10 Famous Young Entrepreneurs in New Zealand

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 In pursuit of our goal to maintain an up-to-date list of young entrepreneurs, our list of country-wise young entrepreneurs is constantly growing. 

Starting from Australia, we have come all the way back to New Zealand, after covering entrepreneurs from Singapore, India, and Canada.

Here is the link to the treasure trove of successful entrepreneurs in case you are up for a bout of entrepreneurial inspiration.

But before you take off to have a look at them, let me quickly present to you the list of bright young Kiwi entrepreneurs who are at the top of their games.

I’ll start by giving you an overview of the New Zealand Startup System.

Overview of the New Zealand Startup Ecosystem

Like the rest of the world, New Zealand’s startup ecosystem is setting new records of growth.

The spike is being seen in a record number of deals and the amount of capital being invested in the country’s startup ecosystem.

A year-on-year basis comparison shows an increase of a whopping 60% in the number of deals recorded and an even higher rate of increase (80%) in the amount invested in 2021.

Adding the investment by New Zealand-based venture capital (VC) the total investment amount was nearly NZD $260 million. (Source: PwC)

The sectors topping the list in getting entrepreneurial attention include software and deep tech industries. 

These two sectors alone attracted 42% of the total funding in the startup ecosystem and got some of the largest famous NZ companies coming in this sector.

Simultaneously, New Zealanders are making strong strides in social entrepreneurship and making their mark in healthcare, especially in the mental health, sector by developing non-profit social enterprises, as we’ll see in our list below.

15 Famous Young Entrepreneurs in New Zealand

Kaushik Kumar

Kaushik Kumar - Entrepreneurs in New Zealand

Company Name: Dark Matter

Company Position: Managing Partner

Birth Year: 1994

Year founded: 2019

Sector: B2B Media Productions

Featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list of 2022, Kaushik Kumar is a rising young kiwi talent and successful entrepreneur. (Source: Forbes)

Born in Fiji in 1994, Kaushik founded his own company – The Dark Matter, the idea of which came to him after some of his freelance stints.

His entrepreneurial journey began at the tender age of 16 when he started selling imported iPhone cases online. (Source: Kaushik’s Personal Website)

He is quickly turning into a serial entrepreneur.

He started by founding Dark Matter in 2019 and is also working on Dark Spaces and Dark Ventures to grow his brand.

Kaushik also has a youtube channel and a podcast.

Dark Matter is a video production company that rents its fully equipped video studios to businesses for their own video creations.

It also serves as a video content consultancy firm to help businesses grow through video content marketing.

Jordan Thoms

Jordan Thoms - Entrepreneurs in New Zealand

Company Name: Kami

Company Position: Co-founder & CTO

Year founded: 2013

Company Estimated Wealth: NZD $1.5 million

Sector: Ed-tech

Jordan Thomas has a long list of achievements to his credit.
The young gun has achieved the following awards in succession: (Source: LinkedIn)

  • New Zealander of the Year Innovator of the Year Award – Semi-Finalist 2021
  • AmCham Success and Resilience Awardee 2020
  • AmCham Exporter of the Year to the US 2017
  • NZ Innovation Awards 2015 and 2017

Thoms developed a note-taking app in his university days with the help of his three classmates.

Developed in 2013, the Kami app has taken over the New Zealand ed-tech space by storm. It has transformed into a collaborative learning tool and claims to have 32 million students benefiting from its platform. (Source: Forbes)

Thoms has also been featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list for 2022.

Sakshi Niranjan

Sakshi Niranjan - Entrepreneurs in New Zealand

Company Name: NexDo

Company Position: Founder & CEO

Birth Year: 1992

Year founded: 2020

Company Estimated Wealth: NZD $2 million

Sector: e-Services

Born and raised in Chennai, India, Sakshi Nirajan is an aspiring young entrepreneur who has founded a tech startup and secured NZD $2 million in funding. (Source: Global Indain)

His app, NexDo, connects customers with skilled professionals for home services including home cleaning, pet sitting, beauty services, and the like.

It has been dubbed Uber for home services.

Niranjan started his entrepreneurial journey during his days in Zomato (India’s largest food delivery service) in 2015.

He later also worked at another Indian unicorn Ola as a critical member in the startup’s launch in New Zealand before finally launching his own small business out of his garage – the most magical of all places isn’t it? 😉

Lauren Fong

Lauren Fong - Entrepreneurs in New Zealand

Company Name: Icehouse Ventures

Role: Fund Manager at Archangels, Icehouse Ventures; Professional DJ

Sector: Venture Capital, Media

Full of wide-ranging talents, Lauran Fong is a young electronic DJ and producer turned venture fund manager.

In her bid to make other women of her country also succeed like her, Lauren Fong manages funds for Icehouse Ventures. Their project Archangels funds women entrepreneurs in New Zealand.

Laurna Fong is the principal fund manager of the Archangels fund. She has already helped raise millions of dollars for women-led small businesses. (Source: LinkedIn)

Her current mission aims at securing up to NZD $20 million to invest in 50 companies over four years. (Source: Forbes)

She has also been featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list for 2022.

