David Booth EIR Blackbird Aotearoa

David Booth joins Blackbird Aotearoa

Date Published:
March 25, 2024

We are stoked to announce that David Booth has joined Blackbird's investments team as an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR), based in our Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland office.

David will be making new investments and building new initiatives to supercharge New Zealand’s tech ecosystem. You can read more from him here.

David is a wild heart whose life's work is connecting tech founders with the community and capital they need to create magic from nothing.

As co-founder and CEO of On Deck, he has ridden the startup rollercoaster through serious highs, and serious lows, emerging with intense empathy for the founder journey, and a renewed passion to help others succeed.

But let me take you back to the beginning.

A landing ten years in the making

 I first met David at law school. When most of his peers were either paying attention at lectures (me) or burning couches on Castle Street (I would never), David spent his time founding companies like MeatMail, a direct-to-consumer subscription supplying Dunedin's student flats with affordable protein, and shutting down the city centre for large snowsports events.

When most of his peers swapped university for a foot on the corporate ladder, David zipped around the entirety of New Zealand's startup ecosystem as it then was: joining the inaugural Lightning Lab in 2013 as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence, interning at VC fund Movac, before joining Sparkbox/GD1 as an associate where he helped raise their second fund.

But, looking around at the state of New Zealand's tech ecosystem in 2014, there was still precious little in the way of available capital or ambitious founders (with a couple of notable exceptions).

So, like any ambitious Kiwi in their 20s, David soon set sail overseas, to San Francisco, where he joined AngelList as an early operations hire. This experience forged a passion for creating connections between the wild hearts that found startups, and the capital, talent, and distribution they need to scale. Wanting to build the infrastructure to support that innovation, he next joined Carta to lead international product and open a London office in 2017, then re-joined AngelList-spinout “CoinList” in 2018 as first hire, building the first regulated platform for cryptocurrency investing.

At the same time, David was hosting monthly dinners, bringing together people who were on the brink of quitting their jobs and about to go fulltime on their own ideas. These dinners were magic. They were sparks which ignited On Deck: a community and platform that, six years’ later, has gone on to create and empower a thousands-strong network of the world's most ambitious startup founders, making >250 seed investments to date, raising ~$100M from the likes of Founders Fund and Tiger Global, and, at its peak employing 350 people.

In late 2023, after moving to the Chairman role at On Deck and welcoming his second child, David and his family decided to put down permanent roots back home, in Aotearoa. For David, this next chapter is about reacquainting himself with the Kiwi startup scene - which has changed a lot since 2013 - and applying his experiences, mojo and passion to accelerate the growing momentum we feel here.

Through David's journey run two threads that resonate deeply with Blackbird: a belief that founders need community before advice; and that supporting founders over a long time horizon requires institution-building through communities, brands, and products. Like us, David is someone who thinks in decades, not days about what New Zealand needs to fulfill its potential as a tech nation.

We are beyond delighted to have him join the Blackbird team where he will build community for, and lead investments in, the next generation of wild-hearted Kiwi founders, right at the very beginning of their journeys.