Queen’s Birthday Honours: Investor committed to start-ups
Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to business and the community
Franceska Banga says she is honoured to be recognised for her role in state sector venture capital investment in New Zealand, which she sees as crucial to developing technology and innovation in this country. She has been made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Banga this year stepped down as chief executive of the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund. The fund’s founding chief executive, she left after 15 years of steering some $150 million of taxpayer money into more than 200 start-ups and early-stage companies. She has overseen partnerships with 10 venture capital funds and 15 angel investment networks.
She has just returned from the Simon Moutter-led Innovation Mission to Israel and says it has reinforced her commitment to the sector and working with high-growth companies.
Banga grew up in Christchurch and trained as an occupational therapist. In the 1980s she grew more interested in economics, initially in the health sector.
She studied economics at Auckland University and earned a post-grad degree at Victoria University on a Reserve Bank scholarship.
After time at the Reserve Bank and in the private sector, she moved to Treasury where she was director of the national health budget.
She was appointed chief adviser on strategy at the Ministry of Research Science and Technology in 1999 before moving to the NZVIF role when the organisation was founded in 2001.
Banga has also contributed her expertise in forums such as the New Zealand Capital Markets Development Taskforce and she chaired the New Zealand Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Board.
She is a member of the International Public Policy Forum on Venture Capital and a trustee of the International Centre for Entrepreneurship Foundation.
Banga has also used her expertise to benefit charity and not-for-profit organisations; she is a trustee for the Fred Hollows Foundation and was an independent director for the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind.