizes her early career experience as a scientist in biotechnology as a resource to help foster young scientists and companies.

Her first-hand experience in research and development enables her to appreciate the challenges of developing new technology. Sonya is a vital part of making Outset a vibrant hub for enabling deep technology ventures to thrive and grow in New Zealand.

Our values


A little bit nerdy
We love getting into the technical details of what you’re building.

Humble doers
We’re “roll your sleeves up” quiet achievers who are focused on enabling companies to get shit done. We activate and engage our strong networks to deliver.

Risk takers
We’re attracted to the unknown, we’re unafraid of thinking and supporting big. We move fast, refuse to accept the status quo, and boundary pushing is above all else.

Generous nurturers
We’re passionate defenders and champions of the deep tech ecosystem. We take a leadership role in nurturing people and providing advocacy for the interests of our community.

Trustworthy independents
We’re founders ourselves, and value founder ownership and independence very highly. Transparency, integrity and honesty are our keywords.