In the lead up to Rise Up - Soda’s seed grant competition for ambitious female entrepreneurs – we’ll be sharing some details about our impressive selection of judges and speakers. First up is Max Thompson, Partner Manager at Callaghan Innovation. Max works with initiatives that support New Zealand entrepreneurs such as incubators, accelerators, and the early-stage investment resource Capital Education.


What has been the highlight of your career?

With a passion for investment and start-ups, a highlight has been working with incredible people who support entrepreneurship, and advocating alongside them for a vibrant and representative NZ start-up ecosystem.

How has COVID-19 changed how you work?

The biggest impact from COVID-19 personally was unexpectedly the normalisation of remote working and the opportunities this opened up with a young family (and the challenges!).

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Done is better than perfect.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Back yourself, and test with customers ASAP!

What three things can’t you live without?

1. Wifi to get things done from anywhere

2. My bicycle

3. Being around amazing humans at home and at work.

Do you have any good book, TV show or podcast recommendations?

I’ve only just started giving podcasts another chance, and recently have been enjoying ‘Throughline’ and ‘Things you’re wrong about’.

TV? That’s a hard one. I recently watched Made for Love that dealt with some pretty real things in a fun way. Also, Never Have I Ever, but also Peaky Blinders.