The Snowball Effect Team

We’re on a mission to simplify investment into high growth Kiwi companies.

We want to make the capital market work much more efficiently for growth companies, so they can focus on selling their products to the world. We want to provide investors with a simple way to gain exposure to interesting investment opportunities – facilitating the flow of national savings into wealth-creating assets.

We’re driven by the significant positive impact we can make by building a thriving marketplace to connect growth companies with the capital they need.

Along the way we hope to develop the general financial literacy of the New Zealand public, and bring far more meaning, engagement, and excitement to investing.

Photo of Simeon Burnett

Simeon Burnett CEO / Co-Founder

BCom, M.Finance

Simeon is passionate about developing New Zealand businesses into successful international ventures. Prior to co-founding Snowball Effect, Simeon held a number of different roles at Fonterra, gaining extensive experience in M&A, external fundraising, international business strategy development and financial portfolio management. He is passionate about building businesses and the New Zealand capital markets, and loves getting away to a remote beach with his family.

Photo of Bill O'Boyle

Bill O'Boyle Director - Private Capital


Bill is a former banker with experience working across a diverse range of industries in New Zealand and abroad. He started his career in BNZ’s institutional banking team before moving to London where he worked in the capital markets team at the Royal Bank of Canada, with responsibility for clients in Europe and Australia. He is involved in a private aquarium development business in South East Asia, and is passionate about helping Kiwi businesses reach their global aspirations. Bill has a strong interest in fintech and its potential to improve the financial services industry.

Photo of David Curtis

David Curtis Director - Growth Capital


David is a former accountant and banker with extensive international capital markets experience. He started his career as a tax adviser at Ernst & Young, Auckland before transferring to London where he specialised in the capital markets, advising large multinationals and financial institutions. After 10 years with Ernst & Young, he joined Bank of America in a capital markets team structuring and originating cross border structured finance transactions. David returned to New Zealand in 2013 and, after an extensive business search, invested in a New Zealand auto parts business for which he continues to have non-executive involvement. David enjoys learning about business and is passionate about helping New Zealand SMEs access the capital markets so they can reach their growth potential.

Photo of Emily Heazlewood

Emily Heazlewood Director - Partnerships & Growth

Emily is passionate about startups, marketing, and capital raising, having successfully raised funds and launched her own venture. She now assists hundreds of high-growth Kiwi businesses seeking capital by first helping them in understanding their needs and preparing them to be capital ready for a Snowball Effect raise. Emily also collaborates closely with our extensive corporate and investor eco-system partners. When she isn't meeting with New Zealand company founders, she can be found exploring New Zealand and abroad with her friends and dog.

Photo of Matthew Linnecar

Matthew Linnecar Director - Growth Capital


Matt is passionate about entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship and growing businesses. He's previously founded and grown businesses in sustainable transport & logistics, e-commerce, food and beverage, and software as a service, as well as an international marine conservation organisation. He's raised capital for some of his own ventures so is now enjoying working with founders to help them raise capital. He's from the UK but would never go back to live there again having been blessed to settle here in Aotearoa with his kiwi wife and 3 incredible but exhausting boys. Matt loves kitesurfing, surfing and diving, and very occasionally catches a fish or two.

Photo of Michael O'Byrne

Michael O'Byrne Director - Growth Capital


Mike has over 20 years experience in international capital markets. After beginning his career in London at ABN AMRO, he was headhunted to Morgan Stanley in 2007. Over the next 12 years, he enjoyed a range of roles across equity research, sales and trading and technology. Since returning from the UK in late 2019, Mike has been involved in a number of growth businesses as an investor and advisor. He spends his weekends ferrying his three boys around sports fields.

Photo of Sophie McLernon

Sophie McLernon Growth Director


Sophie is passionate about growing businesses internationally. She has a background in sales, spending most of her career offshore in Australia and Singapore in the wine and spirits industry. She has an entrepreneurial spirit and whilst in Singapore co-founded a Nespresso-compatible coffee company. Most recently, she was a Customer Manager at NZTE as she bridged the gap back to New Zealand. She thrives on meeting new people and businesses and wants to make it easier for high-growth NZ businesses to access capital and scale. Sophie is always up for an adventure and anything active or near the water. As expected, she loves coffee, food and wine and sharing it with others. You'll also hear her quoting from a podcast frequently.

Photo of Cormac McCullough

Cormac McCullough Associate - Growth Capital


Cormac has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and joins Snowball Effect from a global composite materials consultancy where he was involved in the engineering design and project management of primarily marine projects. Prior to this Cormac got experience in an early-stage startup as a design engineer, and worked as a project manager with Rocket Lab in the delivery of their manufacturing facilities. Cormac is passionate about helping private companies access the capital they need to grow, and outside of work loves to get out on the water in any way he can.

Photo of Ben Tan

Ben Tan Head of Product


Ben has a degree in Mechatronics Engineering, and started his career working in automation systems before joining Snowball Effect early on to manage the design and build of the platform. Ben also spent some time in Christchurch running the Vodafone xone accelerator programme, working to help find alignment between startups and corporates. During his downtime, Ben has a passion for building and remixing things from antique electronics and publishing cookbooks.

Photo of Annie Gabisan

Annie Gabisan Platform Developer


Annie has had 4+ years’ experience building web applications for clients across The Philippines and Japan. She is passionate about simplifying complicated processes and workflows and gets a kick out of solving tricky problems through code. Having moved to New Zealand from the Philippines, Annie is excited by the opportunity to travel around and explore New Zealand. Outside of work, she is a keen swimmer and dancer and is looking to getting into freediving.

Board and Screening Committee

Photo of Richard Allen

Richard Allen Co-Founder / Director


Over the past 14 years, Richard has held multiple senior global roles with Fonterra, New Zealand’s largest company – spanning sales, retail, supply chain management and optimisation. Richard is currently an active Director across a range of New Zealand businesses. Prior to completing his studies, Richard spent over 8 years working in Auckland's hospitality industry, over which time he developed a passion for New Zealand food and wine.

Photo of Hayley Buckley

Hayley Buckley Director

BA, LLB (Hons)

Hayley is a partner in the corporate advisory team of law firm Wynn Williams, specialising in mergers and acquisitions. She has considerable experience advising both public and private companies on all aspects of corporate governance including shareholder disputes, capital raising and corporate restructures.

Photo of Alastair Lawrence

Alastair Lawrence Investor / Screening Committee


Alastair is a career merchant banker, co-founder of the Antipodes group of companies, and one of the most experienced corporate advisors in the country. Over the past 20 years, he has also been an active investor in emerging SMEs, providing financial and strategic advice to the management teams in those businesses. Alastair was a foundation member and Deputy Chairman of the Takeovers Panel.

Join the Team

We are growing fast so if you are interested in helping re-shape the capital markets in New Zealand, then check out our careers page and get in touch.