The ACG Senior College alumna, 19, has joined forces with former ACG Strathallan student Jack McQuire, 21, in a team that leads the largest student-run angel investment firm in the Southern Hemisphere.
Started in 2015 to provide mentoring and due diligence for start-up investments, First Cut Ventures has since developed into a fully-fledged angel fund with investment funds of more than $500k.
Based out of Auckland business growth hub, The Icehouse, it is the only angel fund in the world entirely student-run and focused on young founders under the age of 30.
Why the focus on young entrepreneurs?
“We believe they create more unique, ‘step change’ innovations that have a larger macro impact over a long-term,” Jack explained. “They have more time to become successful and are likely to reinvest in the next generation of entrepreneurs. And, commercially, they’re more ‘lean’ and efficient, improving the long-term returns for investors.”
Both young partners say their passion for business strategy and the Kiwi start-up scene started at their respective ACG schools.
“School exposed me to the world of business and allowed me to connect with an incredible group of companies and mentors,” says Hannah, who came to ACG Senior College in her final year in search of a greater challenge and more responsibility and independence.
“I was captivated by the ambition and insatiable desire to learn, develop and grow that characterises NZ start-ups, and developed a strong belief that fostering entrepreneurship is what will help solve some of the world’s most pressing issues.”
As for Jack, he says the challenge his ACG Strathallan teachers laid down for him to develop his thinking skills and always strive for his best was instrumental in his decision to volunteer at The Icehouse in his first year at University.
New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) Investment Director Bridget Unsworth said the initiative was another sign of the development of angel investing in New Zealand. “It’s an exciting time with a lot of investment activity. Alongside the more traditional angel, it is great to see young innovative people passionate about investment and how to grow new start-ups. We’ll watch First Cut Ventures with great interest.”
While the duo are hesitant to make predictions about the future in this rapidly changing world, they’re clear about one thing.
“What I do know is that I want to maximise my impact on the world, and for now – that means learning and experiencing as much as I possibly can,” Hannah says. “I always ask myself – why am I doing this? Is it fun? Am I learning? Because at the end of the day- if you’re not doing what you love, what’s the point?”
Hannah is currently completing Commerce and Arts degrees at the University of Auckland with a quadruple major in Economics, Finance, History and Politics and International Relations.
Jack graduated his Bachelor of Commerce at University of Auckland last year with a double-major specialising in Finance and Innovation and Entrepreneurship.