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14 July 2023

From Ron Park to Associate Professor Sacha McMeeking, learn about the entrepreneurs UC is showcasing to celebrate our 150th anniversary!

Guy Horrocks

LLB, BCom 2007 

Guy Horrocks career in tech started at UC when he won the 2006 Entre Entrepreneurial Award for his first start up, a company which used software to analyse blood splatter at crime scenes. Guy established the world’s first iPhone app company Polar Bear Farm in 2007 before moving to New York with his mobile agency Carnival Labs. Guy’s impressive CV includes clients like DreamWorks, Coca-Cola, CNN and Sephora, and his skills and expertise in growing digital businesses have led to his appointment as independent director at NZME and New Zealand Mint. Known for his ‘Flat White Meetups’ hosting Kiwi entrepreneurs in New York, Guy is back in New Zealand with his most recent startup, Solve, tackling customer data management.

Ron Park
Ron Park

BCom 2018 

Ron Park has always valued health and wellbeing. Channelling that passion, he founded NE Tech & Kōrure - companies at the intersection of food innovation, natural health and extraction technology. Motivated to create a sustainable New Zealand supplement company that genuinely sourced and made products in New Zealand, the success of Ron’s vision led to Kōrure winning the Business Innovation category at the 2022 NZ Food Awards. Ron credits the UC Entrepreneurship (UCE) Centre for acting as a catalyst to boost his entrepreneurial spirit and founded the UC Global Society club while at UC – bridging the gap between domestic and international students.

Marcia Butterfield
Marcia Butterfield

BA 2004 

In the aftermath of the September 2010 earthquakes, Marcia Butterfield noticed some negative perceptions surrounding Christchurch. Wanting to show people that there was still much to see and do in the area, she was inspired to create Neat Places. Originally a hobby blog profiling different businesses, Marcia's idea behind her blog was to unearth hidden gems in Christchurch. Now a guide for many cities, towns and regions, Neat Places has grown into an online and printed celebration of all that New Zealand has to offer. In addition to Neat Places, Marcia has also founded two additional businesses: Coo Coo in 2012 and Content NZ in 2017.

James Powell

BE (Hons) 2008

Getting a taste for aircraft design during his final year project, James Powell began his career in aeronautical consultancy before leading the design, certification, and manufacturing team at aviation provider, Airwork. Never one to dream small, James, his brother Stefan and three others co-founded Dawn Aerospace, a space transportation company commercialising green satellite propulsion systems and developing rapidly reusable launch capability. Grown to a 100+ member team in 5 years, with locations in New Zealand, The Netherlands, and New York, the mission for Dawn is to enable substantially more scalable and sustainable space transportation. 

Max Ferguson
Max Ferguson

BE (Hons) 2014 

Max Ferguson is on a mission to make education and software accessible to everyone. While still studying at UC and working on the city’s post-earthquake rebuild, Max saw the need to easily digitise documents. This inspired the first iteration of Lumin – a tool for live document collaboration. After relocating to Silicon Valley, while completing his PhD at Stanford University, Max continued to develop his software and was soon met with thousands of downloads. Enticed back by the lifestyle and opportunity to expand the tech market here, he returned to Christchurch and grew his Lumin team to accommodate their user base of over sixty million.

Justine Ross
Justine Ross

DipT 1989

Justine Ross has always had “a real hunger to create things that are different and unique, that build a genuine sense of pride in our country.” Co-founder of 42 Below Vodka with husband Geoff Ross, Chairman of Ecoya and CEO of Moa Beer, Justine’s diverse career has been fuelled by an innate sense of ambition. Writing her second book while managing a sheep and beef station with her family in Central Otago, she is also the author of best-seller ‘Every Bastard Says No’ - the story of how 42 Below Vodka went from being brewed in a garage to an internationally renowned high-end spirit. Justine also sits on the board of United Nations Women Aotearoa.

Tim Williams

BSc (Hons) 1993

Starting his career as a molecular geneticist in Auckland, Tim Williams pivoted and made his fortune pioneering internet marketing in Japan in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. Tim and his business partner, Jonny Hendriksen, were the first foreigners to IPO a company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Now based in Auckland as Chairman of Icehouse Ventures, Tim has widely invested in start-ups and established companies, particularly in construction and waste repurposing technology. Tim wants to see a future where entrepreneurship is an option for all and often lends his skills and experience to Takapuna Grammar School where both he and his children attended.

Sacha McMeeking
Associate Professor Sacha McMeeking

Kāi Tahu
BA, LLB 2003, LLM (Hons) 2007 

Wanting to make a difference and work in human rights advocacy, Sacha McMeeking studied law at UC. Years later, Sacha now brings a ‘serial entrepreneur’s' approach to working with and for Iwi Māori. From co-founding Tū Māia, an entity specialising in Māori leadership and innovation to instigating United Nations human rights proceedings, Sacha is a champion for the next generation of Māori scholars and business owners. An activist and advocate, she is currently the Associate Professor Māori Wellbeing and Education with the Child Wellbeing Research Institute, having served as a Head of School and senior manager at UC. Sacha also won the inaugural Fulbright Harkness Fellowship in 2010.

Ronnie Peters
Ronnie Peters

BFA 1987 

Less than 1,000 websites existed when Ronnie Peters started designing websites in 1993. He worked on the design of the first websites for blind people, then moved to New York to became Creative Director for Time Inc’s extensive digital network. Founder and CEO of 360 Design, Ronnie now leads the design of projects for startups and brands such as Disney, AppleTV, and Amazon. He created the world’s first virtual movie theatre, designs metaverse projects, the hyperloop, a mach 5 aircraft brand and is developing platforms for genome sequencing projects among others. One of the Directors of the UC Foundation in America, Ronnie currently resides in New York.

Levi Fawcett

BE (Hons) 2017

A lifelong entrepreneur, former RocketLab engineer Levi Fawcett launched a total of four businesses during his time at university, each more successful than the last. On a mission to build the first global platform for replacement auto parts, he Co-founded his latest venture Partly, a software business that connects sellers in the automotive industry with a vehicle database. Currently New Zealand’s fastest-growing start-up, has expanded into Europe and Australasia and Levi hopes the company will be able utilise bleeding-edge technology to solve challenging but exciting problems that make a huge impact in a $1.9 trillion automotive industry.

Zak Holdsworth

BE (Hons) 2004  

Zak Holdsworth is a health tech entrepreneur who co-founded Hint Health, the leading tech company focused on the growth and success of the direct primary care movement, a provider-led movement that is helping transform the US healthcare system. Prior to this Zak was a Vice President at WellnessFX and worked briefly as a VC at Voyager Capital in Silicon Valley, and prior to that was a tech consultant in the UK and a software and automation engineer in Gisborne. Zak completed his MBA at Stanford University and lives with his wife, two girls, and three dogs in San Francisco and loves adventure sports, gardening, and being a handyman around the home.

Cameron Priest

BCom 2009 

Deciding at a young age that building companies was the best way to achieve freedom, Cameron Priest has well and truly achieved his goal. A serial entrepreneur and investor, Cameron set up many small-scale ventures before moving to Singapore where he and his brother Bradley founded TradeGecko. TradeGecko was an order and inventory management software platform which recently sold for over $150million (NZD). Cameron believes entrepreneurship to be a great agent for change, and his latest endeavour Neu Ventures is an investment fund and venture, focused on building category-leading, world-positive, enduring companies that make a positive impact on humanity. 

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