Genevieve Mora and Jazz Thornton

Genevieve Mora and Jazz Thornton - Entrepreneurs in New Zealand

Company Name: Voices of Hope

Company Position: Co-founders & General Manager (Mora)

Year of Birth: 1994 (Mora) & 1993 (Thornton)

Year founded: 2014

Company Estimated Wealth: Non-profit

Sector: Healthcare

Genevieve Mora and Jazz Thornton founded Voices of Hope in 2014 taking lead from their traumatic experience of mental health issues.

Both the ladies turned their mental health challenges into an opportunity by developing Voices of Hope to help others fight their mental health issues.

It is a lived-experience storytelling platform that shared real, raw, and vulnerable content for the benefit of others. (Source: thevoicesofhope)
Both of them also engage with the public through their speaking engagements at schools and corporations.

Both have won national and international recognition for their work in mental health awareness and have received awards for their work.

Emily Au-Young

Emily Au-Young - Entrepreneurs in New Zealand

Company Name: Reemi

Company Position: Co-founder & Executive Director

Birth Year: 1993

Year founded: 2018

Company Estimated Wealth: Non-profit (Secured funding of NZD $49,000 on Kickstarter)

Sector: Social Enterprise

A woman serial entrepreneur, Emily Au-Young had started twoWORLDS Clothing and worked in the 5th fastest-growing startup in NZ before founding her social enterprise, Reemi.

Emily works on social issues at a global scale and has recently been working in international development in Hong Kong for the past four years. (Source: Reemi)

Reemi is a New Zealand-based social enterprise which produces reusable period products made with natural fibre – 100% cotton fused with copper oxide. (Source: Fashionz)

The project was initially funded by Kickstarter but later received funding from British human rights group Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund.

Her project now also collaborates with the University of Munich for research in menstrual health. (Source: Reemi)

She has been featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list for 2022. (Source: Forbes)

Craig Piggott

Craig Piggott - Entrepreneurs in New Zealand

Company Name: Halter

Company Position: Founder & CEO

Year of Birth: 1995

Year founded: 2016

Company Estimated Wealth: NZD $60 million

Sector: Agri-Tech

Raised on a dairy farm, Craig Piggott ended up inventing digital technology which can help monitor and even steer cows remotely.

Piggott received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Auckland.

After his bachelor’s, he founded Halter to develop digital collars for cows. (Source: Halter)

Through the use of noise and vibration, the solar-powered collars allow farmers to direct and monitor their cows without anyone shepherding them.

The collar is GPS-enabled. (Source: Stuff)

Since being raised in 2016, Halter has secured a total of NZD $60 million dollars and is planning to expand throughout New Zealand and Australia.

Piggott has also earned a place in Forbes 30 Under 30 list for the year 2021. (Source: Forbes)

Luke Burrows

Luke Burrows - Entrepreneurs in New Zealand

Company Name: Wise Boys Burgers

Company Position: Co-founder & CEO

Year of Birth: 1990

Year founded: 2016

Company Estimated Wealth: Unknown

Sector: Food

Luke Burrows, a lawyer turned entrepreneur, was born and raised in Auckland.

Together with his elder brother, he went on to crowdfund $15,000 through PledgeMe to raise a burger joint.

Wise Boys Burgers is a plant-based vegan burger truck that was built from scrap items to start the business. (Source: NZ Herald)

Wise Boys serves 100% plant-based and homemade burger patties which are sold in fully-compostable packaging.

Luke Burrow has also been featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list for 2020. (Source: Forbes)

Alexia Hilbertidou

Alexia Hilbertidou - Entrepreneurs in New Zealand

Company Name: GirlBoss

Company Position: Founder & CEO

Year of Birth: 1999

Year founded: 2015

Company Estimated Wealth: NZD $15 million

Sector: Social Enterprise

Alexia Hilbertidour is a social entrepreneur and founder of GirlBoss New Zealand.

At 23 years old, she created a mark in the world which is truly an astounding feat.

She aims to empower women in a myriad of fields currently dominated by men.

She focuses on STEM to help women achieve leadership positions.

GirlBoss has turned into 13,000 strong becoming the largest network of women influencers and entrepreneurs in New Zealand. (Source: Wikipedia)

Alexia Britteny Bryan & Nicholas Harlow

Alexia Britteny Bryan & Nicholas Harlow - Entrepreneurs in New Zealand

Company Name: Berkano Foods

Company Position: Co-Founders

Year of Birth: 2

Year founded: 2017

Company Estimated Wealth: NZD $5 million

Sector: Food

Another pair of entrepreneurs who have achieved remarkable success in the food industry are the founders of Berkano Foods.
Britteny Bryan and Nicholas Harlow founded Berkano Food in 2017 to produce plant-based frozen and ready-to-eat meals. (Source: Vegconomist)

The brand serves food in supermarkets and online.

In 2019, they won the Champion Producer/Manufacturer for Small Enterprise Award at Westpac Champion Business Awards.

The couple has also earned a place in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list for 2020. (Source: Forbes)

This concludes the list of inspiring youth of New Zealand updated in 2022.

Hope you managed to steal some inspiration from this successful pack.

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