Photo of the Blackbird team.

Blackbird is hiring an Operating Partner

Date Published:
September 7, 2020

Blackbird is hiring an Operating Partner to help our most ambitious late-stage companies reach their beautiful potential.

“No road is long with good company.” — Turkish Proverb

Blackbird is hiring an Operating Partner to help our most ambitious late-stage companies reach their beautiful potential.

This role has now closed.

About the Role

This is a Partner role and you will become the sixth partner at Blackbird.

The mission of Blackbird is to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars right at the beginning of a founder’s journey, build a great relationship with them and then invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the companies that turn out to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

The unit of success for the Blackbird Operating Partner role is great relationships.

Reflecting back on our relationships with portfolio companies there are four levels of relationships that we have (from worst to best):

Level 1. The lead partner has a good relationship with the founders.

Level 2. The lead partner has a good relationship with the founders and 2-5 senior members of the management team of the portfolio company.

Level 3. There are multiple partners and team members within Blackbird who have great relationships with multiple management team members

Level 4.  As above but with the addition of magical relationships between the founders with other founders within the portfolio.

Your goal is to strive to ensure all of Blackbird’s relationships reach Level 4. That will happen in two ways - one highly personal and one highly scalable.

1. The next generation

Blackbird was founded in 2012, and many of our early investments have now grown to become meaningful companies, with hundreds of employees, and tens of millions of dollars of revenue.

For a handful of these successful companies, you will become the custodian of Blackbird’s relationship with them. You will serve on the board of directors and help shepherd them into the public markets over the coming decade. You will pioneer what it means to be the best kind of owner of a business.

With each company, you will build great relationships with the senior management team. You will support them as they solve their most pressing strategic issues and muster Blackbird’s community and team to help solve them.

Each relationship will have an action plan and a set of OKRs to ensure they reach the highest level.

2. Products and community

As well as bringing a highly personal touch to a handful of relationships, you will pioneer the formation of Blackbird’s efforts to upgrade the operational efficiency of every company in the portfolio, no matter what their stage.

As we grow the team at Blackbird, our opportunity is to think in a product mindset rather than a service one. Community, as we have found in all of our efforts both in Blackbird and Startmate, is the scalable way to make a profound impact far beyond a single person or team. You will pioneer programs and products to pass on your and our collective operational knowledge to every company in the Blackbird portfolio.

You will enlist a network of advisors, mentors, coaches, and operators to provide programming to cohorts of Blackbird portfolio founders.  

In doing so, you will work with Blackbird’s community team to pair founders together based on their portfolio stage and challenge areas, and to accelerate their development in a peer-to-peer context.

Your programming will vary from tailored seed-stage modules to executive coaching and leadership content via AMAs, Office Hours, and interactive/situational workshops.

Your legacy will be referenced in the decades to come in articles about the success of Australia and New Zealand’s startup ecosystems.

Investment team

The Operating Partner will not be expected to source and lead new investments, but you will be deeply involved in the decision making process of follow on investments, particularly for those companies where you are the primary relationship. And while not a strict investing role, you will build a strong grounding in all aspects of Blackbird’s investing process.

Position Requirements

Your background is less important than the key skills, which might include:

  • Startup experience. You will have a huge passion for startups and fast growing teams. You will have been part of the journey of a successful startup.
  • Operational leadership. You have honed a strong set of principles to deal with a variety of organisational issues, spanning HR, operations, culture, finance, sales and marketing.
  • Ability to contextualise. You should be able to understand the general and specific context of your own experience, and be able to compare and contrast this with the context of the portfolio company.  
  • Coach not player mindset. You will understand the difference between knowing what to do, and knowing how to teach someone else to know what to do.  
  • Community. You will bring a village of vetted recommendations on service providers and people for all business problems.  
  • Hospitality mindset. We have a sense of ‘Enlightened Hospitality, which simply means that our whole team has a focus on helping each other and collectively has an obsession for customer service to our founders and investors. You will too.

We’re looking for someone who is as obsessed as we are about building an iconic investment firm. You must have a high ownership mentality, deep comfort with autonomy, confidence in your thought process, and willingness to adapt it to new information, a hunger for finding the truth, and a desire to help founders bring their better version of the future into the present.

You do not specifically need to have worked at a venture capital firm, but you do need to have a passion for and experience with investing into startups. We love it when people have bootstrapped themselves into a skill as much as gaining the skill from working at an established organisation.

Working at Blackbird

We believe that building a diverse and inclusive team is critical to Blackbird’s success. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, or marital, veteran, or disability status. We use Applied to ensure every applicant gets an equal chance of success.

Our June 2020 half-year Culture Amp engagement score is 95.

We offer:

  • Flexible working: Whether it’s working from home or leaving early to pick up the kids from daycare or school.
  • Generous parental leave: We know family comes first and we are proud to offer generous parental leave — 16 weeks for primary carer and 6 weeks for a secondary carer, subject to a 12 month minimum tenure. This includes a continuation of super payments while on unpaid parental leave and a supportive return-to-work policy.  
  • Learning & Development: Our team is hungry to continuously learn and you’ll receive a budget to spend on whatever you’d like to learn — from coding courses to meditation.  
  • Unplugged weekends: We work hard without letting work get in the way of life. We’ve implemented no Slack or emails on weekends, so you can switch off.  
  • Sharing in Blackbird’s success: We think it is important to share successes with the whole team. All Blackbird employees receive carry or in our funds and are owners in the management company.  

Blackbird is a Pledge 1% member — we pledge 1% of our time, equity and profits to help not-for-profit causes in our community, with a focus on greater gender diversity in STEM education.

About Blackbird

Blackbird is a venture capital firm whose mission is to supercharge Australia and New Zealand’s most ambitious founders. We do this by raising venture capital funds, investing into the best startup companies and helping them succeed. We have more than a billion dollars under management and a portfolio of 68 companies including some of the most successful Australian startups such as Canva, Zoox, SafetyCulture and Culture Amp.

Like the companies we back, we want to build a business that lasts for decades and produces excellent returns for our investors.

We’ve written a lot about what we love at Blackbird, so check out our blog if you want some more information about us. In particular, you should read about our mission and values, our master plan, and what we look for in founders.

Good Luck!