Derek Handley
Founder, Partner

Derek Handley is a futurist, entrepreneur and an aspiring civilian astronaut signed up to visit space with Virgin Galactic. Derek created the Aera Foundation in 2014 as a charitable studio catalysing social innovations to reframe the status quo for a sustainable future.

Prior to establishing Aera, Derek alongside Sir Richard Branson, was the Founding CEO of The B Team, a non-profit alliance of global business leaders acting as a catalyst for bold dialogue, courageous leadership and brave action toward a fairer, greener and more human economy.

Prior to The B Team, Derek spent 10 years founding and growing early mobile-phone tech company The Hyperfactory, which he built to be a global success and later exited to Meredith Corporation/Time Inc. He was named in the Silicon Alley 100 Most Influential Tech People in NYC, and awarded the New Zealand EY Entrepreneur of the Year for this. He helped found over a dozen start-ups while based in New York, including the venture-studio Human Ventures.

Returning to New Zealand with his wife and family, Derek founded Wiser Conversations, an online conversation and podcast series helping people ask better questions to develop self-knowledge and purpose in their lives. Wiser programs run at AUT University in Auckland where he is an Adjunct Professor; through workshops for family offices and elite athletes around the world.

Derek is currently studying towards a Masters in Religion at Harvard. Previously he studied at MIT, Singularity University and Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

Derek was appointed the Social Innovator in Residence at Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania from 2016-2017. He sits on the board of Sky Television and was a formative member of the Air New Zealand Sustainability Advisory Panel.



Here are a selection of writing and media activity:


Published Writing:
Heavy industry must be decarbonised to reach emission goals, NZ Herald (premium), 2021
Heavy industry must be decarbonised to reach emission goals, Business Times, 2021
Why the alternative meat ecosystem is booming, The Australian, 2021
A VC explains why he backed the new alt-meat startup by Shoes of Prey founder Michael Fox, Startup Daily, 2021

How space tourism can help conquer climate change, NZ Herald (premium), 2021


Selected Media:
Branson’s space flight: The six Kiwis who are now close to a Virgin Galactic ride, NZ Herald, 2021
Derek Handley-backed outfit raises money to take on Rocket Lab, NZ Herald, 2018
Derek Handley has big dreams for a small planet, INTHEBLACK, 2014
Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz Reveal The B Team Leaders, PR Newswire, 2013