THE Team

With their diverse backgrounds and extensive experience, the Xstart team have one thing in common:

A driving ambition to grow kiwi companies.


Rachel Wright

Programme Director & Lead Advisor

Rachel is the Director for the Centre for Entrepreneurship at University of Canterbury, with extensive experience working and advising startups. She has a PhD in Biochemistry and spent three years at Stanford University, where she was exposed to the startup and VC world. This culminated in a seven seven year stint working in the biotech sector in Silicon Valley.

On her return to NZ, Rachel focused her attention on growing capability in entrepreneurship and innovation in the Canterbury region.  

I want Christchurch to be a destination in NZ for high growth startups. Xstart has been created to make this a reality.


Sam Bailey

Programme Partner & Advisor

Sam is the Business Growth Manager at ChristchurchNZ. He is responsible for the development and delivery of a range of business support programmes, services and initiatives designed to enable high growth potential businesses accelerate their growth and access R & D support.

Sam’s experience has seen him involved in commercial finance, commercial sales management, business development and recruitment.

To grow sustainably, growth oriented entrepreneurs are required to actively surround themselves with solid commercial advice to get off the ground and grow quickly. Xstart provides this platform.

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Oliviah Theyers-Collins

Programme Manager & Advisor

Oliviah has a varied background in public and private sector roles across Australia, UK and New Zealand, with diverse experience across retail, finance and education sectors.

Oliviah designed and delivered Venture Up, a national entrepreneurship programme for youth, and and has a passion for building capability and driving meaningful and sustainable progress in business.

I get a real kick out of enabling and empowering others - understanding their unique needs and position, then propelling them forward at a rate they couldn’t have imagined.

Mads Moller

Lead Advisor

Mads is a serial entrepreneur who has built and sold twelve tech companies… and counting. Originally from Denmark, and after ten years in the UK, Mads arrived in New Zealand in 2010, making Christchurch his home.

Mads has held senior global roles across the IT, Telecom and Media industries, working with the likes of Google, Vodafone and IBM.

Today, Mads is the managing director of M5 Consulting and Multorum Ltd, working with startups and more established companies on strategy, commercialisation, productising, innovation, go-to-market channels, sales, partnering, and governance. 

Mads holds an MBA in International Marketing Strategy from Copenhagen Business School, a degree in Corporate Finance and an MBA in International Business Strategies from London Business School. 

I am extremely passionate to see the Canterbury region recover from the earthquakes. Building on the strong tech and startup sector, I am keen to use and share my international knowledge and experience as an entrepreneur.

Gerald Carter

Lead Advisor

Gerald has more than thirty years successfully managing businesses in various industry sectors provides extensive knowledge and experience to mentor startups to achieve financial sustainability in global markets, particularly focusing on innovation, market strategy, financial management, and execution. 

Gerald has a Masters of Entrepreneurship from Otago University, a degree in fine arts, and post-graduate study in Hotel Development & Financing from New York University, and is a board member of Canterbury Angels Investors.

I became involved in XSTART to support the local startup eco system and build Canterbury into a recognised innovation hub.