2021 Awards Judges

Evaluation Panel

Bridget Coates

Bridget Coates - Founder & Chair, Kura Nutrition and White Cloud Dairy Innovation (Stage One Judge)

Bridget was instrumental in the establishment of ArcAngels, an angel investment network focused on investing in women entrepreneurs. She is also an active investor and mentor to New Zealand startup companies, especially in the food and consumer products space. Bridget has held several director-level board leadership positions in the past – NZ Superannuation Fund, Reserve Bank of NZ, Fisher and Paykel Appliances Holdings, Sky City, UniServices and the Council of the University of Auckland. Bridget has managed an investment company in New York, focused on investments in healthy living companies.

Prior to that, Bridget was the chief operating officer of New York City’s strategic innovation consulting firm, Fahrenheit 212. She was the inaugural chair of the ICEHOUSE, an incubator developed to create business opportunities between the University of Auckland and the wider business and government community. Bridget also held leadership roles in the Knowledge Wave Trust and in KEA, the global kiwi network, and is currently Chair of Koi Tu, the Centre for Informed Futures, at the University of Auckland.

Rob Heebink

Rob Heebink, R&D Executive, Gallagher (Stage One Judge)

Rob stepped into the R&D Executive role at Gallagher in 2008 after holding a variety of senior R&D management positions in New Zealand-based global technology companies. Rob is an experienced executive with extensive international experience in operations and R&D management. With his unique combination of Engineering and International Business Strategy qualifications and experience, Rob specialises in aligning R&D activities with business strategy and developing R&D as a strategic capability for sustainable growth and competitive advantage in international business.

Debra Hall

Debra Hall - Independent director, advisor and mentor (Stage One and Two Judge)

Debra draws on her experience as an engineer in the mining industry, a strategic marketing consultant, a business owner and exited entrepreneur to deliver clarity of thinking and strategic direction to the governance and advisory boards on which she sits. In addition to her board work, Debra mentors young entrepreneurs, trains aspiring directors of early stage companies, and invests in start-up businesses in the high growth / technology space, supporting the growth of NZ Inc. Debra is Chair of the KiwiNet Investment Committee.

Kiri Lenagh-Glue

Kiri Lenagh-Glue (Stage One and Two Judge)

Kiri has a science and humanities background, with experience in Computer Science and software engineering, and ancient history. She developed the outreach programme for women in STEM at the University of Otago, and has mentored a number of women in the Computer Science field.

Kiri has been involved with the national investment ecosystem through her work with the deep-tech venture capital fund, Matū. She is heavily engaged in the research commercialisation space in New Zealand as a founding member of the Otago Momentum Investment Committee, and a current sitting member on the Return on Science Digital Technologies Investment Committee.

Katherine Sandford

Katherine Sandford – Executive Chair, UBCO Utility Electric Vehicles (Stage Two Judge)

Katherine built her 20-year career as a technology executive at Trimble Inc. More recently she has supported early stage NZ technology companies and founders as an investor, mentor, leased executive and board advisor. She is currently Chair of electric vehicle company, UBCO. Katherine is a KiwiNet commercial mentor, an active angel investor and a limited partner in Matu Fund1.

Rod Snodgrass

Rod Snodgrass – Director, The Exponential Agency. Advisor & investor. (Stage Two Judge)

Rod has extensive experience in corporate strategy, business and product innovation, digital growth, transformation and disruption in the New Zealand communications, media and energy sectors. Most recently Rod was Chief Customer Officer of Vector and before that Chief Executive Officer of Spark Ventures. He was also a member of the Spark Executive team for almost 10 years. Rod is a Founder and Director of strategic advisory consultancy The Exponential Agency and holds multiple directorships. He has also been an AUT Creative tech mentor, an Icehouse Flux Accelerator mentor and also a CANZ Mentor. Rod is an active Angel Investor having invested in over 20 start-ups with a number of successful exits.