Aera VC is a new kind of
venture fund.

Investing for Profit & Purpose

Aera VC backs entrepreneurs to be the best in the world and the best for the world.  We invest in ventures that are defined by both purpose and profit believing that these two elements are not only equally important, but propel each other forward.

We seek exponential financial returns and ambitious social impact. We avoid investment labels. Our view is that this is the next generation of business with a huge opportunity in front of both entrepreneurs and investors.

Our team has a presence in Hong Kong, Melbourne, Bangkok, Auckland and New York and is supported by progressive, socially conscious, investors.

We have both committed funds and a co-investment model. In addition to certainty of capital, we have the potential to provide material follow-on investment.

Our Approach

We are flexible and generally look to co-fund alongside other aligned investors.

We have high expectations and push to draw the best out of the company and its founders.

What We Look For

Stage: We invest across the spectrum from Seed to Pre-IPO.

Exceptional Founders:  We invest in outstanding people committed to building material businesses. We look for a relentless focus on being the best and challenging the status quo, while maintaining integrity, honesty and a purposeful mission. We expect founders to be open to different opinions while retaining absolute conviction in their business.

Diverse Teams:  We back diverse teams. In addition to the Founder(s), we also look to people in key business roles (if they exist), the governance or advisory board, and other funders who are backing the company.

Scalable Technology:  We invest in technology or technology-enabled businesses. The “engine” that drives the business must be scalable across its target market. The majority of revenue is likely to be derived in the developed world.

Traction: At the early stage, the business will generally be beyond an idea with early customers or users. Ideally, revenue is being generated with well-understood unit economics. At the later stage, traction is fundamental.

Authentic Impact:  The social impact of the business is able to be described with authenticity and simplicity. Ideally, it is embedded in the product or service that is being sold.

The Aera Terms

Aera VC seeks both ambitious financial returns and significant social impact.  To supplement our traditional financial investment we ask that the companies we back:

Embed Purpose

Measure Impact

Pay it Forward

We are not prescriptive as to the form this takes. It will run through the life blood of the business and be part of the company culture.

Our Team


Derek Handley

Founding Partner, New York

Prior to forming Aera, Derek was founding CEO of The B Team, where he worked with Sir Richard Branson to form a group of global leadership icons catalysing better ways of doing business for people and planet. Derek has helped found multiple companies in digital media and technology with successful exits (The Hyperfactory exit to Meredith Corporation; Snakk Media, NZX IPO ).

He is currently a member of the Air New Zealand Sustainability Advisory Panel (NZX:AIR), an Adjunct Professor at AUT, and a director of Sky Television (NZX: SKT). Prior to Aera VC his special purpose investment funds invested in the likes of Palantir, Facebook and Twitter as well as early stage technology businesses in Asia-Pacific. Derek focuses on North American and European deals alongside social impact evaluation and strategy.

Nick Winstone

Founding Partner, Auckland

Nick joined Aera in 2014 and established Aera VC's operations in 2016. He is an active investor with a background in investment banking, corporate finance and law in London and Auckland.

He was formerly a Director at Northington Partners and CIT, and lawyer at Buddle Findlay.

Nick currently serves on the Board of the Sustainable Business Network in New Zealand and is a Director at Amplify Capital.

Nick is the operational lead at Aera VC.

Keenan Kwok

Founding Partner, Hong Kong

Keenan is a Hong Kong and South East Asia based entrepreneur and active tech investor. He has significant expertise in manufacturing and technology and is currently scaling a digital e-fulfilment platform that helps brands sell into South East Asia.

Keenan focuses on Asian-based deals and on advising investee companies on strategy in the region using his extensive experience and network.

Venture Partners, Principals and Advisors

Anna Marie-Wascher

Venture Partner - New York

Anne-Marie is the CEO and Founding Partner of Flat World Partners, an impact investment advisory firm based in New York that builds customised impact portfolios seeking to maximise both financial and social returns.

She was formerly a Director at Cantor Fitzgerald assisting funds with business development, an Analyst at Accenture focusing on environmental and social impact analysis, and a Consultant to family offices sourcing and assessing venture opportunities.

Ronan Lehane

Advisor - Australia

An Irishman who calls Australia home, Ronan is the founder of Capital Collaboration, a corporate advisory business that builds value through long term relationships with its clients and partners.

Capital Collaboration has recently advised across across a diverse range of sectors, including global health, smart city infrastructure and education.

Previous roles include investment and advisory services at Quintessential Equity, PPB Advisory and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Ronan is also involved in a governance capacity in a number of not-for-profit organisations.

Rosie Bosworth

Venture Partner - Auckland/San Francisco

Rosie joined Aera VC in 2018 as a specialist in the future of food and agriculture to assist with pipeline and analysis of revolutionary food and agriculture businesses.

Based in New Zealand and San Francisco, Rosie is passionate about creating, driving and facilitating a sustainable, progressive and scalable global food system fit for a growing world. Rosie brings specific in-depth international insight and experience in alternative protein food systems as well as controlled environment (indoor) farming systems.

Rosie has a PhD in environmental innovation and sustainable technology development and a background in strategic communications and marketing across NZ, Australia and Silicon Valley. She is also a regular keynote speaker and advises businesses, industry and government on the various strategic pathways forward in the future of food and agriculture.

Janet Kim

Principal - Hong Kong/Korea

Janet joined Aera VC in 2018 to assist with our Asia coverage. Janet brings expertise in the consumer and retail industries, strategic partnerships, and business development.

Her most recent role was as Chief Marketing Officer in a successful e-commerce start-up in Korea and prior to that she had a career in the finance industry across M&A, capital markets and private equity at Credit Suisse and Barclays in Hong Kong.

Janet divides her time between Hong Kong and her native Korea.

Michelle Leibowitz

Principal - Los Angeles

Michelle joined Aera VC in 2016 to help with operations and administration. She has been instrumental with Aera VC’s back office and communications and her role will expand to assist with deal and investor administration during 2018.

Previously, Michelle spent 9 years in the Executive Office of Goldman Sachs. She helped manage the office of the Chairman & CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, and later transitioned into the firm's Brand & Content Strategy Group focused on telling the firm's story for the first time and managing the firm's recruitment and philanthropic marketing efforts.

She received her MBA from NYU and is a native New Yorker. Two years ago, Michelle relocated to Los Angeles and now enjoys the sunshine, the beach, and a more relaxed lifestyle.

Say Hello

Entrepreneurs: If you have a business that might fit our profile, or believe there is someone in your network we should talk to, please get in touch.

Advisors and Funds: Our door is always open to hear about investment and co-funding opportunities.

Investors: If you would like to learn more about the details of our model and the benefits of being involved in joining Aera VC, please get in touch.

The pursuit of a better world makes better investment opportunities possible.