Angel Awards Announced Maxine Simmons and Fuel50 recognised

At its 2021 summit (being held in 2022 thanks to Covid) in Wellington today, Angel Association New Zealand announced the winners of the Puawaitanga Award – recognising founders and investor directors who exemplify what can be achieved when committed people draw on their collective skills and experience – and the Kotahaitanga Award – recognising people in the angel community who have made an outstanding contribution to the industry.

The Puawaitanga Award has been presented to Fuel50 co-founders Anne Fulton and Jo Mills and four of the company’s investor directors who have served on the board over the last decade or so. They are the company’s three past investor-directors (Peter Weaver, Peter Idoine and Janine Manning) and current director, Kerry McIntosh.

Fuel50 is an AI-driven, talent marketplace platform supporting employee engagement and talent retention in companies around the world. In April last year Fuel50 raised an over-subscribed Series B round ($NZD14.9m) to fund expansion plans, and despite the challenges of Covid, the company continues to scale rapidly.

All four investor directors are members of Ice Angels. Back in 2013 the network led a $1.1m raise and Ice Angels have had an investor representative on the Fuel50 board ever since. Initially this was Peter Idoine and Peter Weaver who brought HR SaaS experience. Janine Manning then stepped in for a couple of years helping Fuel50 to enter the UK and complete the US fundraise. Kerry McIntosh has been on the board for the last two years bringing a range of commercial skills and broad governance experience.

Fuel50 have secured multiple rounds from New Zealand angels and across multiple clubs before they graduated to US venture capital funding and are widely acknowledged as one of the best start-up communicators. Even after their venture capital raises they have continued to share their progress, learnings and insights with their early investors.

In making the award, Angel Association Executive Chair, Suse Reynolds said the Fuel50 journey and experience exemplify how investor-founder alignment, mutual support and good governance can so positively influence success.

“Growing a venture backed company is always a team effort and Fuel50’s experience is illustrative of the baton of support and guidance passing through the different stages of growth. The two Peters, Janine and Kerry all brought unique and useful skills as the company grew,” she said.

The recipient of the Kotahitanga Award, is Maxine Simmons, Executive Director and founding Chief Executive of Cure Kids Ventures. Maxine has been a quietly passionate and effective champion for more recognition and support for New Zealand’s deep tech and health-tech start-ups for more than a decade.

Maxine has been part of the early stage investment ecosystem since its inception and has over 30 years’ experience in start-up and expansion stage companies. She founded one of New Zealand’s first biotechnology companies and was awarded a Distinguished New Zealand Biotechnologist Award in recognition of her work growing that company into a significant export businesses. In 2017, Maxine was appointed a Companion of the NZ Order of Merit for her services to science, particularly biotechnology. In her role at Cure Kids Ventures Maxine has led investments into an impressive portfolio of over 20 health-tech start-ups and served on the board of a number of them. Cure Kids Ventures was founded in 2008 to invest in innovative health-tech companies with the potential to benefit child health.

“Maxine is always available to founders and investors and shared countless hours of experience and expertise with the health-tech and early stage investment community, with government, with industry and international audiences and visitors. Maxine’s tireless work has had a tremendous impact on deep tech’s growing share of early stage investment and attention. We are so lucky to have people like her in our world,” said Suse Reynolds.

Rudi Bublitz received the Arch Angel Award which was first awarded in 2009 to Sir Stephen Tindall. See separate release.


For more information, please contact Suse Reynolds, AANZ Executive Chair
mob: 021 490 974 or email: [email protected]

The Angel Association of New Zealand (AANZ)
The Angel Association is an organisation that aims to increase the quantity, quality and success of angel investments in New Zealand and in doing so create a greater pool of capital for innovative start-up companies. It was established in 2008 to bring together New Zealand angels and early-stage funds. AANZ currently has 50+ members representing over 800 individual angels associated with New Zealand’s key angel networks and funds. AANZ works closely with NZTE, NZ Growth Capital Partners and Callaghan Innovation and a number of private sector partners including Jarden, PWC, Avid Legal, KiwiNet, Uniservices, Amazon Web Services and BNZ. For more, please visit:

The Puawaitanga Award recognises the founder and investor-director who best exemplify what can be achieved when committed people draw on their collective skills and experience. This award celebrates an angel-backed venture achieving world class success. This venture has excellent governance, a compelling business proposition and a well-defined strategy for exponential returns.
Puawaitanga – ‘best return on integrated goals’.

The Kotahitanga Award recognises those people in the angel community who have made an outstanding contribution to the industry. It acknowledges those who have selflessly given personal time and energy for a sustained period and contributed to the professionalism, profile and reputation of angel investment in New Zealand.
Kotahitanga – ‘unity and a shared sense of working together’.

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Lead Partners

NZTE NZGCP PWC “NZX” Callaghan Innovation

Expert Partner

AVID “Jarden”

AANZ Summit Sponsors

“UniServices” Kiwinet “AWS” “BNZ” “Momentum” “Punakaiki” “MBIE” “GD1” “WellingtonUniVentures” “Movac” WellingtonNZ Booster