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VC Blackbird appoints 3 new partners

Venture capital fund Blackbird has appointed three new managing partners from its own ranks

Being the transition from client to partner Michael Tolo And Tom Humphrey also in Australia Phoebe Harrop in New Zealand.

It’s only the second time in the 11 years since Rick Baker and Niki Scevak founded Blackbird that the VC has added new partnerships after Samantha Wong and Nick Crocker left in 2018. There are now seven partners plus Tesla Chairman Robyn Denholm as an operating partner.

Partner Nick Crocker announced his new colleagues’ raise, saying they were looking for Blackbird brand keepers and found them in the trio.

“We are delighted to welcome Michael Tolo, Tom Humphrey and Phoebe Harrop to the Blackbird Investing partnership. This is an important moment for Blackbird,” he said.

“When we think about the qualities of a Blackbird Investing Partner, we think of a defining hunger, bordering on obsession, to invest in generational companies right at the start of their lives,” he said.

All three joined Blackbird two years ago after global career experience; Tolo worked at deep tech company Playground Global and Australian sovereign wealth fund Future Fund, Harrop at Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management and Humphrey at Access Ventures and as a senior operator for global startups such as Kanopy.

They have invested in health, quantum computing, e-commerce and cybersecurity startups since joining as Principals in 2021. Tolo’s investments include PsiQuantum, Carted, The Mintable and Heidi; Humphrey’s supported Forage, Cyble, Checkmate, and FL0; and Harrop, VeVe, Carepatron, Excellent and SafeStack.

The partnerships come after Blackbird raised $1 billion for its latest fund last year.

Crocker praised the trio for their performance thus far at Blackbird.

“Tolo’s investment thinking is of the highest quality and takes Blackbird into new areas such as quantum computing. He has the ability to dig into the details of complex products, understand them and build beliefs around those lessons,” he said.

“He can run the gamut from early stage to late stage. His courage and his passion and conviction for the investment profession inspire us.”

Crocker said Humphrey is a natural leader and a “great ambassador” for Blackbird’s values.

“Tom is constantly trying to upgrade the investment team, taking on special projects in addition to everything else he does. He’s brought all his operational experience to our business and portfolio, improving the way we think about seeing all the seeds in Australia and New Zealand,” he said.

“His board and founder relationships withstand the toughest moments, and he has built a fire hose of quality deal flow that exceeded our high expectations, helping us find and invest in companies such as Bicycle And Spice AI that we otherwise would not have seen.”

Harrop “has boosted Blackbird’s expansion in Aotearoa New Zealand,” said Crocker

“She has been remarkable for coming up with creative ways to build relationships and make investments, even when the odds were slim. VeVe is a shining example of that,” he says.

“Phoebe has quickly built deep and active referral networks in NZ and is just getting started. We have 100% confidence that Phoebe will hold her own in any room and win over people with her charisma and charm, intellect, storytelling, and star power. We see her as a natural future leader of the NZ team.

The appointments come as Blackbird searches for a new one first name to join the Auckland investment team under Wong and Harrop.

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